How to integrate employment into trade and investment policies?

Launch of the METI Programme in Egypt and first meeting of the Policy Working Group (PWG)

News | 21 July 2022
On 16 June 2022, the first meeting of the Policy Working Group (PWG) of the "Mainstreaming of Employment into Trade and Investment in the Southern Neighbourhood (METI)" programme was held in Egypt with the welcome addresses of the Mr. Luca Fedi, Employment Specialist at the ILO, Cairo Office and Dr. Reham Rizk, Head of Social Planning and Development Unit, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development as well as Mrs Héla Miniaoui, the Programme Manager and Mr. Nacer Bouyahia, member of the programme team. Senior officials from line ministries for the programme, trade and investment support structures and social partners; members of the PWG have met to discuss the different aspects related to the implementation of the programme and to choose the sector on which the programme will base its technical assistance activities in aid of its final beneficiaries.

Mrs Héla Miniaoui, the Programme Manager and Mr. Nacer Bouyahia, member of the programme team presented the METI programme and its implementation approach. They also presented the main results of the country report for Egypt “Impact of Trade and Investment Policies on Productive and Decent Work in Egypt” as well as the regional report on Trade, Investment and Labour Market in the Southern Mediterranean countries.

Besides the main results of the studies presented, the national priorities for Egypt and the impact of the COVID-19 on the Egyptian economy, the sector selection discussion considered other criteria such as informality, adaptability of the sector to cope with future shocks, environmental and sustainability aspects and the sector’s women and youth employability. In order to address the adverse effects of the pandemic such as high levels of unemployment and informality, the project will assist Egypt in strategically designing its trade and investment policies to support the development of productive sectors, including for SMEs, while creating much-needed quality jobs, especially for women and youth.

The members of the PWG considered that the two sectors: Food/Agri-business and the Textile/Apparel are in line with their national priorities. Both sectors, supported by the ICT sector, are instrumental to the National Structural Reforms Programme implemented by the Government Egypt. Accordingly, the PWG recommended the consideration of both sectors. Both sectors have high ability to absorb the crisis and required mobilizing domestic resources and technical expertise to improve the upstream of the industry and easily integrated in the global value chain.

“Mainstreaming Employment into Trade and Investment in the Southern Neighbourhood” (METI) is a four-year regional programme funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the International Labour Organization. The overall objective of the project is to enable policy makers in the Middle East and North Africa to incorporate employment issues into trade and investment policies, and design and implement interventions that ultimately optimize the quantity and quality of employment created in the region. It will also facilitate the operationalisation of the third pillar of the EU’s External Investment Plan through policy dialogue, and support initiatives related to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.