Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said said that the country’s development experience over the last six years has gotten through many political, economic and social changes and challenges.
There have also been growing regional challenges, against which Egypt has set a serious plan to overcome them and achieve comprehensive development. In this context, Egypt’s Vision 2030 has come to represent the version of the national goals to achieve sustainable development.
El-Said’s remarks were delivered on her behalf by Dr Ahmed Kamali, Deputy Minister of Planning, during a speech delivered as part of the “Sustainability Day” celebrations. The events were held on Tuesday by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.
They come as part of the strategy localising the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and achieving Egypt’s Vision 2030, which coincides with the UN’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
During the speech, El-Said said that Egypt was keen to ensure that this vision is consistent with the three international development dimensions, namely: the economic dimension; the social dimension; and the environmental dimension. This vision also represents the general framework for organising the interim work plans and programmes during the coming years.
The minister also said that the Egyptian state should be preparing, formulating, and implementing this vision through a comprehensive community partnership. In addition to the government, this includes the private sector, civil society, and all development partners, with special attention given to encouraging the participation of both youth and women.
El-Said added that the “Sustainability Day” celebration is a reflection of the Egyptian state’s priorities, with attention particularly on several issues imposed by the priorities. These include a localisation of the SDGs to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth and balanced regional development, as one of the main pillars of the vision Egypt 2030.
“The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development is working on several implementation projects to achieve this, in cooperation with development partners, by setting quantitative targets for each of the indicators of the SDGs at the national level and the governorate level,” El-Said said, “This will maximise the benefits across Egypt, and ensure direct investments as part of the state’s general plan are more efficient and effective, with a focus on governorates with development gaps.”
The minister also said that Egypt is seeking to create innovative mechanisms to finance the SDGs, most notably through: offering green bonds; maximising the benefit of Egypt’s sovereign fund and its sub-funds; and creating mechanisms to reduce debt burdens.
She noted that, during the current period, the Egyptian government attaches utmost importance to spreading the culture of “sustainable development”. This includes expanding on the integration of its economic, social, and environmental dimensions in the planning system. This aims to create an integrated planning system to transform the Egyptian economy into a green one.
El-Said referred to the launch of the Sustainable Development Ambassadors initiative, which aims to raise youth awareness of the SDGs and translate them into practice.
There has also recently been a new phase of fruitful cooperation launched between the Ministries of Planning and Economic Development, and the Environment, which has seen the setting up of the “guide to environmental sustainability standards in the sustainable development plan”.
This ensures that environmental sustainability is achieved in investment projects financed by the state budget. It focuses particularly on: expanding the production of new and renewable energy; expanding patterns of sustainable production; integrated waste management of all kinds; and strengthening the role of scientific research in the fields of sustainability.
During the speech, the tangible progress and many achievements in Egypt’s economic indicators were reviewed. These have most notably been in: reducing unemployment rates; improving the quality of infrastructure; energy availability; and increasing the private sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product.
El-Said said that the Egyptian government undertook economic measures to confront the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, in coordination and solidarity between the various state agencies.
These measures varied between financial and monetary policies to stimulate demand, including lowering the interest rate and providing loan guarantees to banks, as well as providing support, liquidity and credit, to alleviate the burdens on the affected sectors.
El-Said pointed to the great role of interventions in preserving the Egyptian economy in terms of its capabilities and gains. She said that indicators expect Egypt’s growth rate in fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 to reach 3.5%, remaining among the best growth rates in the world. Without government intervention, particularly during the global health crisis, it would have been expected to reach a growth rate of 1.9%.
The minister said that the Egyptian Government is looking to benefit from the promising sectors that are in line with the state’s development priorities. Taking into account the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, these sectors include health, education, agriculture, manufacturing, communications, information technology (IT), and digital transformation. She continued that the state is working to complete the second phase of the national programme for economic and social reform.