Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met with French officials to push forward the 2019-2023 Strategic Partnership Agreement, worth a total of €1bn.
Present at the meeting with the minister were France’s Ambassador to Egypt, Stephan Rometet, Director of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Fabio Grazi, and Director of Business France Michel Olenberg.
The agreement aims to reflect the current and future priorities of Egypt’s development, looking at six priority sectors, including transport, energy, agriculture, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), health and antiquities.
Falling under the ministry’s new Global Partnerships Narrative, all projects will be defined according to the three PPPs: people at the core, projects in action and purpose as the driver. These have been put in place as part ofEgypt’s efforts in achieving the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Putting people at the core, the two countries emphasised the need for a human-centered economy that unlocks the potential of the Egyptian people, and directly meets their needs. The two sides added that all projects put investment in people as a key pillar in achieving sustainability.
These projects include the €50m rehabilitation of the Cairo Metro’s Line 1, the €250m plan to transform the Abu Qir railway into an electric metro, and developments of the Mansoura-Damietta railway worth €90m. The projects will help provide access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for Egyptians, as well as to finance priority sectors in the field of energy worth €150m, in addition to a grant of €1m.
The two sides discussed an agreement to support a comprehensive health insurance programme worth €150m, as well as a project to re-establish the French National University in Egypt worth €12m.
Additionally, the agreement will promote several projects, including providing technical expertise and the exchange of experience to support Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population in its efforts to develop social health insurance with funds of €1m.
It includes a cooperation project to support the teaching of French as a foreign language in public schools through a grant worth €1.5m.
The agreement also aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all through sanitation projects worth €155m in Helwan, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU).
The role of the Ministry of International Cooperation has been defined through the three principles of economic diplomacy, which include: regularly organising multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated; adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People & Projects & Purpose (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to the SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners.
For his part, Ambassador Rometet praised Egypt’s approach to cooperation to strengthen development partnerships, referring to the cooperation between the Egyptian government and its development partners during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The ambassador expressed France’s readiness to enhance cooperation in the health sector through exchanging experts and training programmes. He said that the AFD has reallocated about €15m to support the Ministry of Health in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Al-Mashat highlighted that all projects are mapped according to the SDGs. She added that these projects will achieve Goal 3 for good health and well-being, Goal 4 for quality education, Goal 7 for affordable and clean energy, Goal 8 for decent work, Goal 6 for clean water and sanitation, Goal 11 for sustainable cities and communities and Goal 17 for partnerships to achieve the development goals.
Egypt’s cooperation portfolio with the government of France since 1974 is worth €5.360bn, with the AFD providing about €1.6bn in loans and €12.6m in grants since 2016. This funding has been provided to various sectors including infrastructure, housing, energy, transportation, agriculture, SMEs, health, and antiquities.