Egypt is looking to mitigate the effects of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on all sectors through cooperation with international organisations, said Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
The minister’s comments came during her participation in an online panel on the significance of international cooperation to fight the impact of the global pandemic on the agricultural sector and food security.
The panel was organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with the opening speech delivered by IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo. A total of 80 participants from 19 countries took part in the panel, a Tuesday statement from the ministry said.
Minister Al-Mashat emphasised that Egypt took early steps against the coronavirus outbreak as President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi allocated EGP 100bn towards a comprehensive plan to face the socio-economic implications.
The Ministry of Health and Population also took several measures to contain the virus outbreak. At the same time, the Central Bank of Egypt adopted parallel procedures, including decreasing interest rates by 3%, Minister Al-Mashat said. She noted that the crisis has driven structural reforms relating to social protection, informal labour, and financial inclusiveness.
She called on international organisations, such as the IFAD, to play an important role that is not just restricted to financing the fight against the coronavirus. They should also provide specialised technical support, noting the importance of alleviating debt burdens on middle income states, rather than just the poor.
A total of 14 cooperation projects worth $1.1bn have been set up between Egypt and IFAD, which have benefited 7 million people across the country.
During the virtual meeting, IFAD Chief Houngbo referred to the four main pillars to be addressed, including digitalisation in the agricultural field, rural financing, ensuring market access, and mitigating effects on the amplification of youth unemployment.
He indicated that IFAD has re-allocated funds for over 1,000 projects in 65 countries. He also said that it will be working with member states to provide the facilities and support to ensure farmers were provided with funds to face the economic implications of the pandemic.