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Invest in Egypt’s Courageous Youth

By Susan U. Raymond on February 11, 2011One Comment

Egypt is my second home.  I have walked Tahrir and its streets so many times as a student and then as a professional. I know every building I have seen on television. So many memories of so many friends, some of whom I think are probably in the square right now.  There is so much to say.  So much emotion.  I am so proud of those young people.  I am in awe of their courage.

But the big job is ahead.  And it is one word.  Jobs.

CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 01:  A youth with an E...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

What can philanthropy do?  What can foundations do?  Work with private enterprise to create jobs.  Work with Egyptian companies to create jobs.  Work with international companies to create jobs.  Work with entrepreneurs to create jobs.  Work with small business, tamaya stands, falafel stands, anyone, anywhere, anything.  Jobs, jobs, jobs.  Unleash the productivity of these young people.  Help them create enterprises.  Open up markets.  Get them capital.  Don’t make grants.  Create and invest capital in their ideas in their energies.  Get them capital to create enterprises and jobs.

And be sure that the process ALSO brings forward leadership from within Egypt.  Bring social investing and impact investing and venture philanthropy to and for Egypt’s own philanthropists, its own wealth, its own private leaders.  These young people do not want to be treated as recipients of largess.  They want to lead; encourage leaders from within Egypt’s own wealth, business, and philanthropy to move with energy and purpose onto the Egyptian venture philanthropy stage.

This outpouring was across Egyptian society.  Make sure that the capital flows across Egyptian society.  Rural and urban, especially the young adults.  Bring in social capital, impact investing, venture philanthropy.  Forget the gifts and donations.  They do not want gifts.  They EARNED the opportunity to invest in themselves and their dreams and their prosperity.  Get the capital side of prosperity moving.

And then turn around and replicate the effort throughout the region, throughout Africa and throughout Asia where the very same generation of young people, the very same energy and yearning to be free, resides in every young heart.

Susan U. Raymond, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of Changing Our World, Inc., an international philanthropic consulting firm. Dr. Raymond was a project officer at the World Bank and a senior consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development and to various private organizations including the Carnegie Corporation, specializing in healthcare and international economic research. She has worked on philanthropy and economic development projects throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, as well as in Russia and Asia.

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