Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has held a virtual meeting with Spain’s Minister of Trade Xiana Méndez Bértolo to discuss joint cooperation and future projects.
The discussions on joint cooperation between Egypt and Spain focused on the status of the current projects portfolio and the possibility of future partnerships.
During the meeting, the two ministers reviewed the possibility of launching an innovative mechanism for enhancing economic cooperation to promote economic growth and raise employment rates in both countries.
The two sides also tackled the projects to be implemented as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) allocating €300m to strengthen financial cooperation between Egypt and Spain.
The two ministers additionally discussed the status of the ongoing projects carried out as part of the joint cooperation between Egypt and Spain.
The portfolio encompasses several projects, including: a cultural project that aims to develop and preserve Luxor’s archaeological sites; a further project supporting Egypt’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing credit lines; and an infrastructure development project focusing on the inauguration of sewage treatment plants in Giza, Assiut, and Aswan.
Minister Al-Mashat emphasised the importance of reflecting international cooperation and development financing between both countries, on the national priorities and exerted efforts to achieve Egypt’s Vision 2030. The vision is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The minister praised the Egyptian-Spanish relations in the field of international cooperation, which accordingly impacts the achievement of several development projects in Egypt.
For her part, Spain’s Minister of Trade applauded the Egyptian economy’s positive growth during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She also reviewed the wide horizons of future projects during 2021, expressing that this positive growth goes back to the financial and monetary structural reforms implemented before 2020.
Bértolo noted the major development projects Egypt has implemented across vital sectors, such as renewable energy, water, and sanitation, as well as infrastructure.
The minister affirmed the interest expressed by Spanish companies’ in expanding and investing in Egypt, as it is their top leading destination in Africa.
She also expressed the Spanish Government’s keenness in supporting these companies, pointing out that Egypt is one of the most important foreign investment markets for Spanish companies. This especially relates to the transportation, infrastructure, solar energy, and water treatment sectors.
The history of cooperation between Egypt and Spain dates back to the 1990s, as two cooperation protocols were signed. The first cooperation agreement was signed on 10 February 1998, where Spain provided €225m of development financing to Egypt. The second agreement was signed in 2008, via a MoU worth €250m.
The portfolio of cooperation between both countries since 2012, amounts to €190m covering various sectors such as water treatment, energy, housing, and SMEs.
The cooperation framework covers as well the offering of grants by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) to develop the health and tourism sectors.
Both countries’ development agendas also focus on instilling empowering and inclusive communities for women and youth, as well as a transparent and just development ecosystem via Egypt’s National Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.