CAIRO – 8 April 2021: Coronavirus crisis has negatively affected the United Nations sustainable development goals, which are closely related to human rights, especially the right to development, Minister of Planning Hala el-Said Thursday.
El-Said added during Human Rights Conference… "Building a Post-Pandemic World" that the global economy witnessed contraction of 3.9% during 2020 due to the repercussion of COVID-19, El-Said stated, noting that the global economy lost around $5.8 trillion during the crisis year.
“Repercussions of COVID-19 on global economy included the decline of the number of international tourists by 74%, the drop of global trade by 9%, 42% loss of FDI, and 114 million jobs are missed,” El-Said said.
The minister pointed out that COVID-19 has caused developing countries to suffer a $1 trillion financing gap in public expenditures on the repercussions of the crisis compared to expenses of developed countries.
“Financing needed by developing countries to be on right track to achieve UN sustainable development goals declined by 1.7 trillion,” El-Said said. “As a result, Human Development Index for the developing countries dipped for the first time in 2020 since 1990.”
According to the minister, United Nations Development Program stated that 86% of primary students in developing countries will not receive proper education, which proves the importance of fill the digital gap. Moreover, International Labour Organization estimated that 1 of every 6 persons have lost his job since the spread of COVID-19.
“Egypt is one the first countries of the world that has put a national agenda to achieve the UN goals,” El-Said said.
She noted that Egypt’s agenda/vision included the National program for economic and social reforms, which started in November 2019 implementing social, economic and institutional reforms.
Within reforms program, Egypt adjusted financial and monetary policy, restructuring sectors such as: energy, liberalizing of currency, and improving investment climate, in addition to intensifying investments in infrastructure projects, in the aim of improving investing competitiveness of Egyptian economy, according to the minister.
She added that the reforms also aim at restoring investor confidence and stimulating inclusive private sector-led growth.
“Egypt worked on intensifying public investments during the last 7 years, to hit a total of LE 2.7 trillion ($175 billion), with an average annual growth of 27%,” El-Said
The minister added that Egypt’s investments in human developments, education and health recorded LE 220 billion ($15 billion), marking an increase of 39% annually.
These investments included initiatives such as Haya Karima (Decent Life), Markeb Al-Naga) Survival boats (to reduce illegal migration, and 100 Million healthy lives campaign.
“Egypt’s public investments to develop infrastructure in the transport sectors, drinking water and sanitation, and electricity services hiked 27 percent annually to reach LE 1.7 trillion ($106.6 billion),” El-Said said.
Regarding women empowerment, the minister stated that Egypt achieved unprecedented levels of female representation in the Egyptian parliament, reaching 28% and 13% in the Senate.
El-Said referred that Egypt scored its highest point in the pensions and equal income index by 100% and in the entrepreneurship and work environment index for women by 75%.
In the context of women's economic representation, the percentage of females reached 50.7% of the total number of workers in the state's policies, El-Said said.
In 2019/2020, Egypt’s growth rate hit 5.6%, the unemployment rate dipped to less than 8%, and average of inflation rate lessened to less than 5 percent, in addition to the coverage of foreign reserves to 8.5 months of imports, due to economic reforms, according to the minister.
She clarified that Egypt is one among few countries that recorded positive growth rate during the pandemic, representing 3.6%, adding that poverty rate in Egypt has declined for the first time since 1999.
Moreover, the unemployment dipped to 7.2% during the second quarter of 2021.
The minister noted that the measures taken by Egypt to confront the Corona crisis included 3 axes: Support and protection of the most affected groups, support the affected sectors, and revitalizing the economy by increasing incomes and investment in priority sectors.
As for the National Project to develop Egypt’s countryside, the state launched its second phase in February 2021.
The minister clarified that the National Project to develop Egypt’s countryside extends over 3 years (2019-2022), targeting 4,670 towns where half of the Egyptians live, at a total cost exceeds LE 600B ($39B), with the aim to covert the countryside to a sustainable one.
“The first phase of the National Project to develop Egypt’s countryside, which kicked off in Jan. 2019, targeted 375 towns with investments of LE 15.5B,” El-Said stated.
The results of the first phase of the National Project to develop Egypt’s countryside included the decline of the poverty rates in these towns by 14%, and the improvement of the quality of provided services by 50%, according to El-Said.