2012 Kravis Prize winner Soraya Salti has spent more than a decade mobilizing the private sector and ministries of education across the Arab world to join forces in creating a new generation of business-minded youth.
All Africa News recently published an article by Salti regarding Egypt’s development potential under the country’s new government. In their article entitled, “Egypt: Harness the Youth to Create a Culture of Social Entrepreneurship,” Salti argues that the key to Egypt’s success is to invest in its young people.
Salti formulates her argument around three divisions of Egyptian culture that have shaped the country’s identity: rising Internet usage, a large private sector economy, and the region’s most celebrated media industry.
She provides the following statistical analysis to contextualize the country’s online mobility:
“Magnified by the Arab Spring, millions of young Egyptians are now active on online platforms. As of June 2012, nearly 30 million Egyptians had access to Internet, a 30 percent penetration rate (Internetworldstats.com). Twenty-five percent of all Facebook users in the Arab World live in Egypt, and in 2012 it added more users than any other country in the region, 70 percent of whom were in the 15-29 age bracket (Dubai School of Government, 2012). On top of this, a recent study from the Dubai School of Government found that Arabs increasingly view social media as a tool for developing entrepreneurial skills and gaining productive knowledge.
She continues by offering three examples of how to most effectively engage these principles into Egypt’s entrepreneurial culture. As the Regional Director for INJAZ Al-Arab, an organization that uses mentorship by Arab business leaders to inspire entrepreneurialism and innovation among Arab youth, Salti demonstrates how INJAZ has successfully targeted these three Egyptian institutions to promote social enterprise and empower the country’s young generation.
Salti concludes her analysis with the following declaration:
“To build a foundation on which we can develop the next generation of social entrepreneurs in Egypt, we must put our money on the creative potential of our youth. If we allow them to exercise their entrepreneurial abilities, I guarantee that social innovation will follow.”
Click here to read more about Salti and her work!