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Do We Need To Create More Opportunities For Lower And Middle Class Upliftment?



Written By: Shazia Patel (South Africa)

Edited By: Basma Fawzy, Mona Timor Shehata

“Without effort, ambition, and clear business goals, for yourself, your community, your country or whomsoever you intend to benefit, you are less likely to achieve. The only real way to climb up the ladder is to optimize your time, utilize your resources, be prepared to chip a nail and buy a new pair of running shoes to always keep moving forward.”

Shazia Patel

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” George Orwell.

Do we need to create more opportunities for lower and middle class upliftment?

The nature of capitalism dictates that economic equality within a country is a somewhat idealistic concept, and that one’s success is based on the number of all-nighters one has pulled or whether or not one has stumbled upon a lucky lottery ticket. The Egyptian take on this tried-and-tested economic system is somewhat warped, with all the ends not securely tied. Why?

My proposal is that there is effort invested in the pursuit of success, but there is little room for ascension on the rungs of the ladder.

The Arab Republic of Egypt is currently in possession of a report card with the score of 80/120 under Power Distance Index (PDI.) Basically, people with very little power are easily accepting or expecting unequal power distribution in the country. Consequently, Egyptians have the subconscious idea that the endurance of large power divides will ensure their being limited to their current socio-economic status (SES.) Is this the possible reason for the fact that lower and middle class members of society limit themselves to small, in expansible businesses?  These enterprises often serve the same function as one another and are bound to become redundant which leads us to this – Is the everyday Egyptian simply lacking ambition, or has opportunity not knocked on his/her door yet?

Though Egypt’s GDP has remained fairly stable in past years, the population growth has been massive. This means that the GDP per capita has decreased significantly. Egypt limits its own economy by having few opportunities on comparing the ratio of middle to high paying job level. Many are stuck in the lower and middle classes which leaves this sector of society not optimally contributing to the flow of money in the country. Is this not contributing to the growth of the wealth divide between the lavish and the impoverished? Is it not something worthy of being questioned on a government level? I certainly think so.

It seems government can do more to help the layman, especially since citizens have been ‘outsourcing’ basic services from NGOs and the private sector. This default plan can only be detrimental. It makes the people take more precious paper out of their own wallets just for their daily halawa* and crème caramel. On the other hand, the private sector has a far greater target market because people now HAVE to use their services which fattens up the private sectors’ Louis Vuitton wallets right under our noses. What do you know? SOCIOECONOMIC DIVIDE.

NGOs are also not the answer. Their resources are limited and their support not always ensured.

Your wallet should not bear the brunt of an inefficient system.

One such basic service of which people seem to have been deprived of, is adequate schooling. The World Economic Forum currently ranks Egypt as the third worst in the world in their primary education.  A lack of education, and, thus, intelligence, brings us back to our original problem: the inability to pull ourselves up the ladder. Perhaps the problem lies not in opportunity, but in the lack of know-how. A water-loose primary education can eventually lead to a lethal flood with Precious Aqua de Vida surging down on you steadily every day of your life. You struggle to breathe because your bills, family, work, religion, and neighbor’s-dog’s-uncle’s-friend’s problems all weigh on your shoulders and you cannot run.

Almost all lower-class Egyptians cannot speak English. This puts them in positions that have little or no interactions with the outside world, and, obviously, these positions do not pay that well, especially because Egypt has been relying heavily on foreign trade and tourism since its political instability period. Is this not a pity? So many good thinkers wasted on a world that does not provide them with opportunities to innovate. A good education is the key to the safe haven in this cut-throat world. We must ensure that we equip our offspring with the “Akl”* to be successful.

The government’s plan is to generate a higher GDP from specific projects and then inject those funds into the different areas of the national budget. I think we need a more holistic approach. For example, the Suez Canal Project is too much of a gamble. There’s no surety that the estimated figures will be any match to the real ones. In fact, the upgrade of the canal only increased its capacity from 78 ships to 97 ships, but the canal was servicing much less than 78 ships previous to the expansion. Most ships were already using the Suez route even though its grandeur was not half what it is now. Why? Because the trip around Africa to get to the same place is a good 10 days longer. So, is the expansion really going to bring as much revenue as estimated? Only time will tell.

I personally would not take a gamble on the GDP. Risks are only acceptable on fashion runways or when buying petty stocks. I think a whole lot of smaller projects generating steady income for the government are more reliable than one big one. We need to innovate to revive the business sector.

