After the Austrian Ambassador Dr. Georg Stillfried visited SEKEMs Spring Festival a few weeks ago, recently also the Austrian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Andrä Rupprechter, travelled to the SEKEM Farm. On the occasion of a two-day working visit to Cairo, SEKEM Initiative was presented to Rupprechter as “impressive company model” in the field of sustainable development.
Fostering further cooperation
The Austrian Minister was impressed by SEKEMs holistic development approach and emphasized his interest in cooperation. SEKEM-Founder Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, who lived more than 20 years in Austria and still is strongly connected to the country, subsequently suggested to extend collaborations between the two states and additionally include to German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development by supporting the establishment of initiatives for sustainable development in whole Africa following the SEKEM model.
“Top performance from Austria is highly attractive for Egyptian authorities and the economy. I see great potential on the Egyptian market for our local enterprises, especially in regards to environmental technologies but also for cooperations in the field of agricultural. Know-how and technologies from Austria are in great demand”, Rupprechter summarized about his stay in Cairo.
The Minister came together with about two dozen representatives from Austrian companies that may assist Egypt with ideas, knowledge, technologies and concepts in overcoming all the challenges the country is facing, such as, for instance, waste management, one of the biggest problems in Egypt’s megacity Cairo. “Austria is one of the world leaders in waste industry”, said Rupprechter.
Creating Land for Living
Together with his Egyptian colleagues, the Minister of Environment, Khaled Fahmy, and the Minister of Agriculture, Essem Fayed, Rupprechter signed two Memorandum of Understanding, which open possibilities of cooperation in the field of environmental technologies, waste- and water-management, agriculture and renewable energies, all sectors that SEKEM is actively promoting.
The SEKEM-visit was scheduled at the end of the agenda of the Austrian Minister’s Egypt-stay and should show that in spite of everything, development opportunities in the field of sustainable agriculture, water management and environmental protection are possible and realistic. “Egypt needs a lot of support, money, investors, developmental work. We need to train and educate people in order to keep them here”, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish explained to his guest, the Minister Andrä Rupprechter. “A lot of efforts are needed to revive the desert. But it is possible and necessary, because we need land for living.”