Egypt is the Mediterranean region’s largest economy, connecting the Arab world to Europe through my native country Cyprus, which forms the continent’s south-eastern border. My ties to Egypt are quite personal, as I bear the name of Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt until the Roman period. Curious about the history of this richly diverse country, I travelled through Egypt in my youth, exploring the Sinai mountain region while on a religious pilgrimage to St Catherine’s monastery. I also worked as a conflict resolution volunteer in rural areas in the northern and eastern regions.
At the last European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) annual meeting and business forum, where I represented the Arab International Women’s Forum, Egypt was seen to offer compelling opportunities, with reforms across sectors, an eagerness to attract investors in manufacturing, food production, processing and distribution, and energy – specifically renewables. The conversation missed a key dynamic for growth, however: youth, specifically young people as Egypt’s start-up entrepreneurs, including the tools they need to prosper, especially their access to finance.Read More