There are many ways that Egypt can get out of its self-declared, self-instilled economic rut, but they all need fuel and a spark to start the fire. Without effort, ambition, and clear business goals, for yourself, your community, your country or whomsoever you intend to benefit, you are less likely to achieve. The only real way to climb up the ladder is to optimize your time, utilize your resources, be prepared to chip a nail and buy a new pair of running shoes to always keep moving forward.



*halawa – Egyptian dessert made of sesame seeds (Halva)

*Akl – Arabic word for food  


Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna



“Continuous Learning, adopting innovation & creativity and teamwork are among the guiding principles of success and excellence in the government sector” Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Name: Eng.  Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Title: Director Assistance for Control & Inspection for Economic Activities at Ministry of Industry & Trade in Jordan

Winning categories:

  1. The Gold Stevie Winner in the category “the most innovative Communications Professional of the year “
  2. The Silver Stevie Winner in the category “Innovation in Community Relations or public Services Communications”
  3. The Bronze Stevie Winner in the category “Innovative Management in Government – Organizations with 100 or more employees”
Brief Biography about the Winner:

Abeer Ramadna is the Director assistant of control and inspection unit at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MIT) in Jordan, she has a Master Degree in Industrial Engineering- Engineering Administration / University of Jordan with “excellent degree”. Abeer has 20 years of experience in private and public sectors, and is a focal point for UNIDO at MIT in Jordan. Abeer is a certified Management development Expert from ITC/ Vienna in 2005, a certified Export Consultant to EU from CBI/Netherland in 2007, certified Lead Auditor for Quality Management ISO 9001:2015, a certified Engineer Expert in Quality and Environmental Management systems in 2018 and a certified EFQM Assessor from EFQM in 2019. Eng. Abeer has a wide professional expertise in many fields that allow her to provide consultations to the organizations in various fields including Quality Management, Environmental Management, preparing industrial polices, strategies and plans, Inspection polices, Monitoring & Evaluation systems, implementing the ISO9001, ISO14001 ISO14040s standards, and conducting technical industrial sectors studies.

Eng. Abeer won three Stevie Awards from three different categories after participation in Middle East Stevie Awards in 2020, these are:

  1. Gold Stevie Winner in a category:” The Most Innovative Communications Professional of the Year”. These categories honor the most innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology.
  2. Silver Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovation in Community Relations or Public Service Communications”. These categories honor innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology in the public sector.
  3. Bronze Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovative Management in Government “. These categories honor innovation in executive management including the Award for Innovative Management in a number of industry sectors.

Abeer has been published scientific papers in one of the world accredited journals in E-government. Titled “Barriers to E-Government Adoption in Jordanian Organizations from Users’ and Employees’ Perspectives” in 2017, the link is:

and published another scientific paper titled: “SEM approach to determine factors affecting e-government success in Jordan”,  the link is: _to_determine_factors_affecting_e-government_success_in_Jordan

She was selected as a Judge at the Best Jordanian chemical product Award in all three cycles of it during 2015 to 2020, Judge in the 2019 management & entrepreneur Awards categories judging committee Stevie Awards, and Judge at the best industrial engineering project for the Jordanian universities in 2019. She participated in several national and International conferences, meetings and presented papers, as a representative of the MIT / Jordan.

Stevie Award winning Case Study:

  • Developing action plans of inspection development to governmental institutions (Inspectorates) work in fields of health, Environment, labor, safety for economic sectors in Jordan.
  • Supervision of developing Electronic Inspection System for governmental inspectorates.
  •  Conduct many awareness workshops for governmental inspectorates and for private sector institutions.
  • Conduct many workshops and training sessions as A National trainer of trainers in the shaping of future studies.
  • Secretariat of higher committee for Inspection development of Economic Activates that consists from high level management in governmental inspectorates.
  • Abeer is trusted as a competent team leader and confident expert in Quality management & Inspection systems
  • Abeer conducted in 2018 a study titled the Industrial engineering in the government sector in Jordan, current situation and future opportunities and present it in the 2nd International Conference on Industrial Systems & Manufacturing Engineering (ISME’19) Nov, 11-12, 2019 in Amman.
  • Abeer was chosen after a series of selection process as one of the National participants in the Civil Service Development Program in Jordan and attended all phases including the leadership and developing high performance teams at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst UK during 2019.

Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna “Continuing to contribute achievements and make positive impacts are goals that are achievable with the presence of strong & positive attitude, self-motivated character & determination.”

