Diplomatic briefs

28-03-2014 05:28 PM

Mary Fikry -Antoun Milad

Let’s try Setsuden in Egypt
With an eye to overcoming the repeated electricity outages in Egypt, Toyokazu Nagamune, Second Secretary and Economic Attache in Japanese Embassy in Cairo,

 recently gave a talk about the Japanese experiment of “Setsuden”, literally “saving electricity”. Talking in English, Mr Nagamune explained that Setsuden was a Japanese national movement to encourage the public to conserve electricity during the 2011 summer months, and adopt an overall energy sustainable lifestyle. 
The movement started in July 2011 to prevent rolling blackouts during the summer due to electricity shortages in eastern Japan. Specifically, setsuden was largely in reaction to the aftermath of March 2011 when the Fukushima nuclear plant faced a meltdown after it was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami. Following the shutdown of the Fukushima power plant, other nuclear plants were also decommissioned indefinitely for maintenance checks, further reducing the nation##s nuclear power supply. In response to this energy shortage, media campaigns promoted Japanese households and businesses to cut back on electrical usage. The movement was successful in preventing blackouts while it lasted.
Since it saved 10 per cent of the electricity in Japan, and 14 per cent in Tokyo, according to Mr Nagamune, it could be applied here in Egypt to save spending billions of pounds to solve this problem. 
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Italian grant to restore Islamic museum
The Italian foreign ministry has granted Egypt USD800,000 to help with the restoration of the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo after it was damaged by a terrorist bombing last January. The grant was announced by Italy’s ambassador to Cairo, Maurizio Massari, following a meeting with Minister of Antiquities Muhammad Ibrahim during which they discussed the programme of mutual cooperation in the field of cultural and historical heritage, which mainly represents the cornerstone within the Italian work in Egypt. 
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Hanbok and Hansik
The Hanbok is the traditional outfit of the Korean people. Koreans nowadays wear this outfit only on festive days or special anniversaries, however it was worn daily up until just 100 years ago. It is used as a traditional formal dress and most Koreans keep a hanbok for special times. Children wear hanbok on their first birthday and adults wear it for their wedding ceremony and on their 60th birthday. The hanbok is also worn for funerals or religious services, and is still used as casual wear in villages or districts where the traditional ways of life are still maintained.
Hansik, meaning Korean food, contains less meat than most traditional Western or Chinese cuisine, and features a wide variety of fermented foods, assorted vegetable dishes, and rice. It is very nutritious and is becoming more and more popular around the world for its health benefits.
The Doum Cultural Foundation presented on last 16 February a day dedicated to Korean culture. The Korean cultural councillor Park Jae-Jung lectured on Korean cultural and the common features with the Arab culture. The lecture was followed by an open discussion on both cultures. 
The day filled with food, music, art, traditional attire and traditional fashion show of the Korean gown, and much more. 
The attendants had the chance to take photos wearing the hanbok, and taste hansik food. 
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One Village, One Product
The “One village, One product” project which aims to empower women in rural areas and close the gap of gender inequality has been launched in the village of al-Fashn in BeniSweif, some 100km south of Cairo. The project aims to support Egyptian women who normally play an active role of in rural areas, improve their technical and administrative skills, form productive alliances and create long-term marketing sources, and raise the economic return of their work.  
The Social Fund for Development (SFD) has implemented the project jointly with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). This partnership is an integral component of women’s economic empowerment, on which UN Women is working through the implementation of financial and non-financial services packages, as well as asset transfer to improve women’s income and build their capacities to enable them to economically support themselves and their families.
Ms Hana al-Hilali, Acting Secretary -General of the Social Fund for Development, said the project will provide hundreds of jobs for women through their participation in the dairy industry supply chain. It offers training to female cattle raisers and increases their capacity in the livestock and dairy product manufacturing. 
In this regard, the SFD signed a quadrant contract with the Local Community Development Association in Ja’afar, CARE International in Egypt and the global dairy firm Danone which has plants in Egypt to establishing a centre for milk collection in the village of Ja’afar in Fashn. The project targets contracting 700 women to provide cattle dairy daily to Fashn. The SFD will fund the facilities and equipment necessary for the centre as well as some of the supporting activities. The Association will bear the remaining costs of the project while CARE will provide technical support and training for women on the basis of a sound education. 
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137 million Euros from France
France has signed financing agreements worth 137 million Euros with Egypt to develop low-income neighborhoods and small and micro enterprises, the French embassy in Cairo said in a recent statement.
France will contribute 80 million euros for small and micro enterprises in all governorates, and the European Union will contribute another 15 million euros for the urban regeneration of four unplanned settlements in Greater Cairo, namely in Ezbet Khairalla, Al-Zawya Al-Hamra, Ard El-Lewa and Meit-Okba, where 1.2 million people live.
The agreement was signed by Jean-Marc Gravellini, director of operations at the French Development Agency (AFD), French ambassador Nicolas Galey, and Minister of International Cooperation and Planning Ashraf al-Araby, according to the statement. The Egyptian Social Fund for Development (SFD) will execute the project.
Gravellini signed another funding agreement with the Egyptian Central Bank and the Ministry of Housing to improve the water system and sanitation services in the Upper Egyptian cities of Qena, Sohag, Asyut and Minya, according to the statement. That project is expected to have 15.3 million beneficiaries.
WATANI International
30 March 2014
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