Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation has succeeded in concluding agreements in 2020 worth $7.308bn for various priority sectors, Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat announced. Of this amount, a sum of $4.547bn has been put towards financing sovereign projects, and $2.761bn for financing the private sector.
The agreements come as part of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s efforts to strengthen economic relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners. These have been put in place to meet Egypt’s development financing needs, in accordance with the priorities of the National Agenda 2030 and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Minister Al-Mashat said that her ministry has been committed to charting the progress towards the SDGs as the world enters into a “decade of action and delivery”. This includes redesigning development finance to ensure dedication to sustainable development and to collectively achieve the National 2030 Agenda.
The ministry has developed a framework to strengthen economic diplomacy through three key principles: regularly organising multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated to accelerate the pace of development for the achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners.
To promote development projects monitoring and foster community engagement, the Ministry of International Cooperation conducted several field visits, covering a diverse range of projects that cross-cut through several SDGs.
In celebration of the UN’s 75th Anniversary, the ministry conducted a three–day visit to Upper Egypt, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, the World Food Programme (WFP), the US Embassy in Cairo, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
It included a number of development programmes targeting farmers, women and youth in the Luxor Governorate, which aim to support these social segments with climate-resilient water solutions, food security and provide job opportunities for youth.
GOAL 3: Good health and well-being
To dedicate development financing towards Goal 3 for good health and well-being, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry concluded agreements worth $477m.
In May 2020, the World Bank provided $50m in support of the COVID-19 Emergency Response under its Fast-Track Facility to strengthen the prevention, detection and response to the pandemic in Egypt.
The World Bank also allocated $400m to support Egypt’s transformational Universal Health Insurance System as part of the country’s move to achieve universal health coverage and improving citizen health outcomes.
The US Government through USAID, and Egypt’s Ministries of International Cooperation, and Social Solidarity, launched a $3.2m initiative to support the Egyptian Red Crescent’s (ERC) network of 30,000 volunteers and health care professionals. This would help them conduct community outreach and prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as build the ERC’s capacity to respond to future crises.
In October 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation and USAID signed seven agreements worth $112m in support of health, higher education, and scientific research. The US has also provided 250 ventilators to Egyptian hospitals to help in assisting COVID-19 patients.
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
In March 2020, the World Bank provided financing of $500m to support ongoing efforts on providing affordable formal housing for low-income segments in Egypt. The finance also seeks to strengthen the capacity of Egypt’s Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund to design policies and coordinate social housing programmes.
This year, the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided €1.783bn as part of an agreement worth €120m signed regarding the project “Development and Modernization of the Western Sewage Treatment Plant in Alexandria”. The agreement is in support of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities and the Executive Authority for Drinking Water and Sanitation.
This year also witnessed the signing of two agreements as part of the third phase of the Egyptian Italian debt swap programme for development. This includes an agreement for the Social Welfare development project in Luxor worth EGP 42m, implemented in partnership with the WFP, and aims to provide an integrated package of development to support the most vulnerable families in Luxor.
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Dedicated to building resilient infrastructure and promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation (Goal 9), the Ministry succeeded in concluding agreements worth $1342m in total.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided: $141.74m to the National Railways Egyptian Restructuring project; $111.249m for the rehabilitation of the Cairo Metro’s Line 2; $326.84m for the Egyptian National Railroad – Locomotive Renewal programme; and $1.06m for Renovating Locomotives and Railway Freight.
A cooperation agreement was also signed with the EIB on the feasibility study for the Cairo Metro’s Line 2 with a total amount of €1.2m.
In June 2020, agreements were signed with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), totalling €200m, to finance, develop and modernise Line 1 of the Cairo Metro.
GOAL 7: Affordable and clean energy; GOAL 13: Climate Action
To ensure access to affordable and modern energy for all, the Ministry has signed agreements worth $425m in total, as well as $200m for climate action.
In August 2020, the Egyptian Danish Energy Partnership Programme (2019-2022) agreement was signed with the Energy Agency of the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, to unlock Egypt’s green transformation, and invest in renewable energy.
In September 2020, the World Bank provided $200m to support Egypt’s initiatives to reduce air and climate pollution from critical sectors and to increase resilience to air pollution in Greater Cairo.
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
To achieve the targets of Goal 8 for decent work and economic growth, the Ministry succeeded in concluding agreements worth over $2700m dollars in support of the private sector through direct financing and financing for SMEs through commercial banks.
The EIB has provided €1.5bn to support Egypt’s banking sector, with finance provided through several national banks to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A total of €92m went to Banque du Caire; €800m went to Bank Al Ahly; and €750m Euros went to Banque Misr.
In November 2020, the “Egyptian German Center for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration” was launched, with a total budget of €2m. The centre aims to promote safe migration opportunities for Egyptian youth, and provide job opportunities to curb illegal migration. It also aims to help Egyptians abroad integrate into their new societies, by providing the necessary social and economic services.
The AFD provided €150,000 to support the creation of job opportunities for youth regarding training and starting up companies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
Egypt has signed international agreements worth $7m as part of this goal. An agreement was approved by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), providing a €200,000 grant to finance the “Creating job opportunities for women in Upper Egypt” project.
Two agreements were signed between Egypt and Canada to provide grants worth C$14m to support and empower women economically and socially. This will be carried out by improving the conducive business environment and promoting an entrepreneurial culture for Egyptian women.
GOAL 4: Quality Education
To promote Goal 4 for Quality Education, international agreements worth 200m dollars were concluded.
In July 2020, USAID and the Ministry of International Cooperation signed six bilateral assistance agreement amendments worth $90m. The six amendments will support programming in the areas of higher education, basic education, joint US-Egypt science and technology cooperation, health, trade and investment, and agriculture.