Problem: While making-up only a quarter of Egypt population (19 million), 90 per cent of unemployed in Egypt are under the age of 30, with youth unemployment at an unprecedented high of 31.3 per cent of the active youth population
Solution: A social development initiative and online match-making platform that connects the young unemployed or students with businesses seeking short to mid-term services
Goals and objectives: Enhance the skills and professional experiences of Egyptian youth, create new freelancing opportunities, foster small and medium enterprises, and connect freelancers with employers on a national scale through an online platform
Implementation: The Middle Eastern and Northern African region is still going through a period of a dire economic situation and Egypt’s youth is one of the most dramatically affected groups of the population, disregarding all levels of education. Egypt is still having one of the strongest population growths in the Middle Eastern and North African region. Until 2050, the population will grow from current estimates of 85 million to 120 million. At the same time, more than 60 % of Egypt’s population is in working age. This means that every year an additional 250.000 young Egyptians flood into the job market.
In practice, the average Egyptian graduate needs to wait for up to 5 years before he can secure permanent employment. Many youths forego valuable practical experiences in their trained field of work, while the gathering of such is crucial for the shaping of a confident and competent professional character.
FreelanceME is a social development public, private partnership between UNDP, Microsoft Egypt’s and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth which responds to the endemic youth unemployment of Egypt . This initiative responds to needs identified by the private sector for reliable skilled talents that small and medium businesses can use and provides an online platform which aims to develop Egyptian youth skills and experience, create new freelancing opportunities, foster small and medium enterprises, and connect freelancers with employers across Egypt.
The development started with market research with Egyptian university student focus groups to understand their interests and knowledge of freelancing. FreelanceME then convened an employer roundtable discussion on the challenges in hiring, freelancing needs, pricing of freelancing projects and hiring outlets.
Microsoft Egypt and UNDP also launched Egypt’s first freelancing summit which brought together 200 youth and the freelance community in Egypt to raise the awareness of Egyptian youth on the benefits of freelancing, inspire and empower them to develop their knowledge skills including in marketing, management, sales and communication, and to provide guidance on how to commence their freelancing career.
A FreelanceME Academy was also launched with three tracks in ICT, Multimedia and Writing & Translation with over 350 aspiring Egyptian youth and featured prominent professionals in the three fields that introduced youth to freelancing as an alternative employment model for youth. Lastly, the FreelanceME training initiative, with two areas of Basic IT and Computer Sciences, aims to provide disadvantage Egyptian youth with a competitive edge to gain employment and create awareness about being a digital Citizen.
Achievements: Over 4339 young persons have been trained in Basic IT centers located in 24 governorates, and an additional 1312 youth were trained in computer science education through workshops across 9 governorates.
Contact details: Ghada Khalifa, Microsoft Citizenship Programme Lead in Egypt
Address: Kilo 28, Cairo/Alex Desert Road, Abou Rawash Cairo, Egypt