1- Advocacy-related to business and economic issues-undertaken in co-operation with other bodies in the Egyptian civil society.
This is accomplished through:
a- Corresponding with government officials on behalf of its members to solve their problems.
b- Receiving draft copies of government projects before being issued to provide input.
c- Presenting studies and concept papers to the government to strengthen the role of the business community in the economic decision making strategy.ABA is engaged in several advocacy strategies
* Studying Project DecreesABA cooperates with the Egyptian Government by studying new project decrees or amendments on present decrees and views presented by the Association are very highly considered by the Government
* Presenting concept paper, suggestion to related Ministries, addressing certain topics of interest to members and suggesting ways for improvement.
* ABA – through some of its board members – is represented in several government councils to stand as the voice of the private business community
2- Providing members with information about the general business environment, with knowledge and know-how, and with keys of access to foreign markets, in order to improve their capability to face the challenges of globalization.
This is accomplished through different means:
- Acquire, preserve and distribute valuable business information.
- Co-operate and promote relationship with other local and foreign entitities to enhance export, import and investment opportunities.
- Organize seminars, events that address economic issues of interest to the business community.
- Receive trade leads, business opportunities from different sources and distribute to ABA members.
- Human Resources development; by sponsoring and organizing training courses to upgrade the business capabilities of its members
- Represent members’ interests in international trade and investment by organizing and receiving trade missions.
*ABA also serves its members through 20 different committees addressing a variety of sectors (ex. Export, import, customs, taxation, tourism, industry, investment, etc.)
3- Social services, as part of a business community that believes in its responsibility to improve the welfare of its employees, their working and living conditions, and in shaping the future of their communities.
ABA programs include:
1- Small & Micro Enterprise Project:
ABA is considered one of the leading NGOs in the field of promoting small and micro enterprises. It started a comprehensive credit program for this national purpose in January 1990. This program is considered one of the worlds best practice in Micro Finance this is due to the diversification of different credit programs and the innovations of tools used to achieve its objectives.
The project is now covering 5 Governorates through 28 branch offices and employing more than 650 staff members.The UNDP selected ABA to be the International Technical Service Provider for its Micro start program in Yemen and Bahrain. The two contracts were for three years.
* The Small & Micro Credit Program (Since 1990)
This program is mainly targeting the existing micro enterprises (up to 5 workers) and the existing small enterprises (6-15 workers) through the provision of successive short term individual micro loans ranging from L.E. 1,000 – 25,000 (US$ 150 – 3,750). The program maintained a 99 % repayment rate since inception.
* Blossoms of Micro Enterprise Program (Since 1999)
This program is a poverty lending approach and is targeting the poorest of the poor with specific emphasis on Female-Headed Households. It assists individuals in initiating/expanding income generating activities to improve their living standards.
The blossoms program adopts “Solidarity Group” lending methodology in loan extension. Loans amount ranges from L.E. 100-500 (US$ 15- 75)
* Towards Self-Employment Program “TSEP” (Since 2000) This is a (GRANT ACTIVITY) aiming at reducing poverty by helping poor people of very low income to start micro businesses. It targets the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of the population particularly women and young people.
It is not a credit program, but it provides seed capital in the form of L.E. 200 (US$ 30) conditional grant to disbursed in two equal payments. This program is totally financed from the contributions of ABA members and other individuals.Beneficiaries of this program who sustained their businesses after receiving the second installment are eligible to join the Blossoms program and receive micro loans. This program reached 3,100 beneficiaries with a rate of sustained businesses of 74 %In 2001, ABA/ SME Project won the prize of AGFUND on the provision of Micro-Credit through non-government organizations. This AGFUND International Prize is an annual prize awarded by the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations.
2- Alexandria Center for International Arbitration:
Established in June, 2001. The Alexandria Center for International Arbitration - an Affiliate of the Cairo Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA)Since lengthy litigation procedures and the various complications arising from business disputes are major impediments facing economic development in Egypt, Alexandria Business Association, being a body dedicated to the service of the business community and the entire Alexandria society, had sought to widen the scope of arbitration and arbitral services afforded to the local and national business community.Epediting the resolution of business disputes is a major factor in the improvement of the business environment, lowering the cost of conducting business, decreasing associated risk factors and increasing the utilization of capital consequently attracting investment and enhancing economic expansion.
3- School to Work Project
On October 17th, 1999 the Egyptian Ministry of Education and the Alexandria Business Association formed a Partnership that seeks to strengthen vocational education in Alexandria as a model to be replicated in other Governorates in Egypt.The Partnership seeks to strengthen technical secondary education and create entry-level job opportunities for technical secondary school graduates.
