Minister of International Cooperation Rania A. Al-Mashat Meets With World Bank’s Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj to Discuss Joint Strategic Relations
CAIRO - 3 February 2022: The Minister of International Cooperation and the Governor of Egypt at the World Bank Group (WBG), Rania A. Al-Mashat, held a virtual meeting with the WBG’s Vice President of the Middle East and North Africa Ferid Belhaj, alongside the presence of the Dean of the Board of Executive Directors at the WBG, Merza Hasan; the Director of Strategy and Operations in the Office of the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa in the WBG, Stefan G. Koeberle; the WBG’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, Marina Wes; the Alternate Executive Director for Egypt and Arab Countries at the WBG, Ragui El-Etreby; and representatives from the Ministry of International Cooperation’s team.
The meeting addressed several important aspects in terms of the joint cooperation between Egypt and the WBG, such as preparing the Country Partnership Framework (CPF), future project across sectors, including in transportation, alongside consultations in preparation for the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for Egypt, and the outcomes of development cooperation in 2021, which include the $360 million Development Policy Finance Framework, as well as discussions on the role of international partnerships in the Presidential Initiative “Hayah Karima” (Decent Life).
During the meeting, Al-Mashat reviewed the results of the Ministry’s 2021 Annual Report “Engaging for Impact Towards Our Common Future”, documenting the results of international partnerships and secured development financing, amounting to $10.2 billion including, $1.56 billion for the private sector and $8.7 billion for the state sectors. The report also includes success stories in development including projects done in collaboration with the WBG, such as Takaful and Karama, the Egypt Household Natural Gas Connection Project, the Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS), transportation, as well as a section on Egypt’s progress in adaptation and mitigation addressing urgent climate action.
The Minister added that the Development Policy Finance Framework focused on structural reform was signed with the WBG at a value of $360 million and with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at a value of $360 million, to support structural reforms implemented by the Government of Egypt, reflecting confidence in the reforms currently being implemented. The state is undertaking and committed to reform, reflected in many projects with the WBG, including upcoming ones, that encompass the financial sector, green finance, and transport sector, which is one of the country’s vital sectors for creating a sustainable infrastructure.
The discussions also looked into the Presidential Initiative Hayah Karima (Decent Life) for rural development in Egypt, and the importance of strengthening cooperation with development partners in technical support and expertise exchange to achieve integration with the government’s effort within the scope of the aforementioned initiative. In this regard, Al-Mashat also stressed the state’s keenness to accelerate development in rural Egypt by improving the standard of living through infrastructure projects and investment in human capital. The Minister shared that the 2021 Annual Report includes a film documenting the Hayah Karima initiative in English to inform all development partners of the efforts being made in rural Egypt.
Al-Mashat also emphasized the importance of development the upcoming Country Partnership Framework (CPF) being prepared with the WBG, which details the framework for cooperation with the bank for the next 5 years in a manner that reflects national priorities and efforts to achieve sustainable development; supporting the transition towards a green economy and enhancing private sector participation in development efforts. The Minister also looked into the consultations between the WBG and relevant authorities in Egypt to prepare the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR).
With respect to Egypt’s preparations to host the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by the end of the year, the WBG expresses its keenness to contribute to COP27 through national, regional, and international efforts in climate action.
For his part, the World Bank’s VP for the MENA, Ferid Belhaj congratulated the Ministry on releasing its 2021 Annual Report, noting that it documents a strong message regarding Egypt’s progress to achieving development through tangible, on-ground projects.
Belhaj added that the WBG is keen on supporting development efforts in Egypt, especially in the transportation sector, which is one of the key areas that has witnessed rapid development, alongside a significant boom in infrastructure, adding that the WBG has witnessed positive experiences in cooperation with the transport sector. He also pointed out that the Development Policy Finance Framework approved by the WBG last year to support structural reforms implemented by the country, enhance Egypt’s development efforts, promote a green transformation and increase private sector engagement in development.
Referring to the Presidential Initiative launched by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Belhaj explained that the Hayah Karima initiative paved the way for a massive transformation, adding that the efforts made within the initiative’s scope are immensely significant to the country’s development. He also emphasized the bank’s commitment to cooperating and contributing to the Hayah Karima initiative to support rural development in Egypt.
It is worth noting that Egypt’s development cooperation portfolio with the WBG amounts to $5.5 billion to finance 15 projects across sectors including, transportation, education, housing, health, social protection, petroleum, sanitation, local development, and the environment. Moreover, in 2021, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) directed $421 million in support of the private sector in Egypt.