Category Archives: News

‘Start Egypt’ Discovers Entrepreneurs Across The Country

UK-funded Start Egypt programme has just completed a discovery mission for the country’s future entrepreneurs

'Start Egypt' discovers entrepreneurs across the country

‘Start Egypt’ discovers entrepreneurs across the country

Partnering with Techne Drifts and Entreprenelle, Start Egypt has toured nine Egyptian cities as part of its road shows and its female founders’ workshops. Start Egypt experts from Flat6Labs headed to Alexandria, Port Said, Assuit, Sohag, Suez, Mansoura, Tanta, Luxor, and Aswan.

In November 2017, the British Embassy in Cairo partnered with IFC and Flat6labs, offering a GBP 2 million, around EGP 47 million, grant to inspire and support thousands of Egyptian entrepreneurs through a number of entrepreneurial support services, awareness activities and a unique incubation program.

The StartEgypt road shows and workshops focused on building the resilience and know-how of future entrepreneurs to help them start their own business, attract investments, and face potential challenges. During its tour, Start Egypt offered incubation opportunities to the best new social enterprise ideas.

The programme also offered financial prizes at its latest competition in Alexandria, which took place at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

  • First prize, worth EGP 7,000 , went to GreenAlex: a start-up aimed at collecting and recycling used cooking oil, plastics and paper.
  • Second prize, worth EGP 5,000 , went to Materials Solved: a start-up developing software engineering, data analysis, computer graphics, and art to transform very complex scientific ideas to animations and illustrations.
  • Third prize, worth EGP 3,000 , went to La Verte: a start-up providing an online platform providing fresh and healthy food catering service.

Ambassador John Casson said:

The future of the Egyptian economy is not just traditional companies and it is not just Cairo. Egyptian talent is found all over Egypt and that’s why we decided to go looking for them. StartEgypt is looking for the next big thing in the world of Entrepreneurship. Planning to provide future Egyptian entrepreneurs with advice, exposure and finance, StartEgypt is turning those who have brilliant social enterprise ideas to the champions of the inclusive economy of Egypt.

IFC Country Manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen Walid Labadi said:

Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship across Egypt is vital to boost economic development and improve lives. Start Egypt, the outcome of our partnership with Flat6Labs, is raising awareness about this across the country and is helping entrepreneurs overcome the financial obstacles and realize their potential.

Flat6Labs’ Programme Director of Start Egypt Hassan Mansi said:

Throughout my StartEgypt road show journey, I found that young Egyptians have became fully aware of their local communities’ problems and are working on developing ideas and start-ups to solve them. That was very inspiring and it pointed that the economic growth of this country’s near future will come from this specific sector, start-ups and SMEs.

Over 1,200 applicants have applied to join the incubation programme of Start Egypt. For more information, please visit www.startegypt.com

Qatari And British Airmen Celebrate RAF 100th Anniversary In Doha

Senior airmen from the United Kingdom and Qatar gathered together to reflect on a century of RAF achievement and to look forward to the next 100 years

RAF 100th Anniversary

RAF 100th Anniversary

On 1st April the Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday. To commemorate this, the Defence Section at the British Embassy organised a dinner on Thursday 26 April at the Shangri-La Hotel. The guest of honour in attendance was His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of State for Defence Affairs, who stopped by to convey his personal best wishes and congratulations.

The RAF was the first unified air force in the world to be independent of Army and Navy control; since its formation, it has been at the forefront in resolving crises, conflict and, importantly, humanitarian operations to save lives.

Qatari friends and partners were invited to attend the dinner which was hosted by Air Marshal Stuart Atha, the RAF’s Deputy Commander Operations and HE Staff Major General (pilot) Mubarak Mohammed Al-Khayareen, Commander of the Qatar Amiri Air Force. Senior airmen from the United Kingdom and Qatar gathered together to reflect on a century of RAF achievement and to look forward to the next 100 years, which will begin with the formation of a joint UK/Qatari Typhoon Squadron. In a year of celebration for the RAF, this event is the most senior taking place outside of the UK.

Attendees at the dinner included His Excellency Ajay Sharma, Air Chief Marshall Sir Glenn Torpy, Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Air Marshal Stuart Atha, HE Staff Major General (pilot) HE Mubarak Mohammed Al-Khayareen, Major General Ali Abdulla Al-Muhannadi, Air Commodore Patrick O’Donnell, Air Commodore Roddy Dennis, Brigadier Yousef Shaheen Al-Ateeq, Colonel Mohammad Al-Mansoori, and Lieutenant Colonel Faisel Al-Ghanem. Also attending were senior members of BAE Systems and RAF personnel deployed at Al-Udeid Air Base, including Senior Aircraftsman Tom Elwick, the most junior airman on the Base.