Technical schools selected for this pilot project to develop their system were: Moharam Bek Hotel and Management School and Roushdy Technical School.
Many activities and tasks have been carried out in this project; such as giving orientation sessions to teachers and students by the businessmen, providing training and permanent job opportunities for the students and graduates of these schools, reforming the school syllabi and facilities, providing schools with telephone lines, computers and internet connections for the Job Referral Center located inside each school. A second phase of this project is to be implemented over a period of four years incorporating other major Egyptian cities.
4- Mubarak-Kohl Project
In the framework of the Mubarak-Kohl Initiative of October 1991, the German Government emphasized the willingness to assist the Egyptian Government in its efforts to restructure its technical education and training system towards a labor market-oriented one, by introducing a cooperative (dual) system of technical education and vocational training. The project partners cooperated in introducing a “Dual System of Training” in Alexandria, beginning with training occupations of mechanics, electronics and ready made garments. Partners in this project are the Egyptian Ministry of Education, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Alexandria Business Association (ABA).
ABA’s role in this project is having the RUDS office (Regional Unit for Dual System) located in its premises which covers the entire city of Alexandria. This office is responsible for looking after students affairs in the factories, marketing the program and several other tasks. The program was able through the past three years to provide over 300 training opportunities to the students enrolled in the Moubarak Kohl school in ABA Members’ factories and companies. Through the training provided the students are able to acquire certain skills that resulted in creating a new level of highly skilled labour very much in demand for. Presently the program covers the following sectors: mechanics, electronics, ready made garments, logistics, office administration.
5- Global Learning and Observation to Serve the Environment Project (GLOBE)
GLOBE is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program. This program provides the opportunity for students to learn by taking scientifically valid measurements in the fields of atmosphere, hydrology, soils and land cover depending upon their local curricula; reporting their data through the Internet to the student data archive; creating maps and graphs on the free interactive Web site to analyze data sets; collaborating with scientists and other GLOBE students around the world.
(For more information on this program please visit: www.globe.govAlexandria Business Association was one of the first Associations that experimented this program in one of Alexandria Secondary schools where the association covered all the costs related to buying computers, printers and preparing computer labs for the students in this school. Nabaweya Moussa school is considered a model to be followed by other schools seeking to implement the Globe program.
6- School Desks Project
From the perspective of the social responsibilities of businessmen and social development required; the Alexandria Business Association has succeeded through its members to reach a balance between the economical role of Businessmen and their participation in developing their own community, where they practice their businesses.The Alexandria business Association and its active role in the city of Alexandria has managed through the collaboration between its Community Service & Foreign Affairs committees in finalizing a contract with the Embassy of Japan in Cairo and obtained a grant of approximately two hundred thousand Egyptian pounds to provide primary public schools in Alexandria with required school desks. The Community Service committee has executed the necessary procedures with the Ministry of Education in Alexandria to provide all primary public schools with the required desks specifically those schools with no financial resources in the outskirts of the city of Alexandria. The total number of desks needed are approximately 12530 desks, for the primary sector.
The first phase of the project includes providing primary public schools with 2300 desks and the rest will be provided after signing the second phase of the above mentioned agreement will provide 3900 desks.
7- Feeding the Poor Project
This project started in September 1999 where the “ Zaka and Charity committee” disburses dry family meals to the poor listed in the social solidarity division where they cover all areas of Alexandria starting from Amreya to Abu Qir.
Members of the Charity Committee distribute those meals under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The total meals distributed on monthly basis are 800 meals, twice a week every Sunday and Wednesday.
8- Towards Self-Employment Project
In March 2000, ABA started through the Zaka and Charity Committee “Towards Self Employment Project”. The project targets the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of the society by providing a grant of 200 Egyptian Pounds disbursed on two equal installments. This project is based on the belief that development must begin with people’s own ideas, and aims at building their skills and utilizing their unemployed time for production approach. This project is executed on a volunteer basis through the Small and Micro Enterprise Program SME.
9- Orphans Sponsorship Project
The project has been inaugurated during the month of May 2001.The Alexandria Business Association represented by its Zaka & Charity Committee has undertaken and coordinated an agreement with El-Radwan Islamic welfare Association located in Sidi Bishr Alexandria to cooperate in the orphan’s sponsorship project. The social specialists of El-Radwan Association study orphans’ cases and report the numbers of orphans’ beneficiaries of such a sponsor. El-Radwan Association is sponsoring 113 orphan. The main purpose of this project is to achieve a specific social standard for this orphan by providing a monthly sponsorship fee in addition to other periodical incentives during feasts and special events. They also provide medical care until they successfully end their educational phase or obtain a certificate that can provide a sustainable living condition