Leading by Example, Forging Strategic Partnerships and Translating Development Goals to Business Opportunities is Imperative to Achieving Inclusive Economies says Qalaa Holdings’ Chief Marketing Officer Ghada Hammouda at High Level UN Forum
“We are witnessing a time where there is tremendous alignment between the interests of the public and private sectors,” said Ghada Hammouda, Chief Marketing Officer at Qalaa Holdings (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), at a Private Sector Workshop at UN High Level Political Forum “Business Leading the Way” held at UN Headquarters in New York City. The workshop featured several sessions focused on the adoption of the SDGs and the means by which governments, private sector and civil society can collaborate and unite their efforts to advance sustainable development. Qalaa was the only Egyptian company speaking at the event.
“Building sustainable inclusive economies has been a priority for governments, civil society players and progressive corporations around the globe and the MENA region and Egypt are no exception. In fact, Egypt, a signatory to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes the 17 SDGs, a set of goals designed to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030 has already developed its own Egypt Vision 2030 inline with these principles. It focuses on growing the economy, fighting corruption, creating a more competitive market, developing human capital and creating social safety nets for all citizens.”
“In parallel, private sector investors are becoming increasingly aware that their ability to grow and generate profit is directly linked to the existence of a stable and prosperous society and inclusive economies, and that fiscally constrained governments can not do it alone. The private sector must play a leading role in helping build youth-led economies by creating jobs, and providing educational and vocational training opportunities for our youth,” said Hammouda.
Commenting on the state of ESG in the region, Hammouda said, “The ESG and sustainability ecosystem in MENA is evolving within the larger context of national and regional efforts to achieve societal and economic reforms and companies are paying attention. More actors and forums are convening to discuss sustainability agendas with a gradual shift from a charity and philanthropy paradigm to a shared-value paradigm, from the luxury of CSR to the necessity of investing responsibly and creating value, from fragmented initiatives to structured corporate responsibility organized by companies to fully-fledged corporate strategies that align internationally recognized ESG practices and reporting standards into every facet of a company’s day to day operations.”
“Over the years we have tried to lead by example and invested in businesses that spur job creation, develop human capital by transferring knowledge to the wider community, and provide products and services that will have a positive impact on the life of the average citizen such as gas distribution, electricity generation, solid waste management and microfinance.”
Qalaa has been one of the first vocal and progressive supporters of the SDGs in Egypt. We have been working diligently to align our core business, our portfolio and ESG practices with the SDG’s and with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and have been on the forefront of raising awareness of the SDG’s within our company and the Egyptian business community at large,” said Hammouda.
With a particular focus on five SDGs; quality education, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure and partnerships for the goals, Qalaa and its subsidiaries have made clear and concrete progress. Qalaa's education and human capital initiatives in support of quality education SDG # 4 was among the Egyptian success stories distributed at the Forum to showcase pioneering examples of private sector engagement in embracing the SDGs and Egypt's 2030 vision. Among the company’s numerous initiatives are training workshops for Egypt’s educators, vocational training, and public school renovations through its subsidiary the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) and awarding over 163 scholarships for post graduate studies abroad through the Qalaa Holdings Scholarship Foundation (QHSF), Egypt’s largest private-sector scholarship program.
Hammouda highlighted the importance of alignment, collaboration and partnerships globally, regionally and locally, focusing on the "golden triangle" and highlighted how Qalaa has successfully utilized partnerships in its ESG practice.
Tonye Cole, a founding member of the UN Private Sector Advisory Group for the UN SDGF (Sustainable Development Goals Fund) commended the Egyptian delegation's size, breadth and depth, as well as their genuine desire for knowledge, quality and relevance of inquiries stating that, "Egypt's presence was well felt.” Cole also invited collaboration between all stakeholders for the achievement the SDGs quoting an African proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. The only way the SDGs will succeed is if we collaborate. Without collaboration we will fail. No one can succeed alone."
“While workshop attendees and members of the Egyptian delegation expressed genuine interest in supporting the implementation of the SDGs, there was consensus that engaging the private sector will require carrying out a meaningful dialogue to achieve broad awareness and translate the SDGs into business opportunities and relevant language to investors (KPI’s, ROI) and identifying co-funding.
The impressive, well-rounded delegation from Egypt was the largest from any country representing national and multinational private sector members, business associations and sustainability consultants as well as representatives from the Egyptian permanent mission to the UN.
Qalaa’s selection by the UNDP, UNDESA and ECRC to participate in this reputable event as an Egyptian success story is a testament to its pioneering efforts in making the principles of sustainability, inclusivity, stewardship and innovation central to its growth as an institution.
Qalaa Holdings(CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Stock Exchange) is an African leader in energy and infrastructure. Formerly known as Citadel Capital, Qalaa Holdings controls subsidiaries in industries including Energy, Cement, Transportation & Logistics, and Mining. To learn more, please visit qalaaholdings.com.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer
Tel: +20 2 2791-4439
Fax: +20 22 791-4448
Mobile: +20 106 662-0002