Air Marshal Stuart Atha, RAF Deputy Commander Operations, who said:

it is a great pleasure to host such a significant event here in Doha.

Throughout its first 100 years, the RAF has been innovative and involved in operations across the globe, and I don’t see that changing over the next century.

Key to our continued success will be partnerships and none is more important than that between the RAF and the Qatari Air Force. The joint Typhoon squadron is an exciting opportunity to develop relationships and to deliver a world class capability.

I am delighted to be in Doha and to have the opportunity to commemorate the RAF’s past, celebrate its present and to look to the future with optimism and confidence in the company of senior Qatari aviators.

Lebanon Remains At The Heart Of International Conferences

From CEDRE to Brussels, Lebanon remains at the heart of international conferences, hosting the highest concentration of refugees anywhere in the world

Lebanese Minister of Education Marwan Hamadeh at Brussels II Conference

Lebanese Minister of Education Marwan Hamadeh at Brussels II Conference

With the world’s focus once again on the Syria crisis, the Brussels conference, less than a month after CEDRE, is another opportunity to demonstrate our resolve and unwavering commitment to support Lebanon, host communities and Syrian refugees, to cope with the ongoing Syria crisis.

Speaking at the Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the Future of Syria and the region’, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt paid tribute to the sacrifice and contribution of Lebanon’s profound humanity in hosting the highest concentration of refugees anywhere in the world and urged donors to make more multi-year pledges. Secretary of State Mordaunt announced £450 million of development and humanitarian support for 2018 for Syria and the region, bringing the UK’s total contribution to date to the Syria crisis to £2.46 billion, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt thanked Lebanon and its people for their generosity in hosting large number of refugees. In her statement as co-chair of a session on human capital investment in the region, she said:

The progress we have made since the London Syria Conference in 2016 to ensure every child in the region has access to a quality education is a reason for hope even in the most trying of circumstances… In Lebanon, the public education system has doubled in size since the start of conflict, and as a result, more than 356,000 Syrian children are now receiving an education… However, there are nearly 690,000 children in the region without access to any education. And we need to work together to reach these children or we risk creating a ‘Lost Generation.’…

Currently, the region has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment and lowest rates of female labour market participation. By helping host countries invest and improve their education systems we can help young men and women transform their economies and spur economic growth across the region…But as we do so, we must ensure that all our efforts also include refugees and the most vulnerable. That includes working and undocumented children, girls and children with disabilities. We must ensure that every child in the region has equal access to a quality education and the opportunity to fulfil their potential so we can create the economies of tomorrow, and a future of peace and prosperity.

On the sideline of the conference Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt met with Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education Marwan Hamadeh and accompanying delegation. Minister Burt thanked Lebanon for the scale of generosity in continuing to host refugees, flagging that UK support to Lebanon on education quality reforms on teaching, learning and inclusion will continue so that every child fulfils their potential.

The Conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ has built on the momentum of CEDRE conference. Now, the Government of Lebanon will be implementing reforms and swiftly approving financed infrastructure projects to attract further international public and private sector investment to boost job creation and public service delivery for the benefit of all those in Lebanon. The £40 million package of UK support to the Lebanese economy – announced at CEDRE – will create jobs and improve infrastructure to boost economic development, showcasing the UK’s support to ambitious economic reforms by the Government of Lebanon. At CEDRE the UK also committed to providing a further £20 million as the Government of Lebanon makes further progress delivering the reforms which are key for successful infrastructure projects, and for economic recovery.

Speech: Humanitarian Situation In Syria

Statement by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council Briefing on Syria

Karen Pierce CMG

Karen Pierce CMG

Before I start may I make a request to the Secretariat? It would be very helpful I think for the Council to have either a briefing or a brief account of where the OPCW, FFM and the UNDSS currently are and what their forward plans are and if there has been any delay in their getting into Douma an account of what has caused that delay. So if it were possible to have that within the next 24 hours Mr President, I would be very grateful.

Turning to the issue before us in this session, I’d like to join others in thanking the Under-Secretary-General for his briefing.

It’s a pity that some speakers have used today’s account of the humanitarian situation to make political points and I recall Mr. President, an English philosopher Edmund Burke who said; “It’s generally a popular error to imagine that the loudest complainers for the public are those who are most anxious for its welfare.” And I think that might apply rather too much today.

