News and Views from around the World Compass01/2014
EBRD makes progress in Egypt
The EBRD has been investing in Egypt since September 2012 and to date it has signed six projects for an aggregate amount of €75m. The Bank has further facilitated direct technical assistance projects to Egyptian SMEs through 106 transactions within the framework of the Small Business Support programme. Dr Ziad Bahaa El Din, Egypt’s deputy prime minister and minister of international cooperation recently stressed the importance of EBRD’s investments in support of Egypt’s transition as well as its 20 years of experience in transition countries. Dr El Din also highlighted the important role of the private sector as a driving force to support recovery of the economy and to create job opportunities. EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti (below) discussed the Bank’s priorities for Egypt with Dr El Din and later confirmed: “We are committed to supporting Egypt’s citizens and its entrepreneurs through continued engagement with the private sector and by making targeted investments enhanced by technical assistance that benefit the Egyptian people.” The Prince Claus Fund is among many organisations and many thousands
Ahmed Fouad Negm (1929-2013)
of individuals who mourn the sudden death of the Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. Negm was the recipient of the 2013 Principal Prince Claus Award, bestowed upon him in appreciation of his literary contributions and his unwavering advocacy on behalf of the poor and the disenfranchised. The poet had intended to travel to the Netherlands in December 2013 to receive the award. Ahmed Fouad Negm was perhaps best known for creating poetry using vernacular Arabic that communicates deeply with people as well as for his independence, unwavering integrity, courage and rigorous commitment to the struggle for freedom and justice; for speaking truth to power, refusing to be silenced and inspiring more than three generations in the Arab-speaking world. Negm will be remembered for the aesthetic and political force of his work that highlighted the basic need for culture and humour in harsh and diﬃcult circumstances; and for his significant impact on Arabic poetry bringing recognition to the rich literary potential of colloquial language.
8 The Middle East January