The Egyptian Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, in its meeting on Wednesday 19 January, approved a bill to amend some of the provisions of the “Law Governing Civil Society Organizations in Egypt" no. 149 of 2019 to extend the deadline for reconciling the status of CSOs for another year starting from the date of expiry of the period contained in Article-2 of the NGO Law January 11, 2022, to expire on January 11, 2023, which coincides with the Egyptian President announcement that the year 2022 is the Egyptian Civil Society Year.
Civil society in Egypt is witnessing a remarkable space openness with unprecedented support under the leadership of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, that is reflected his trust in the capacity of civil society to contribute to achieving sustainable and equitable development in Egypt, and that was revealed in his decision to issue the Law no. 149/2019 and its executive regulations issued in January 2021, and in the promotion of civil, social and economic rights in the National Human Rights Strategy launched in September 2021.
The Minister of Social Solidarity, Nivine El-Kabbag, praised the approval of the Cabinet, mentioning that this reflects the responsiveness of the government and the recognition of the state for the eminent role played by civil society in Egypt, and its eagerness to provide all means of support to it, while availing the necessary measures to reconcile its conditions, ease its operations and enabling envirnment, to enhance its efficiency, and to emphasize its achievements attained in all governorates in Egypt.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity declared that up to 32,000 civil society organizations have completed the electronic registration procedures to regularize their status, with almost 28,000 full-documented applications, and stated that extending the period for reconciling the status of NGOs will give more opportunities for the registration of the current civil society organizations with a large constituency of young people that would eventually participate in achieving “decent life" for all citizens in Egypt.
It is worth mentioning that that all international organizations operating in Egypt have finalized the reconciliation process of their status, which confirms the confidence of these organizations in the increase of civic space and freedom of civil work in Egypt as it was stipulated in the Law, in addition to their urge to increase, widen and diversify their partnerships with the Egyptian civil society organizations.
The aim of the extending the period of reconciling the status of NGOs is to provide an additional period of time for all NGOs in Egypt to register and reconcile their situation, especially that Covid-19 precautionary measures adopted by the state have prevented some NGOs from holding General Assembly meetings to approve the executive regulations, as part of the registration procedures, in addition that electronic portal that was lately developed might require a longer time for some organizations to comprehend all the procedures that must be fulfilled.
Egypt is the fourth country in the world to provide electronic registration services to Civil Society organizations. Three thousand new organizations are currently completing their files on the system to obtain their electronic declaration according to the notification as stipulated in the constitution.