A roundtable on opportunities in science, technology and innovation in Egypt


An interactive roundtable on opportunities in science was organized by the Egyptian Competitiveness Council (ENCC) and it focused on identifying and prioritizing innovative scientific and technological developments in agriculture in Egypt. The roundtable took place on June 12, 2012 in Cairo. The event was sponsored by USAID, Egyptian's Competitiveness Program and ENCC, and it was attended by 50 participants from governmental, non-governmental, researchers, etc.
The round table discussion was moderated by Tarek Tawfik, ENCC Member and Head of Food Security and Safety Sub-council, who emphasized that the event is for information exchange and negotiation. He briefed and updated on global food security and the developments and the status of biotechnology to address the misuse of our resources such as water, wastages supply changes and food and create innovation in ST like minimize the use of fertilizers, develop new varieties, etc.
Mrs. Amina Ghanem, ENCC, Executive Director of the Egypt the Global Competitiveness showed that Egypt's score on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) has been relatively decreasing, from 83 out of 131 countries in 2009-2010 to 103 in 2011- 2012. Mrs Amina showed that this gives us an alarm that other countries are moving ahead of Egypt that Egyptian should make a quick progress to avoid expected crises. While, Cindy Queezada, Science & Technology Advisor, USAID/Egypt said that the year 2012, ENCC highlighted why we should focus on agriculture as an area of priority? She added that Egypt’s future depends on agriculture which should help in fighting poverty, in increasing productivity and in improving living conditions in rural environments. She also added that Egyptians should adopt a National sustainable development strategy and to find a critical area in agriculture to work on and combines efforts by the government, researchers, the business sector and civil society in a way to connect and work as a group.
Seifallah Fahmy, ENCC, Director, stated that the mission of ENCC is to Identify, benchmark, monitor and evaluate Egypt’s regional and international competitiveness ranking to determine recommendations that will gain consensus on actions that would improve the standards of living for all Egyptians and would create a world-class business environment as well as inspiring people. He added that Egypt's agricultural sector is a vital and international financial institutions and he stressed that the private sector should work together to plan, design and implement programs and projects in the agriculture and rural development sector. He added that the sustainable development of the Egyptian agriculture could provide an excellent opportunity to strengthen the Egyptian economy. He pointed out that the decrease in the GCI rank has given Egypt more reason to focus on boosting the competitiveness of the agriculture sector.
The participants stated that Egypt needs to initiate and facilitate the trust between private sectors, researchers, and decision makers. One important issue that was raised is the transparency; it is an essential issue to maximize the benefits of the research, as well as communication to disseminate of information, to hear the farmer and the private sector voices and to help building database to avoid duplication. In addition, IPR and plant varieties protection should be taken in consideration.
The recommendations were facilitated by Ali Kamel, USAID/Economic Growth and Douglas Tinsler, Program Director, Egypt's Competitiveness Program (ECP) and they briefed that the problem is known Egypt needs the solution, needs to decentralize research, research should be geographic related, create non-centralized knowledge park, facilitate access to innovation, maximize the role of the private sector, to define critical priorities and to translate them to real active solutions and to create long term working groups.