On Tuesday 26 of June 2018, SRI Egypt Steering Committee met for the fifth and last time at Cairo Marriott Hotel, and was chaired by Eng. Khaled El Attar, MCIT Deputy Minister & Head of the Steering Committee.
The meeting was attended by Mr. David Rochat, CEO of Sofies International; Dr. Hossam Allam, SRI Egypt Project Director; Ms. Ghada Moghny, Project Coordinator; Ms. Rym Hazem, Project Consultant; Ms. Lamia Nabil, Project Communication Officer from CEDARE; Eng. Nevine Tewfik, Head of Research, Studies and Policies & Eng. Mona Darwish Technical Officer from MCIT. The Embassy of Switzerland in Egypt was represented by Ms. Petra Widmer, Deputy Director of Cooperation and Ms. Iman Radwan, Senior Programme Officer. Dr. Tarek ElAraby & Eng. Hoda Shakra, respectively UNDP-GEF Project Manager & Technical Officer participated together with committee members from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Finance, & Ministry of Trade & Industry.
As it was meant to showcase the fruitful results and deliverables accomplished throughout the past 25 months since the project was operational, the agenda also included an outlook on the second phase and its mandates and procedure.
The meeting agenda began by the opening note of the Steering Committee chair; who welcomed all attendees to the meeting. He shed light on the rapid evolution of the digital information sector in Egypt and how the newly appointed MCIT minister is eager to adopt the new sustainable business model supporting the private sector and the formal sector after he was briefed about SRI as well as the EPR with the business model for the supply chain prepared by the international experts of SRI. He emphasized the importance of working in close collaboration with other ministries and the UNDP-GEF Project.
The Project Director from CEDARE boosted the long-standing cooperation between Switzerland and Egypt in the e-waste zone that dated back to 2009. He thanked all attendees for their support and major role in the success of Phase 1 and referred to the main achievements attained by collaborative efforts of stakeholders and partners.
The Project Coordinator had a detailed presentation on the results & deliverables in light of the set objectives. She explained them in view of the six key components of the project.
Baseline Assessment: Several reports mapping the e-waste sector in Egypt were prepared and published
Conformity Assessment: A conformity system was set and an independent auditing entity was identified by the Ministry of Environment which developed a full auditing system and auditors and inspectors were trained on WEEELABEX system and standards.
Technology Partnerships: Built solid technology partnerships through establishing E-Khorda incubator and Startup Accelerator, 3 info sessions were organized for entrepreneurs and a training program was conducted. The project supported 4 startups to launch their business, but two of them were unable to operate due to lack of funds which was one of the challenges faced. Existing enterprises were trained to obtain environmental registry and managed to get it.
Financing Mechanism: The Project conducted a consultation session on the Take-back System and Extended Producer Responsibility. SRI international consultants developed a road map for the take back system, and the MCIT is currently developing a national system.
Training & Capacity Building: Needs assessment was probed by CEDARE, EMPA, Sofies & UNDP-GEF Project. This resulted in: 5 training sessions, 2 field trips, a hands-on dismantling workshop, a field trip to the informal sector in Egypt, & an international study tour to e-waste facilities in Belgium and Switzerland.
Project Management: In that regard the project went beyond the set goals by approaching the parliament and briefing a member in the related committee about the SRI Project and seeking further legislative support
The Project Coordinator also demonstrated the challenges faced during implementation and the lessons learned which will pave the way for Phase 2 to follow smoothly. The main lessons learned are:
- The importance of multi-stakeholders partnership;
- Government engagement and commitment is fundamental;
- Designing an incentive for the informal sector in Egypt to ship e-waste;
- The e-waste incubator was a very successful system where innovative ideas were developed and defined but needed ongoing fund;
- Scattered e-waste related legislations need to be organized and outlined;
- SMEs need more access to funds; &
- Capacity building is an excellent tool for knowledge transfer especially for decision makers.
On another note, the head of the steering committee shed light on the road map which involves the application of electronic take-back system and the preparation of a capacity-building approach for recycling of e-waste to be assigned to (ITIDA & ITI) to ensure sustainability after the end time of the project ensuring the continuation of providing support to small and medium companies and conducting training programs and field visits. In the meantime, the Central Bank of Egypt was mandated by the State’s directives to provide subsidized funds to e-waste SMEs through ITIDA.
As for the future plan, the CEO of Sofies gave some insights about Phase 2. He explained that the second phase is expected to give more emphasis to the sustainability aspect; it will qualify a more self-sustained e-waste recycling system in Egypt through four main activity lines.
The Deputy Director of Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy expressed that attaining such fruitful results in 25 months span of time is really impressive and stressed the eagerness of her country to further support the e-waste industry in Egypt by capitalizing on the results achieved and lessons learned and by taking advantage of the advanced multi-stakeholder involvement reached in the first phase. She indicated that the “Business model”, “the Egyptian Law” on e-waste treatment and the “supply chain” are of paramount importance for the Swiss government.
The meeting was concluded by the Steering Committee chair thanking all attendees and key players of the Project team for their inspiring contribution. A sense of pride, fulfillment and synergy among the team and partners prevailed between attendees.