Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved two international cooperation agreements with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
The two agreements are worth a total of $53m, and will be used to support Egypt’s emergency response to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
The House of Representatives has approved Presidential Decision No 452 of 2020, regarding a loan agreement between Egypt and the IBRD, the World Bank Group’s lending arm. The agreement, signed on 5 March and worth a total of $50m, will fund the country’s emergency response to combat the coronavirus.
The parliament also approved Presidential Decision No 427 of 2020, regarding a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Egypt and AFESD. The MoU will provide aid worth KD 1m (equivalent to $3.2m), and will contribute to supporting the fight against the pandemic.
Minister Al-Mashat clarified that the IBRD agreement will be used to fund several different public health pathways. The primary goal is to enhance the government’s emergency response capacity to combat the pandemic, providing medical equipment for quarantine rooms and treatment centres used for patients with the coronavirus.
The aid will also be used to train medical personnel and mobilise rapid response teams to track and trace contact with confirmed coronavirus cases.
The IBRD aid will also be directed at developing content and tools to improve public awareness of prevention, as well as innovative monitoring and evaluation of social distancing strategies.
The minister pointed out that the MoU signed with AFESD aims to contribute towards the urgent needs of supporting efforts to combat the coronavirus and limit its spread. This will also be used to cover the costs of meeting basic medical equipment, medicines, and means of monitoring to limit the virus’ spread, all of which help ensure protect citizens.
Minister Al-Mashat stressed the importance of these agreements in achieving Goal 3 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that works towards ensuring good health and wellbeing. This comes in addition to achieving Goal 17, focusing on forming partnerships to achieve the goals.
She noted her ministry’s persistent efforts to push for a human-centred economy as part of the cooperation between development partners, to win international assistance for projects that are in line with Egypt’s National Development Agenda 2030.
The minister said that the coronavirus has highlighted the urgent need for international cooperation and coordination to overcome the crisis. It has also stressed the need for countries receiving the right support to achieve the 17 UN SDGs, as no country is be able to overcome the current crisis on its own.
Minister Al-Mashat concluded that these two agreements come as part of the “Global Partnerships for Effective Development Cooperation” multi-stakeholder platform launched in April 2020. The platform aims to strengthen partnerships, whilst harmonising all development interventions to maximise impact and work towards ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change.