The fifth World Youth Forum — which was cancelled by organisers on Saturday — will allocate its budget for this year to five development initiatives launched by the forum, its executive director Rasha Ragab said at a press conference in Cairo.
The annual event hosts delegations of young people from all over the world in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh, focusing on current and future global challenges. The size of the reallocated budget has not been revealed.
Launched in 2017 by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the forum has so far featured significant participation from foreign youth delegations.
The initiatives, which will be conducted by various UN agencies in collaboration with the Egyptian presidency and other authorities, will have a “direct impact on citizens, and youth in particular, in Egypt and abroad,” Ms Ragab said, hinting that the country’s economic situation was the reason for the change in format.
“In light of the extraordinary circumstances that Egypt and the entire world are facing right now, it was decided to present the fifth edition of the forum in a different way so it is more focused on implementation and not discussion.”
Of the five initiatives, one will work with small and medium-sized businesses through a rigorous entrepreneurship programme that will include fully funded training sessions for workers in Egypt’s industrial sector.
Young entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to participate in business incubators to help them get their enterprises off the ground.
A particular focus will be placed on entrepreneurs from Egyptian villages covered by Haya Karima, a social welfare programme launched by Mr El Sisi that provides food, medical and other kinds of support to the country’s neediest.
A second initiative, titled “Learning to Earning”, aims to improve qualifications of Egyptian and expatriate youth for the country’s labour market through “developing the required competencies to enable them to obtain decent jobs”, the forum said on Facebook.
Another initiative will tackle food security, an issue that has been on millions of Egyptians’ minds as they contend with record increases in prices of everyday food items.
The programme will work with Egyptian farmers to help them overcome challenges to increase their yields.
The programme will be implemented by Ebda, another of Mr El Sisi’s programs that supports Egyptian industrial workers for the purpose of promoting local goods and reducing the country’s reliance on imports.
Haya Karima and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation will be collaborating.
A mental health programme will also be launched, the organisers announced. Carried out in cooperation with the recently-launched Fahem Foundation, it will provide psychological, health, and community support for refugees, migrants and displaced people and their families.
The forum will also launch a “Refugees and Migrants” program which aims to better integrate them into Egypt’s schools and provide them with medical and social support when they need it.
An additional programme aiming to promote volunteer work in Egypt will also take place, the organisers said.