Thu, 08 Jul 2021 - 06:12 GMT
CAIRO-8 July 2021: Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania A. Al-Mashat met with the members of the Saudi Grant Committee, which provides $200 million designated to the financing of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), headed by Hassan Al-Attas, the head of the committee from the Saudi side, and Abdullah Ali Alzahrani, representative of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
The meeting addressed ways to support the extended strategic cooperation relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia at all levels, in light of the compatibility in visions between the two countries regarding the development agendas.
The Government of Egypt’s initiatives to support sectoral and financial development despite the COVID-19 pandemic were discussed, alongside the committee’s support of the efforts made by the Central Bank of Egypt and the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) in easing the financing conditions on the current partners of intermediary financial institutions and beneficiaries. This comes in light of the aftereffects of the pandemic, in order to facilitate the access to financing sources for the different beneficiaries.
Al-Mashat said that any future projects with the Saudi Grant Committee will be implemented within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s Global Partnerships Narrative focusing on “People at the Core” through “Projects in Action” with “Purpose as the Driver”, to shed light on development cooperation aimed at achieving sustainable development across all sectors.
In the same context, Al-Mashat stressed the Government of Egypt’s commitment to cooperation with the SFD in implementing new development projects via soft financing, similar to the King Salman program for the development of the Sinai Peninsula, which is considered a key model for regional cooperation that is worth $1.5 billion and included the establishment of the King Salman International University (KSIU), the development of residential communities, enhancement of roads, and establishment of desalination and water treatment plants.
The Minister explained that the economic cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia covers a variety of mechanisms, including the agreed-on grant worth $200 million and the $1.9 billion ongoing development cooperation portfolio with the SFD.
Al-Attas expressed that the Saudi Arabia’s grant has funded 2,500 projects across 27 Governorates; these projects have contributed to creating more than 12,000 job opportunities and played a major role in progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); namely transportation, renewable energy, agriculture, and industry.
He also pointed out that there is compatibility across Egypt and Saudi Arabia’s vision, especially with regards to entrepreneurship, innovation, job creation, and information technology across all sectors. Al-Attas noted that Saudi Arabia's investment in Egypt has reached $30 billion across 6,000 companies that support development efforts carried out by the Government of Egypt.
The Grant Management Committee is chaired by Mrs. Ghadeer Hegazi, Assistant to the Minister for the Arab Funds and the head of the committee from the Egyptian side; and Mr. Hassan Al-Attas, the head of the committee from the Saudi side. The Saudi Arabia’s grant, allocated to supporting Egypt’s MSMEs force and managed through the joint committee that includes the aforementioned parties, is one of the most prominent forms of cooperation between the two countries. The grant plays a vital role in bridging the financing gap between financial intermediaries and MSMEs, as small businesses play a crucial role supporting the country’s economic growth.