We’re talking about Resolution 2401. I don’t have the full compendium of the British government’s activities on the humanitarian side in Syria but I can say that in 2017 we gave a $160 million to the UN appeal and in 2018 we are giving $138 million. This compares to $5.5 million in 2017 from Russia and as far as I know zero in 2018. We are one of the top three donors to the Syrian humanitarian response plan and we are the second largest bilateral donor to the humanitarian response in Syria since 2011.

To date we have committed $3.5 billion dollars in response to the Syria crisis and this Mr. President, is the United Kingdom’s largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis. We encourage all of us to do what we can to support the UN appeals and we too will be playing an active role in the Brussels conference which is to come.

Turning to Raqqa Mr. President, we welcomed the first U.N. assessment mission. The United Kingdom continues to provide humanitarian support to Raqqa and surrounding areas. Last October, we stepped up our support to north-east Syria and this was to restock hospitals and mobile surgical units. It was to provide a 145,000 medical consultations and 31,000 relief kits. This included cooking equipment and blankets and we helped improve access to clean water for 15,000 people. We are also contributing to the clearance of mines and explosives in Raqqa and we are looking at ways to provide additional support to mine clearance across Syria.

Turning to Rukban, I would like to take the opportunity to commend the government of Jordan for providing humanitarian access to the population including a distribution of essential aid and this was in January 2018. We commend the efforts of the UN humanitarian agencies who have been negotiating access from Damascus.

I would like to emphasize the right to displaced civilians in Rukban, in the so-called Berm, to protection and sustained humanitarian services and distributions. Whether these are cross-line and cross border and this is in accordance with humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law.

We urge the Regime and its backers to facilitate access for the UN and humanitarian partners to deliver desperately needed assistance to the estimated 70,000-80,000 people in Duoma and all those remaining in the Eastern Ghouta. Like other speakers Mr President, we too are concerned about the poor conditions in these camps and sites where people from Eastern Ghouta there have fled.

We look forward to a position where they can have freedom of movement and where they can be allowed to return home. In the meantime, they must be protected against regime reprisals and we have in consultations Mr President, in an earlier stage asked for more attention to be given by the UN but also by the Syrian government to giving visas to UN staff who can go in and help form a protection function.

Mr President, I had intended to speak about the political resolution and next steps but the French Ambassador has laid this out very clearly and I have nothing to add to that but to say, I wholeheartedly support what he said and I think we call on all members of the Council to rally to the notion that we should use what has happened as an opportunity to get the political process back on track.

We want to have a very good discussion of possible ways to do so. As our retreat in Sweden where we will have the benefit of a Secretary-General as well. Mr President, in closing let me end with one of Edmund Burke’s more famous pleas; “All that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Mr. President, we can all do something and I hope we will use the next days wisely.

Thank you.

RAF Jets Strike Chemical Weapon Facility In Syria

British forces joined close Allies in a precision strike on Syrian installations

A Tornado GR4 from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), based out of Royal Air Force Akrotiri, Cyprus. Crown copyright

A Tornado GR4 from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), based out of Royal Air Force Akrotiri, Cyprus. Crown copyright

At 0200 UK time on 14 April, British forces joined close Allies in a precision strike on Syrian installations involved in the regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. The strike was launched as a response to the chemical weapon attack on 7 April in Douma which killed up to 75 people, including young children; a significant body of information, including intelligence, indicates that the Syrian regime was responsible for this latest attack.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, this pattern of behaviour must be stopped, not just to protect innocent people in Syria from these horrific weapons, but also because the erosion cannot be allowed of the international norms that prevent the use of chemical weapons.

Our action is proportionate, specifically aimed at degrading the regime’s ability to use chemical weapons and deterring further such appalling acts; it is therefore focused on regime facilities linked to the production and use of chemical weapons.

The UK element of the carefully coordinated joint action was contributed by four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4s. They launched Storm Shadow missiles at a military facility – a former missile base – some fifteen miles west of Homs, where the regime is assessed to keep chemical weapon precursors stockpiled in breach of Syria’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Very careful scientific analysis was applied to determine where best to target the Storm Shadows to maximise the destruction of the stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risks of contamination to the surrounding area. The facility which was struck is located some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation, reducing yet further any such risk.

Detailed analysis of the effectiveness of the strike is currently underway, but initial indications are that the precision of the Storm Shadow weapons and meticulous target planning have resulted in a successful attack.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

The reprehensible use of chemical weapons in Douma is further evidence of the Syrian regime’s appalling cruelty against its own people. We will not stand by whilst innocent civilians, including women and children, are killed and made to suffer.

The international community has responded decisively with legal and proportionate military force. Let these united actions send a clear message to the regime – the use of chemical weapons is categorically unacceptable and you will be held to account.

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