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Steel group incorporates ‘socially responsible capitalism’

Article - May 10, 2016

Egyptian Steel is one of Egypt’s most active companies in corporate social responsibility, having supported programmes such as the Special Olympics team and improving living standards in poor villages in Upper Egypt

AHMED ABOU HASHIMA, CHAIRMAN OF EGYTIAN STEEL

Egyptian Steel prides itself in bringing the same innovation and passion to its business as it does to its philanthropic work.

The company leads the way in corporate social responsibility (CSR) supporting programs like the Special Olympics and revitalising impoverished rural neighborhoods. The company was recently recognized for its efforts when it won the Silver Stevie Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year. Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Abou Hashima makes it a point to incorporate philanthropic activity into his business objectives, calling it “socially responsible capitalism.”

“In my book the business world does not just resolve around materialistic gains,” he says. “It is our duty to improve people’s lives and to lessen their suffering as much as we can.”

It is a formidable challenge in a country where an estimated 60 per cent of the population lives in poverty. By redirecting money the company would have spent on TV advertising, Egyptian Steel set out to improve living conditions for thousands of Egyptians in some of the country’s poorest villages.

Several government officials joined Mr Abou Hashima recently to inaugurate Al Sheikh Fadl’s village in Bani Mazar, Al Menya Governorate, which thanks to Egyptian Steel received a major facelift. The development project involved the top-to-bottom renovation of 50 homes including painting, installing doors, windows, modern plumbing, and electricity.

The company also contributed furnishings, 50 heads of cattle to poor families, 1,500 pieces of clothing and 15 prosthetic devices to people with special needs. To help support a revenue stream for villagers, Egyptian Steel helped finance 10 micro-enterprise projects.

Under this project the company will invest up to 60 million Egyptian Pounds ($7.9 million) in revamping 20 villages, with five villages already completed.

In Egypt where dowry marriages are still widely practiced, the company provided subsidies to 15 people set to wed, a sign that Egyptian Steel embraces family culture as well as corporate culture.

In an effort to improve the lives of all Egyptians, the company undertook the sponsorship of the “New Egypt” campaign. Advertising included billboards and promotional events in New York, Berlin and Davos, Switzerland.

The marketing campaign aimed at improving Egypt’s image abroad hopes to attract much needed foreign investment, which will help create jobs for Egypt’s youth.

“It is very flattering that our CSR efforts got noticeable recognition on a local and international level,” says Mr Abou Hashima. “But what keeps me motivated is the happiness I saw on the villagers’ faces when they moved into their reconstructed homes that for the first time have ceilings, windows, clean tap water and electricity.”

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