Qalaa Holdings’ Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer, Ghada Hammouda, participated in the 5th annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Conference attended by key government and industry leaders to discuss the role of corporate social responsibility in promoting partnerships for sustainable development
Qalaa Holdings (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), an African leader in energy and infrastructure, was a proud participant in the 5th Annual CSR Conference sponsored by the Federation of Egyptian Industries. The theme of the conference, “CSR and the Rise of Regional Partnerships in Development” explored the role of social responsibility in creating strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors and civil society and looked into ways to coordinate government policies with private initiatives in a manner that can achieve maximum impact and work towards sustainable development, in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030.
The conference was attended by key government leaders, including Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation; Eng. Amr Nassar, Minister of Trade and Industry; Dr. Ghada Wali, Minister of Social Solidarity; Dr. Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning; Eng. Amr Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology; and Mohamed El Sewedy, President of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, as well as representatives from the Federation of Egyptian Industries, the United Nations Population Fund, the International Organization for Migration and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Ghada Hammouda, Qalaa’s Chief Marketing and Sustainability Officer stressed on the importance of the role of the private sector in working to improve its surrounding communities and the economy at large, hailing the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) as a successful model of responsible investing and public-private cooperation. “The business community is undergoing a radical transformation in terms of social responsibility and the application of sustainable practices is becoming increasingly important as environmental, social, economic and governance issues take center stage. Sustainability and inclusiveness are developing into key pillars of Egypt’s national development strategy,” said Hammouda. “Social responsibility must start with the investment community in the creation of sustainable models to ensure continued economic development and a better quality of life for all Egyptians.”
Hammouda underscored the importance of creating win-win partnerships and a culture of cooperation between the public and private sectors and highlighted the role of the latter in working towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She further expressed pride in being a part of Qalaa Holdings, a company that was established 15 years ago by 2 entrepreneurs, Ahmed Heikal and Hisham El-Khazindar, and has today become a leading African investor in energy and infrastructure with a capital worth 9.1 bn and a pioneer in the area of socially responsible investments by cultivating key partnerships with both government and civil society organizations. “Qalaa Holdings has, since inception, been committed to responsible investing. We have established more than 50 companies and created some 40,000 jobs through our sustainable and innovative businesses such as the Egyptian Refining Company, TAQA Arabia, and ECARU Solid Waste Management. We are keen to build on this commitment to sustainability by applying international labor standards to our internal systems, operating policies and transparent governance practices,” stated Hammouda.
Its worth mentioning that Hammouda showcased the Egyptian Refining Company, the firm’s flagship US$ 4.3 billion greenfield refinery, as an example of a successful public-private mega partnership project that managed to attract foreign financing partners from more than 18 financial institution. The project will help in reducing Egypt’s current diesel imports by around 30%- 40% and reducing Egypt’s sulfur emission annually by 29.1 %, in addition to providing US 300 million in additional direct benefits to the state annually. As for ERC’s sustainability practices, the company conducted the most comprehensive Environmental/Social Impact Assessment (“ESIA”) ever commissioned in Egypt for an industrial project based on international / IFC standards to minimize negative Project impacts. The result of which ERC has been focusing on 4 main areas to develop the social community through conducting partnerships with 44 NGO’s , 7 universities and diverse governmental entities. The 4 main areas the company focused on are: Economic development and entrepreneurship, Education support program, special needs support program, and vocational training and human capital development for youth.
“Developing human capital is a cornerstone in achieving sustainable development,” acknowledged Hammouda, highlighting the importance of education and vocational training programs as a means of developing human capital and Qalaa Holdings’ initiatives in supporting talented students through programs such as the Qalaa Holdings Scholarship Foundation (QHSF), where the number of beneficiaries from Qalaa Holdings and its subsidiaries’ human capital development initiatives have reached 32,000 beneficiary . Launched in 2007, the foundation has thus far sent 184 students from 14 governorates to 60 prestigious international universities on full scholarships for graduate studies. Qalaa also has an undergraduate scholarship program through its subsidiary ERC that awards students from the local community in Mostorod with the opportunity to attend quality universities in Egypt in a further effort to make quality educational opportunities more available across different wage groups.