Fri, 09 Apr 2021 - 03:36 GMT
Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat- Press photo
CAIRO – 9 APRIL 2021:Taking part in the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Spring 2021 meetings “Human Capital Ministerial Conclave: Investing in Human Capital for a Green Resilient and Inclusive Recovery” on April 5, Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, addressed the steps Egypt has taken to progress and push its recovery forward.
Entering its third year, the Human Capital Project includes over 80 countries working to invest in human capital for a “green, resilient, and inclusive recovery.” In this particular virtual webinar, panelists discussed the impact of the pandemic on widening inequality, the necessity of social protection systems for resilient recovery, and the transition towards green economies and sustainability.
The event included the President of the WBG, David Malpass giving the opening remarks and the WBG Managing Director of Operations, Axel van Trotsenburg for the closing remarks. The webinar’s discussion on recovery included several ministers across countries alongside Al-Mashat: Bhutan’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Lyonpo Namgay Tshering; Guyana’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Ashni Singh; India’s Chairman for the 15th Finance Commission, Hon. N.K. Singh; Ireland’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Paschal Donohoe; Madagascar’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Richard J. Randriamandrato; Malaysia’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz; Morocco’s Minister of the Interior, H.E. Abdelouafi Laftit; Philippines’ Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, Hon. Karl Chua; Togo’s Prime Minister, H.E. Victoire Sidémého Tomégah Dogbé; Turkey’s Minister of Treasury, H.E. Lűtfi Elvan; and Uzbekistan’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Timur Ishmetov.
Egypt is reforming and developing despite the obstacles that the pandemic has brought upon the world. With ensuring a resilient recovery that is centered around building back better, addressing the widened gender gap issues that rose during the pandemic. Egypt was the first country to provide a women-specific response during COVID-19 launched by the National Council For Women (NCW). The country scored 1st place in the Middle East and West Asia regions with 21 policy measures according to the UNDP COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker.
Al-Mashat expressed that the country has taken significant steps in closing inequality gaps in several ways, such as the social safety net project - Takaful and Karama. The Minister explained that this conditional and unconditional cash transfer program is among Egypt’s largest investments in human capital development, as it supports vulnerable families.
The Government of Egypt has as well ensured economic empowerment to women, through with the project of Kemama. Kemama is a community based initiative that is developed in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and El Nidaa Foundation to engage Egyptian women from Upper Egypt, to produce medical face masks. All while providing jobs for women during these trying times, Kemama managed to produce over 3,000 masks daily.
Furthermore, the Ministry of International Cooperation and the NCW launched a 10-pillar Action Plan for implementing the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator” in collaboration with the private sector, and in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF). The pillars cover a wide array of fields where development is necessary to ensure women’s inclusion by implementing: empowering work regulations, leadership mentorship and protocols, educational reskilling and preparation, digitalization of businesses, and social inclusion measures and policies. The Action Plan highlights Egypt’s continued commitment to applying needed policies and structural reforms to push the gender agenda and empower women, explained Al-Mashat.
Education is a key element in eliminating disparities and in raising generations ready for leadership. The most imminent gap that rose exponentially during the time of the pandemic is the digital gap. Closing the Digital Gap is a global obstacle, and education is the key to solving the digital challenge. Enhancing the educational systems is a necessity in order to prepare generations apt and well-equipped to build a digital savvy and technologically advanced future.
Egypt’s “Education 2.0” is focused on the digital future, and on preparing students for the tech-based jobs of the future. The new educational system supports the hybrid teaching strategy by providing servers, screens and tablets to 25,000 public schools; changing the assessment model for high school and other levels of education in the future; and uploading the curricula from kindergarten through to Grade 12 to a digital library online that is freely accessible.
Al-Mashat said that the current global transition to digital has a multiplier effect on job creation, leading to the delivery of a circular economy in the future, especially through the development of a solid, sustainable and inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem. As education is centered around digital literacy, the current workforce in Egypt is being reskilled to adapt to the changes in order to fit in the new work opportunities that will surface in the coming years.
“Egypt is increasingly becoming the region’s entrepreneurial hub for its majority of young population, who are agile, adaptive, talented and innovative,” said Al-Mashat. Through public-private sector dialogue and partnerships, there is a heavy emphasis on the rising Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). The Minister expressed that small businesses drive the economy in many ways by opening job opportunities, and by bringing innovative leadership and solutions to the table.
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