Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat participated in the Palestinian-Jordanian Business Forum, last Tuesday, at the invitation of Prince El Hassan of Jordan.
Participants at the forum discussed the significant challenges the Middle East is currently facing due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and how the region can find methods of recovery.
The virtual meeting was attended by over 100 participants, including leaders and representatives from the region’s private sector and academic community.
In her speech, Minister Al-Mashat highlighted that the dramatic effects of the pandemic have pushed policymakers, civil society and citizens to search for innovative solutions. This has accelerated the implementation of structural reforms on digital transformation and the formalisation of the informal labour force. The pandemic has also ensured an increase in social safety nets, and placed greater emphasis on the women’s empowerment agenda.
With the ongoing challenges across the region, such as unemployment, inequality and increasing levels of poverty, the minister noted that multilateralism is the best choice for the Middle East’s recovery from the pandemic.
She labelled the years 2020/2021 as the years for “multilateralism”, to solve these challenges with consensus. This could be achieved through a political will and leadership that go beyond sectarian divisions.
“This is an opportunity for our region to come together and create a historical new collaboration that would act as a model for other countries, and ensure that there is an exchange of knowledge, experiences and expertise to ensure that no one is left behind,” the minister stated.
She also referred to the principles of stakeholder engagement, which call for public and private collaboration. It also calls on all stakeholders in society, whether leaders, civil society or the academic and scientific communities, to put the interests of the wider community, the environment and society first.
Minister Al-Mashat said that the coronavirus-instigated change calls for four paths of action, namely: accelerating inclusive economics and societies; shaping a new vision for economic integration through mutually supportive institutional mechanisms and regulatory environments; harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to connect the region’s digital economies; and finally promoting environmental stewardship through supporting innovative green projects.
She added that her ministry has been pushing forward on collaboration through economic diplomacy according to three key principles. These include referring to multi-stakeholder platforms to engage with development partners alongside creating the global partnerships narrative to push forward a shared vision.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation has been keen on strengthening multilateral engagement through the “Global Partnerships for Effective Development”. It is working on the initiative to effectively deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and push for a human-centred economy in Egypt.