Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 23

SPECIAL REPORT Addressing food and energy crises: Egypt, once the breadbasket of the Roman Empire, is now reeling under food insecurity. In 2008, India and Egypt agreed to cooperate in areas of agricultural research, extension, cooperatives, agricultural fi nance and credit, fertilizers, modern irrigation systems, and agricultural machinery. Given its own experience in improving agricultural productivity through the Green Revolution, India can assist in promoting the development of high-yield and drought and pest-resistant seeds. It can also share best practices in the dry land, organic, cooperative, and precision farming. Egypt is facing one of its worst energy crises in decades. Households have to endure extended blackouts and industrial activity has been crippled especially in heavy industries like cement, fertilizers, which have been operating for a long period of below capacity. India, which India ranks in the top fi ve countries specializing in both solar PV and carbon capture, can help in harnessing solar energy and setting up captive co-generation power plants. In the wind energy sector, the Indian company Suzlon Energy, the world’s third-largest supplier of components to operators with over a six percent global market share, could be a valuable partner for Egypt. Supporting job creation efforts: Raising incomes and creating jobs are two additional major challenges facing Egypt. In places like Aswan where life has been dictated by the grace and beauty of Nile, declining tourism has disrupted many economic activities. In recent years, young Egyptians have taken the initiative to overcome some of these diffi culties. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Yadaweya are trying to foster e-commerce to sell Egyptian handicrafts, especially those made by women artisans from the district of Giza. Sharing ICT applications: The development of e-governance is an area where Indian expertise in information technology might be of value to Egypt, given the ineffi ciencies that plague the latter’s bureaucracy. Under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program, India has launched a PAN e-African program and has set up a fi ber-optic network to provide satellite connectivity, telemedicine and tele-education to 47 countries, including Egypt, making available the facilities and expertise of some of the premier India universities and super-specialty hospitals to the people of Africa. The project is also equipped to support e-governance, e-commerce, infotainment, resource mapping and meteorological and other services. Facilitating trade expansion: Egypt’s currency devaluation and scarcity of foreign exchange have adversely affected its trade. India could propose currency swaps and investments based on buyback agreements in order to boost bilateral trade and investment. Both of these measures help to augment bilateral trade and investment. During President Sisi’s visit to India in the year 2016, both the countries have set a target of bilateral trade of $8 bi