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Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Asiacell



“Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel”

Winning Organization: Asiacell

Nomination: Award for Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries (including Telecom)

Brief about the Organization:

Asiacell is a leading provider of telecommunications and data services in Iraq. As part of international telecommunications company Ooredoo Group, Asiacell was Iraq’s first mobile telecommunications provider to achieve nationwide coverage. Asiacell is also a leading internet provider with its 3.9G data services, offering the best network coverage in all of Iraq since January 2015.

Stevie Award Winning Case Study:

As part of its commitment to expand network coverage in Iraq, Asiacell has continued to support the redevelopment of the country’s infrastructure and economy and the provision of high-quality connectivity solutions. It has enhanced its “Hot Zone” restoration strategy by putting 200 sites on air and connecting over 500 sites to 3G.

Focused on improving the quality of life for communities, Asiacell’s CSR initiatives are focused on key areas, such as health, education and culture. Asiacell has equipped several higher education institutions with computer labs and supported the renovation of schools, with the aim of providing quality education infrastructure. It also partnered with the Chibayish Environmental Tourism Organization to build the first Iraqi Marshlands heritage museum in Ahwar as part of its efforts to revive Iraq’s Marshland, while generating a positive effect on tourism and jobs creation. 

Recognising that its people are its key asset, Asiacell continues to roll out initiatives focused on engaging and empowering employees. It has invested heavily in digital transformation, including digital upskilling for employees, and streamlining of various internal processes in order to nurture a digital-first culture that embraces innovation.

We are so glad to be recognized as a successful and innovative telecommunication company in Iraq with a Stevie Award for “Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries”. Recognition from the Stevie Awards means a lot to us and motivates Asiacell to continue to serve the community with professionalism. Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel.


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Qisaty Project & Developing Talent in Children with Special Needs in Egypt



Edited By: Mahmoud Mansi

Qisaty Project – founded by Mona Lamloum – was launched on 26th December 2019 to support children talents through a series of storytelling, writing and drawing workshops.

The total number of children who participated in the storytelling workshop is 60 including the most talented 20 who were selected to the story writing sessions, 16 children ranging from 6 to 14 years old got their stories selected to be drawn by 19 children with special needs.

The drawing workshops were held in 3 cities in Egypt with cooperation with 2 special needs associations; Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor. 14 children, and Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria. 5 children.

The children have different disabilities, hearing loss, partial blindness, movement disability, learning difficulty disability, mental disability and increased electricity in the brain.

Of course such an interesting project needs proper preparation and an intellectual plan. Mona Lamloum shared some of the challenges that she and her team have faced during the project:

1-The global pandemic and the sudden lockdown.

2- The fact that most of the children with special needs suffer from many chronic diseases which lowers their immunity, in addition to the huge responsibility that lies on the team while holding the workshop during the pandemic.

3-The fear of the parents of the children with special needs participation at the drawing workshops due to the pandemic and the lack of their immunity. Which was managed to concur with the help of the project partners in drawing workshops. 

Eventually, Qisaty Project was held at exceptional circumstances and according to deadlines set up before the global Corona pandemic. However, the team did their best to get the project done within the lockdown with a quality that is aspired from the beginning, and that was done simply by teamwork, sharing a unified vision, and collaborating to find new solutions.

The result is 16 short stories in addition to 64 drawings by hands of talented children with special needs and with variable disabilities from three cities: Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor. Each drawing tells a different scene from a short story inspired from the children themselves to be published as a grand book that gathers the short stories and the drawings of all the talented young participants.


Qisaty Sponsors:

– Amideast: Hosted the story telling, story writing workshops and the day that gathered the writers and children with special needs mixed day.

– Nahdet Misr Publishing House.

Media Sponsors:

– Marj3 Platform

– HR Revolution Middle East


– Arablit Quarterly

Children with special needs Associations:

– Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor.

– Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria.

Qisaty Trainers:

– Hanan El-Taher.

– Mona Lamloum.

– Zeinab Mobark.

Designing Storytelling and writing workshop:

-Mona Lamloum

Writing workshops:

– Mona Lamloum

– Yaqoub El-Sharouni

Drawing workshop:

– Under the supervision of Shoikar Khalifa,

 – With the help of respectful team at Nida Association at Cairo and Luxor.

 – Ashab El-Erada Association at Alexandria by Sahar Zaiton with the help of Aliaa Abd-Elsalam.

Team Members:

– Rawan Said

– Ahmed Ismail

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