Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has announced that her ministry will focus, in 2021, on enhancing green financing tools, and ensuring the presence of the private sector in Africa.
Minister Al-Mashat has also reviewed her ministry’s priorities with multilateral and bilateral development partners during the current year, with development projects related to infrastructure to remain a priority.
The minister’s remarks came during an interview with Forbes Middle East, in which she said the moves come as part of state-led efforts developing basic infrastructure, particularly in transportation, water, sanitation, and energy.
The Minister said that, as part of this, efforts will be made to strengthen the role of Egypt’s private sector in Africa, as well as increasing its use of green financing. It takes into consideration the moves by many multilateral financing institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which are headed in that direction.
She said that this is key when it comes to climate and environmental issues. It also comes in addition to development financing related to social solidarity and the Universal Health Insurance plan.
Minister Al-Mashat said that Egypt was able to secure $9.8bn for development financing in 2020, having strengthened its relationship with multilateral and bilateral development partners. This amount was allocated to various sectors, among them is the private sector, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The minister highlighted the success of Egypt’s home-grown economic reform programme, implemented from 2016 to 2019, which came alongside distinguished work between the country and its development partners. In addition to the thorough follow-up of project implementation, the country has gained added value easing its access to development funds.
She said that the international context for development cooperation during 2020 was challenging. However, despite the significant increase in the demand for development funds and the 8% decrease in available financing, Egypt was able to secure development funds worth $9.8bn from its partners..
It is worth noting that developing countries and countries in economic transition were the most affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This was due to their witnessing an increase in the financing gap for the implementation of development projects.
The past year was exceptional, all round, due to the health, social and economic repercussions of the pandemic. However, the lockdown that forced the world to engage in virtual life did not prevent plans to strengthen development cooperation between countries and financial institutions.
Minister Al-Mashat added that the Ministry of International Cooperation is responsible for Economic Diplomacy. Through this, the ministry seeks to develop and strengthen economic cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners, and to strengthen international partnerships to achieve sustainable development.
Economic diplomacy is based on three principles: multi-stakeholder platforms for development partners to engage in open discussions; the mapping of the Official Development Assistance to the Sustainable Development Goals (ODA SDG Mapping) to track the progress of development projects; and the Global Partnerships Narrative that puts “People at the Core”, “Projects in Actions”, and “Purpose as the Driver”.
Across all the UN’s SDGs, there are a total of about 377 projects all amounting to $25.662bn. This consistent approach to ODA SADG mapping contributes to a stronger narrative overall as there are only nine years remaining before 2030.