Egypt will undertake concerted efforts to redefine social contact during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) period, through a greater focus on dialogue, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
In a statement, the minister added that this dialogue will take place between development partners, the private sector and civil society, and will address socio-economic inclusion and cohesion in terms of governance and reforms.
Minister Al-Mashat noted that strengthening multilateral relations is necessary for economic recovery.
Her ministry is working on this through the “Global Partnerships for Effective Development Cooperation” multi-stakeholder platform launched in April. The platform aims to strengthen dialogues and partnerships through regular interactive and participatory consultations with all development partners. It is expected to achieve results in line with the National Development Agenda 2030 and the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).
As the global pandemic has significantly impacted social contacts worldwide, the ministry has launched a new vision to improve trust and credibility in social settings. These will focus on three pillars, namely ‘People at the Core’, ‘Projects in Action’ and ‘Purpose as the Driver’.
Under the first pillar, Egypt is committed to improving the lives of citizens, by identifying existing gaps and providing assistance through public-private partnerships. These efforts are expected to push Egyptians towards realising their full potential.
Under the second pillar, Minister Al-Mashat highlighted that projects have been implemented across several sectors, including in education, transportation, water desalination, renewable energy, entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment.
Partnerships have been put in place as part of the third pillar, as key drivers to generate sustained and inclusive growth in a rapidly changing world, she added.
The minister referred to the extensive relations in place between Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is considered to be one of the country’s most prominent development partners.
The EBRD has provided significant support for Egypt’s development efforts and structural reforms that have been put in place to achieve sustainable growth. The bank has invested over €6.5bn in more than 116 projects across Egypt covering all economic sectors. The most important of these projects are in infrastructure, manufacturing, services, agriculture, banks and financial markets.
Minister Al-Mashat added that the current global conditions ensure a greater role for the private sector, which is not limited to providing solely job opportunities. She added that this sector can also work towards ensuring social inclusion, improving food security, preserving the environment, and most importantly, reducing poverty.
The minister stressed that investment in human capital and future generations is also a major part of the strategy of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s work. As part of this, the EBRD has launched a youth employment programme providing vocational training, capacity building and employment opportunities. The programme was set up, in cooperation with the Swedish Technical Academy in Cairo, to enhance skills.
In July, the Ministry of International Cooperation launched the Gender Gap Accelerator, the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East and Africa, in cooperation with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW).
The initiative provides a platform for collaboration between the government, the private sector and civil society, as well as Egypt’s various development partners. It will coordinate efforts and mobilise support and financing to up-scale efforts in ensuring greater gender equality in Egypt.
Minister Al-Mashat noted that, in 2015, the EBRD launched the “Women in Business” programme in Egypt, to support the achievement of a more inclusive and sustainable society.
Earlier this year, the EBRD awarded Egypt the Sustainability Award 2020 for gender and inclusion.