Sun, 10 Oct 2021 - 01:55 GMT
The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan - REUTERS
CAIRO – 10 October 2021: Minister of International Cooperation, Rania A. Al-Mashat, launched the national consultations with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to prepare the new Country Strategy 2022-2026, within the framework of the series of discussions the Ministry of International Cooperation holds in coordination with relevant national entities in order to update the cooperation strategies with development partners for the upcoming five years.
This took place with the participation of the AfDB’s Executive Director for Egypt and Djibouti, Ahmed Zayed; the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Deputy Regional Director for North Africa and Country Manager for Egypt, Malinne Blomberg; and officials from the Ministry of International Cooperation.
This is in addition to the presence of over 17 ministries and governmental entities, such as the Ministries of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, Transportation, Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Water Resources and Irrigation, Planning, Tourism, Communications and Information Technology, and Higher Education, as well as the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) and the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone).
This comes within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s role in coordinating, developing and solidifying economic strategic relations between Egypt and its multilateral and bilateral development partners; advancing Egypt’s Vision 2030 and supporting the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Al-Mashat emphasized the importance of launching strategic negotiations, where all stakeholders participate to prepare an ambitious strategy that reflects the Government of Egypt’s priorities and Egypt Action Programme Plan. The strategy also promotes private sector’s engagement in development and aligns with the UN’s SDGs.
The Minister further elaborated that the Ministry of International Cooperation simultaneously holds consultations to develop the next five-year strategy with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, and the United Nations. These consultations seek to achieve integration and consistency between the future strategies with multilateral development partners, so as to enhance the impact of such partnerships that push forward the national development agenda.
Minister Al-Mashat further mentioned that the new Country Strategy with the AfDB aims to underscore the importance of strengthening development cooperation projects; supporting Egypt Action Programme Plan, to enhance the business environment; develop economic infrastructure that aims to achieve industrial and technological development; develop skills to enhance private sector’s engagement; create job opportunities; scale up water use and efficiency; as well as to develop and modernize the agricultural sector to respond to food security requirements; advancing the green transformation to satisfy the rapid population growth in Egypt.
She noted that the new strategy comes as a continuation of the 2015-2021 strategy between Egypt and the AfDB, Al-Mashat stated that it has contributed to developing infrastructure, supporting sustainable and inclusive growth, enhancing transparency, governance and private sector’s participation. H.E. pointed out that the new strategy that is in progress, aligns with the AfDB’s high five priorities, to Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.
The Minister of International Cooperation thanked the AfDB’s team in Egypt, led by the bank’s Deputy Regional Director for North Africa and Country Manager for Egypt, Malinne Blomberg, and thanked the Ministry of International Cooperation’s team on their efforts to constantly coordinate to implement development projects agreements and to harmonize between relevant stakeholders in that respect.
Al-Mashat also stated that Egypt is one of the founding members of the AfDB; adding that the current cooperation portfolio with the African Development bank, amounts to $6.7 billion allocated to financing 107 projects across sectors of economic and social development, of which $1.1 billion were directed to finance the private sector.
The Minister affirmed that the projects carried out in cooperation with the AfDB, come within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s vision to put “People at the Core” for “Projects in Action” with “Purpose as the Driver”.
Al-Mashat referred to the Government of Egypt’s keenness on enhancing joint cooperation with the African Development Bank, in order to support the national efforts and to achieve regional integration between African countries. The Minister highlighted the private sector’s role in pushing forward Africa’s development, due to its experience in implementing major national projects in Egypt.
“I welcome the consultations on the new Country Strategy Paper between Egypt and the African Development Bank. Both partners have demonstrated an exemplary alignment on national and regional issues. With the Bank's recent commitment to allocate 15% of its lending to regional integration as part of its General Capital Increase, I see this quite opportune for intensified private sector engagement, given the estimated $100 billion annual gap in Africa's infrastructure financing” said Ahmed Zayed, the Bank’s Executive Director for Egypt and Djibouti.
Furthermore, Zayed congratulated H.E. Al-Mashat on launching the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (ICF): “Engaging for Impact” last September, which witnessed high-level international and regional participation. He also applauded the full and final recommendations in the forum’s Cairo Communiqué, adding that the AfDB works on addressing these recommendations in the upcoming period.
For her part, Bloomberg presented the frameworks for development cooperation between Egypt and the AfDB, and what it has achieved in the 2021-2015 Country Strategy; pinpointing the ongoing coordination with the national stakeholders through the Ministry of International Cooperation to lay out the new strategy’s priorities.
Bloomberg also praised the efforts made in implementing the 2015-2021 strategy of cooperation; applauding the strong performance of the Egyptian economy which resulted from the reform programs. She further noted that this was reflected in the high annual growth rates during the strategy period, which contributed to controlling inflation rates, and reducing national debt. Commending Egypt’s efforts for sustainable investments in supporting economic infrastructure, Bloomberg noted that this laudable progress plays a prominent role in improving and developing the business environment.
Al-Mashat has met with Solomon Quaynor, Vice President of the African Development Bank for the Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, as part of the Egypt-ICF’s activities, where they delved into joint cooperation across various sectors, including vaccines’ manufacturing and exporting them to African countries. They also discussed the current projects, and preparations of the 2022/2026 joint strategy.
Through its panels and workshops, the Egypt-ICF addressed several issues that align with Africa’s 2063 agenda; supporting integration and regional action, such as the workshops titled “Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): Prospects and Challenges of Digital Trade for Private Sector”; “Food Security and Employment in the Digital Age in Africa”; and “Triangular Cooperation with Africa”.
The ongoing portfolio of cooperation between Egypt and the African Development Bank amounts to $364.6 million, allocated to financing 15 projects across sectors of water and sanitation, entrepreneurship, renewable energy, industrial waste management, and supporting the capabilities of parliament workers and developing slums.
In 2021, the Ministry of International Cooperation signed a development financing agreement with the AfDB worth EUR 109 million, to develop sanitation services in the Luxor Governorate; supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities. This is in addition to another development financing agreement worth EUR 145 million directed to develop efficiency and safety of Egypt’s railways, benefiting the Ministry of Transportation.