Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said has said that the state prioritises sustainable financing and strives to align public investment with the principles of green economy.
El-Said also said that the Cabinet has recently approved a guide on environmental sustainability standards, whilst also launching its first green bond, which is also the first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The bond will be used to finance projects covering: clean transportation; water and waste management; and renewable energy.
El-Said’s remarks came in a statement, on Wednesday, during her participation in a hypothetical symposium under the auspices of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The symposium was held in partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
El-Said said that IFPRI has been very active and supportive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and pointed to her ministry’s cooperation with the institute to produce two research notes this year.
The minister also confirmed the two parties’ successful use of analytical and modelling capabilities, alongside issuing two policy notes analysing the impacts of the crisis on Egypt’s growth rate at the macro and sectoral levels.
She added that the Egyptian state aims to benefit from this research to enhance the country’s recovery following the coronavirus crisis. This will take place by analysing the data for the Egyptian economy’s strategic sectors, and which will take centre stage in the coming period.
This data covers priority sectors such as: communication and information technology (CIT); manufacturing; and health.
El-Said said that 2020 has been an exceptional year, providing a number of lessons to policymakers. This includes taking a proactive and rapid response to the crisis, which is crucial for recovery.
This is in addition to several other vital aspects, including: transparency; decisive leadership; effective communication; solidarity; and accountability. Additionally to this, digital economy is also of significance, alongside increasing Egypt’s production capacity, independence, and social security. This will ensure the country’s ability to produce basic commodities.
With regard to the digital economy, El-Said said that the world has realised the importance of digitisation over the past year from a dual perspective. Employing digitisation methods and technology can enhance preparedness for an effective response in a timely manner to the outbreak of a disease.
This has been a key element in effectively dealing with the coronavirus crisis. As a result, the government is accelerating its efforts towards developing CIT capabilities, to improve its preparedness for the second wave of the virus, and any unexpected shocks of a similar nature.
She added that the pandemic ensured that everyone has rearranged their priorities, which has led to an increased focus on specific sectors and activities such as: education; health; information technology; agriculture; industry and green economy.
At the same time, the minister noted that the Egyptian state continues to invest in developing infrastructure due to the crucial role it plays in enhancing competitiveness and economic dynamism.
The government focuses on localising industries manufacturing major products, such as pharmaceuticals. This has taken place through further expansions in building industrial zones, and supporting the development of supply chains.
El-Said said that the main pillars of Egypt’s structural reform programme include: diversifying the Egyptian economy’s production structure; strengthening the role of the private sector; and enhancing the flexibility and effectiveness of the labour market through advanced technical education and training.
She noted that the structural reform programme will help the Egyptian state encourage inclusive growth and create new job opportunities.
The programme will also boost the diversification and development of production patterns, whilst improving Egypt’s business climate and the localisation of industry. This will come in addition to enhancing the competitiveness of Egyptian exports in order to achieve comprehensive and sustainable economic development.