The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) organized a meeting with Mrs. Nabila Makram the Minister of immigration and the Affairs of Egyptians Abroad on June 2 2016, as a rich forum to exchange ideas. The Minister began the meeting by presenting the priorities of the Ministry's work and the challenges ahead. The attendees then made contributions including comments and suggestions based on their experience in working abroad and therefore their direct contact with issues that relate to the work of the Ministry.
The Minister presented several important points. She declared the return of the Ministry of Immigration and the Affairs of Egyptians abroad separately from the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration (formerly), which she said, proves how the Egyptian state supports the Egyptian citizen living in Egypt or abroad.
She pointed to the most important challenges the Ministry faces which many relate to the divisions and chronic differences between the Egyptian communities abroad and the desire of their children to work solo rather than work in groups. She also talked about the launch of the dollar certificates, which are national investment certificates with the objective of achieving Egyptian interests abroad and supporting the national economy.
She added that one of the most important challenges is the lack of an institute to count the number of Egyptians living abroad. Therefore, the minister requested the Ministry of Manpower to create a database to keep track of the Egyptians living abroad in order to help in counting their number.
She also underlined the exceptional opportunities to benefit from the expertise of Egyptians abroad in order to develop Egypt's economy and technology. Additionally, she spoke about Egyptian communities in Africa and the keenness of the ministry to resume communication with them and its people by all means.
After Minister Nabila Makram's detailed presentation, council members began presenting their contributions, which consisted of a number of ideas and proposals including: the necessity of organizing a public diplomacy file. There was also a contribution concerning linking Egyptian scholars overseas to Egyptian institutions and the importance of initiating mechanisms to maintain constant communication with them. Hence, Egyptian scholars abroad can offer contributions based on full knowledge of Egypt's needs and its potential capabilities in this regard.
The issue of illegal immigration was also raised as it is widespread in most parts of the republic, especially in Upper Egypt. An important contribution was a reference to the population of Egyptians abroad valued at 2.7 million immigrants and nearly 630 thousand of which voted in the House of Representatives election. It was critical to record data of Egyptians overseas with the Department of Immigration. The issues raised and dialogues initiated in the meeting were varied and rendered this particular meeting one of the most important meetings the council has organized this year.