UAE’s 20by2020 Initiative Lights Up Remote Community in Egypt
September 20, 2020, 8:18 am
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 17 September 2020 – The Zayed Sustainability Prize has announced that solar-powered lighting solutions developed by one of its previous winners have been installed in the Egyptian village of Habisha, in the Asyut Governorate – as the latest deployment from the UAE-driven humanitarian initiative, 20by2020. With an aim to improve standards of living and create a host of new prospects for residents of the community, more than 50 high-performance energy-efficient LED lights have been fixed on the main street of the village— which are expected to benefit over 3,500 people daily.
The deployment in Egypt was organised by 20by2020, a UAE humanitarian initiative led by the Zayed Sustainability Prize in partnership with Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mubadala Petroleum, the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, Masdar and Majid Al Futtaim.
The new solar lights which were developed by Sunna Design, a France-based SME that won the Zayed Sustainability Prize in 2018 under the ‘Energy category’, are expected to positively impact the residents in various ways; allowing them to work, socialise and feel secure after dark – while protecting the progress being made in the global fight against climate change.
Commenting on the installation in Egypt, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “Our strong and distinguished relationship with Egypt is built on the firm foundations laid by the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed, which continues to grow and prosper in line with the UAE leadership’s directives to achieve the mutual interests of our two close countries and people. This latest deployment is part of the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s efforts to further complement the late Sheikh Zayed’s enduring humanitarian legacy as the initiative contributes to the transformation of lives in Habisha village through a solar lighting solution which will bring long-term economic, social and educational benefits.”
H.E. Al Jaber added: “We are fortunate to have such strong support from our partners, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mubadala Petroleum, Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, Masdar and Majid Al Futtaim, with whom we share Sheikh Zayed’s humanitarian vision, and we value the cooperation of Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy in implementing this initiative.”
The lights were installed on the main street in the heart of the village, which has houses on both sides, and serves as the only entry and exit route for the whole community. Essential shops in the area, such as the local supermarket, have already begun reaping the commercial benefits of greater illumination. The new lights allow longer opening hours with customers who frequent them now able to enjoy greater personal security after dark. Furthermore, children now can feel safe when travelling home in the evenings, allowing the youth to use the time to study later, leading to longer term educational benefits. Similarly, with no playground in the village, the children can now entertain themselves and each other in the street, which is significantly less dangerous thanks to the sustainable lighting. The social benefits are also true of adults in the village with more time for community interactions, made possible by the lights.
H.E Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy stated: “The 20by2020 initiative in the Asyut Governorate supports Egypt’s strategy of deploying cost-efficient renewable energy sources that take environmental protection into account while supporting villages and cities’ electrification needs, in both urban areas and remote communities of the country.”
H.E Dr. Shaker added, “I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the 20by2020 initiative, its strategic partners and the UAE’s leadership, as we believe that such efforts further complement our close relationship and Egypt’s robust plans to optimise services and effectively reach all segments of society through value-added sustainable solutions that make a difference in people’s quality of life.”
At the end of Ramadan, the 20by2020 initiative completed a similar installation outside of Prince Hamzah Hospital in Amman, Jordan— for the benefit of the hospital’s healthcare workers and frontline staff who were treating the largest number of COVID-19 patients in the country.
As part of the initiative’s first phase, a total of five deployments have been rolled out to date, including energy, health and food-related solutions in Jordan, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda. 20by2020 also plans to deploy solutions to another 15 countries, with the scheduling dependent on individual country-specific conditions in light of the global pandemic. Upcoming technology deployments include water and energy-related projects in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Costa Rica.