In a welcome bid to promote solar energy use in Egypt’s industrial sector, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has initiated a project to boost local solar manufacturing capacity in Egypt.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN-backed project will support the local manufacturing of solar energy systems and components for use in Egyptian chemical, agro-food, and textile industries. Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Egypt’s Minister of Industry, Trade, and Small and Medium Size Enterprises, and UNIDO Director General LI Yong attended the official inauguration ceremony for the project.

Egypt’s Premier Economic Development Conference

The new UNIDO project was formally launched last week in Egypt, coinciding with the nation’s first ever Economic Development Conference. A three-day event, the historic Economic Development Conference opened on March 13 in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh. Over 112 countries were represented at the conference, with over 2,000 delegates in attendance.

Among the many deals struck during the highly praised conference, renewable energy projects received significant attention. Included in the lion’s share of renewables investment announcements, ACWA Power International of Saudi Arabia and Masdar of UAE signed deals to construct a number of solar power plants, as well as a wind energy plant. The total production capacity is up to 4.4GW, with an investment of $2.4 billion USD.

Greening Egypt’s Economy

UNIDO Director General Li, while attending the Economic Development Conference, noted that the new UNIDO project will further contribute to the conference objectives. “Renewable energy will help Egypt on the path to inclusive and sustainable industrial development,” said Director General Li. He added that the project “will make the country’s economy greener and will meet the industrial sector’s growing energy demand.”

Minister Abdel Nour said, “The new project will be instrumental in building the capacity of the local supply chain for manufacturing solar energy in Egypt.” Furthermore, Abdel Nour pointed out that the UN-supported project is expected “to contribute to creating new jobs and support entrepreneurship in the renewable energy sector.”

UNIDO and Egypt’s Ministry of Industry, Trade, and SMEs are working closely to enhance the competitiveness and productivity of the Egyptian industry. Within the wider UNIDO-GEF energy program in Egypt, this is being accomplished by improving the energy efficiency of energy intensive sectors, such as the iron, steel, cement, and ceramics sectors. It is also making a critically needed contribution to a stable energy supply by introducing renewable energy applications, especially solar energy, in the industrial sector.

UN-GEF Brings International Quality Standards Compliance

Focusing on compliance with international quality standards, the UN-GEF project objectives also include promoting sustainable industrial development. Building a solar energy industry in Egypt is expected to bring in significant investments from the private sector. Worth a total of $6.5 million USD, the project anticipates generating more than $30 million USD in the renewable energy sector.

“UNIDO’s expertise and resources will surely support our efforts in promoting sustainable energy in the industrial sector,” said Minister Abdel Nour. Bringing welcome quality control to the rising solar industry in Egypt, this new UN-supported project is ideally helping to ensure that Egypt maintains its leading role in the Middle East and North Africa region.