The cooperation portfolio between Egypt and South Korea has reached about $458m, according to a press statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation.
Of this amount, $390m has been provided in the form of loans, with a further $68m provided as non-refundable grants in several sectors, the most important being transportation.
On Saturday, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met with Hong Yin Wook, the new South Korean Ambassador in Cairo, to discuss future areas of cooperation between Egypt and South Korea. Also present at the meeting were Kun Yongmin, Adviser on Economic Affairs at the Korean Embassy, and Oh Yoon Keum, Director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOIKA)
Minister Al-Mashat expressed her aspirations for deeper levels of cooperation between the two countries, particularly in regards to economic relations. She praised the South Korean government’s role in supporting its Egyptian counterpart in confronting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, through grants and shipments of medical and protective equipment supplies.
She added that her ministry seeks to strengthen cooperation through the principles of economic diplomacy. These principles include regularly organising multi-stakeholder platforms, to ensure that all projects are streamlined and effectively coordinated.
It will also see the adoption of a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative, focusing on People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P), whilst apping ODA financing to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are being applied to all projects.
Placing education as the cornerstone of both countries’ cooperation file, Minister Al-Mashat touched on the importance of expanding technological universities. This comes particularly in light of the growing importance of technology for businesses and for ensuring a skilled labour force in the future. She highlighted technology’s potential in providing greater economic empowerment among more Egyptian women.
Minister Al-Mashat added that there has been a greater focus on strengthening cooperation regarding women’s empowerment, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. She referred to initiatives such as the Gender Gap Accelerator, which was launched in July by the Ministry of International Cooperation in cooperation with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW). The initiative was set up to act as a public and private collaboration platform between the government, and the private and public sectors.
She highlighted that Egypt was also the first country to issue a Women Policy Tracker on COVID-19 policy responses, and how they address women’s situation during the pandemic.
The minister highlighted ongoing projects, such as the establishment of the Beni Suef Technological University which has been funded by a grant of $5.8 m provided by KOIKA.
She added that the university is considered a model for cooperation on education, which looks to provide youth with knowledge and skills that meet future market demands, and to attract investment to develop the local economy.
For his part, Ambassador Hong expressed his deep interest in developing stronger cooperation with the Egyptian government. He said that the South Korean government is keen to transfer the needed expertise and technical knowledge to ensure that quality education is being provided.