Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download


COMMITMENT 33akzente 4/15 F our arms held aloft, a different tool in each hand – electric drill, hammer, fold- ing rule and pliers. The poster virtually covers the entire wall behind the reception desk. Its message is clear: here, at the offices of the National Employment Pact (NEP), we are committed to getting people into work. It is 10 am. The reception area at the em- ployment centre is full of young Egyptians looking for work. Ibrahim Sabri has come here for the first time. The 28-year-old has just got married and is about to become a fa- ther. He runs a small tailor’s shop, but the takings are not enough to live on. NEP is de- signed to help people like him. For university graduates there are private employment agen- cies and internet portals, but ordinary work- ers only find jobs if they hear of one by chance or by going from company to com- pany. There is no state-run employment agency. The employment centre is on the sev- enth floor of an office building in Dokki Dis- trict. It is one of three such centres in Greater Cairo. After Egypt’s 2011 revolution, busi- ness representatives put their heads together to determine what the country urgently needed during the redevelopment phase. The answer, they decided, was jobs. And so NEP was born. Its management committee is made up of representatives from 12 German and Egyptian companies, including Siemens, BASF and Hassan Allam Holding. GIZ has been supporting NEP since 2011 on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Eco- nomic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Federal Foreign Of- fice. Since 2015, the project has been part of the special initiative launched by BMZ to promote stability and development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). GIZ develops training courses for applicants as well as for qualified employment officers. So far 55 Egyptians have received training and are now working as employment officers in the centres. The official unemployment rate in Egypt is around 13 per cent. However, half of all those employed work in the shadow econ- omy, with neither social nor health insurance and no employment rights. The situation is particularly difficult for young people. For this reason, NEP specifically targets appli- cants under the age of 35, for whom it aims to find decent jobs with social protection. Ibrahim Sabri is part of this target group. His dream is to work as a driver. At the em- ployment centre he answers questions about his skills, interests and ambitions. He is told he must complete a two-day preparatory training course designed to get applicants ready for the labour market. Behind the glass wall of the seminar room, one of the training courses has just got underway, featuring a music video by popular rapper Ahmed Mek­ky. ‘Don’t be anybody but yourself,’ it says. ‘Believe in yourself!’ Better, more committed applicants The 24 participants learn about their rights and obligations as employees. They are taught how to conduct themselves at job interviews and, in particular, what companies will ex- pect from them. One of the participants is Fatma Maged. ‘I had heard a lot about the employment centre,’ the 22-year-old says. ‘I met people who were really enthusiastic about it.’ What she likes in particular about the training course is that the speakers inspire greater self-confidence and determination in participants. Proof that this really does make appli- cants more attractive to employers is to be found just 12 kilometres away, as the crow flies, at Samaya Electronics Egypt in the Cairo district of Nasr City. Human resources coordinator Basma Abbas explains why she is so happy to take applicants sent to her by NEP. ‘When I started here a year ago, my boss told me straight away to work with NEP,’ the resolute young woman recalls. She is responsible for recruiting production staff. ‘Workers from NEP are more committed and more productive.’ The company produces radios, central locking systems and other electronic compo- nents for car manufacturers, including Mit- subishi, Alfa Romeo and Renault. It employs over 500 people, but is currently taking on around 50 more every month. The demand for new workers is constantly growing. Around one third of new recruits have come via NEP in the past year. The production halls appear neat and tidy. The building is being cleaned from top to bottom, the smell of disinfectant is every- where. The employees wear colour-coded polo shirts – team leaders wear red, quality controllers green. Clearly little is left to chance at Samaya. It is easy to see why Basma Abbas enjoys working with NEP, because the employment agency preselects potential candidates. That not only increases the applicants’ chances, but also benefits the companies. With a de- gree in psychology, the human resources co- ordinator is able to interview jobseekers and judge how serious they are about their appli- cation. One in three of all new workers quit soon after taking up employment, for ex­ ample because the job is too far from home. ‘I feel I’m doing something important.’ Mahmoud Sobhy now has a job with social security and 21 days of paid holiday. JOBS IN FoCus Through its special initiative to promote stability and development in the MENA region, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is creating opportunities for peo- ple in North Africa and the Middle East. The initiative therefore also contrib- utes to maintaining peace. Since 2014, BMZ has provided more than EUR 200 million for projects focusing on youth employment, economic stabilisation and democratisation.