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The health concerns of undernutrition are evident. But a study conducted by the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) and the UN World Food Program (WFP), the African Union Commission, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has highlighted the economic consequences of the condition. The study incorporated data from 2009 provided by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAD), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education in Egypt to delve into the less obvious penalties of child undernutrition.

The results of the study were published in a report titled “The Cost of Hunger in Africa: the Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Egypt”. The report concluded that Egypt has lost an estimated 20.3 billion pounds in 2009, or $3.7 billion, as a result of child undernutrition.

Stunting, a condition of slowed or stopped growth in height, and chronic malnutrition were found to be the primary drivers behind Egypt’s undernutrition-based economic losses. Stunting occurs when children are not supplied the necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals from conception through age five. The condition affects 40 percent of Egypt’s population. Stunted individuals are prone to poor adult health, impaired academic performance, and premature death.

The costs are incurred as a result of mounting healthcare expenses and burdens placed on the education and labor systems. In rural Egypt, where the majority of people work manual labor, it is estimated that the decreased productivity caused by the lowered physical ability of adults who had been stunted as children resulted in a $10.7 billion loss in 2009. Healthcare costs equaled $1.2 billion in economic productivity lost.

31% of Egypt’s population is under the age of 15, which places the necessity for adequate child nutrition at a top priority; to thrive tomorrow, Egypt needs to address these threats today by achieving food security. Without discovering ways to prevent child undernutrition, the costs Egypt incurs could increase 32% by 2025. The IDSC plans to disclose the study’s findings and recommendations to decision-makers in an effort to reverse this downward trend.

Egypt is not the first country to conduct the Cost of Hunger in Africa study. Uganda has already carried out their own study, and the 10 more countries following suit will be Botswana, CameroonBurkina Faso, Malawi, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Swaziland.

Dana Johnson

Sources: Bloomberg, WFP
Photo: Blogsome

Defining an Emerging Market
The term “emerging markets” was coined in 1981 at the International Finance Corporation when promoting the first mutual funding investments in developing countries. While the term is sometimes considered unhelpful, it is important to identify and define these markets. Emerging markets are a hot topic as they are predicted to surpass the US, German, and UK economies in the future.

There are three factors that distinguish an emerging market from a developed market. Firstly, rapid economic growth defines emerging markets. Great examples of emerging markets are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS). In recent decades, these developing countries have boosted their large economies based on global capital, technology, and talent. The GDP growth rates of these countries have outpaced those of more developed economies, lifting millions out of poverty and creating new middle classes and large new markets for consumer products and services. The large labor pools of these countries give their economies a huge advantage over more developed economies.

The second factor that defines the emergence of a developing economy is how much competition it offers in comparison to developed markets. Along with the rapid pace of development, these countries pose serious competition to current dominant economies in developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy.

Lastly, emerging markets are often defined in terms of their financial situation and infrastructure. While their rapid growth and competitiveness are positive growth indicators, the amount of red-tape and inconsistencies involved in dealing with these markets marks them as emerging. Unfortunately, some argue that the corruption in these markets will halt them all together despite other growth factors.

While the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China are well on their way to surpassing “emergence”, the predicted emerging economies of the future are Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa (CIVETs). According to John Bowler, director of Country Risk Service at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the sizeable populations of some of these countries and the wealth of natural resources in others, just might make them the economic boomers of the next decade.

– Kira Maixner

Source CNN , Forbes
Photo ACF

A Bacteria Makes Mosquitoes Resistant to Malaria
More than two years ago, social media helped Egyptian activists organize massive street protests that lead to the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s reign. With billions of people logging onto Facebook, Twitter and Youtube everyday, it is no wonder that social media has become a celebrated and useful fixture in the voice of the people. However, as quickly as revolutions are sparked, third-party antagonists and governments are sure to falsify what is posted on these sites in an attempt to silence people of opposition. In Egypt, sites that seemed beneficial at the start of the revolution have transformed into venues used to spark violence, hate and oppression revealing the dark side of social media used in social revolutions.

During the Tahrir Square uprising in early 2011, networking websites, like Twitter and Facebook, allowed anti-regime activists to organize mass rallies while providing platforms to articulate political demands. Today, those sites allow a rampant slew of messages focused on provoking anger, hatred and in some cases unsubstantiated rumor. Since the revolution, provocative photos or videos appeared on social media venues which, after eliciting angry reactions, were later proved entirely false or highly exaggerated.

The anonymity of the cyber world is partly to blame for the abuse of social media worldwide and begs the question of validity regarding how effective social media is when used in a full blown revolution. A prominent Egyptian political analyst, Ammar Ali Hassan, notes that one of the main downsides of online social media is the ability of anonymous parties to create fake websites or social media accounts and to issue statements on behalf of political figures or groups that are in fact false. Another explanation of the unbridled use of social media comes from Adel Abdel-Saddiq, social media expert at the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. Abdel-Saddiq believes that a significant problem is the lack of legal oversight of social media platforms in Egypt, where “laws against libel and slander only apply to traditional media – i.e., television, radio and newspapers – but not to the Internet.”

– Kira Maixner

Photo: Policy Mic

Egypt and USAID Welcome New Educators
Congratulations are in order for the graduates of The Technology for Improved Learning Outcomes (TILO) program. These 234 graduates are a distinguished group of educators in the Greater Cairo area who are work to improve education and technology in classrooms. USAID and a few other private companies provide funding for TILO.

TILO offers training on new teaching methods, like how to incorporate technology and digital resources into lessons and ways to encourage their students to think actively and critically. Lisa Franchett, director of educational activities for the TILO program, is very confident in the positive impact TILO is having on young students. She explains, “The program has really helped improve the level of education in the schools. One of the important things happening in Egypt at the moment is the improvement in early grade reading because a few years ago we took a sample from early grade students, grades 4 and 5 they couldn’t read at all.”

The program continues to gain momentum. So far, over 255,000 students, 21,000 teachers, 192 elementary schools, 58 experimental language schools, and 127 preparatory schools have participated in TILO. This program may spread to places other than Egypt. Yemen officials have observed Egyptian classrooms in hopes of improving the reading skills of their own young students.

Egyptian colleges are also interested in employing some methods used by the program. Since TILO has been so successful for young students, universities would like to see their instructors incorporate more technology in their classrooms. TILO is scheduled to continue until late 2013 and the Egyptian government is eager to see even greater improvements up until then.

– Mary Penn

Source: Daily News Egypt