Tue, 13 Jul 2021 - 03:03 GMT
Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat - Press Photo
CAIRO - 13 July 2021: The Minister of International Cooperation Rania A. Al-Mashat took part in the Economic Research Forum’s (ERF) 27th Annual Conference on "SDGs and External Shocks in the MENA Region: From Resilience to Change in the Wake of COVID-19" in an interview moderated by the Chief Economist of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Erik Berglof.
The discussion looked into “The Future of ODA-Challenges and Opportunities", and tackled several areas including the necessity of international development financing in pushing progress forward, and towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and national priorities.
Al-Mashat expressed that while the COVID-19 pandemic has led to both social and economic repercussions, it has also emphasized beyond recognition that international cooperation is needed to break through global problems, and to accelerate development goals. In early 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation launched its 3 principles of Economic Diplomacy; hosting Multi-stakeholder Platforms to bring the stakeholders at one decision-making table to streamline efforts, mapping the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the 17 UN SDGs, and the Global Partnerships Narrative that creates a common language by putting People at the Core, through Projects in Action, with Purpose as the Driver.
As the Minister explained that ODA is a source of international development financing, development partners that provide ODA help countries, including Egypt, implement projects that are designed to be in line with the national priorities. These projects may cover all sectors of the economy; such as transportation, energy and gender.
“The SDGs have provided a common denominator for those who benefit and for those who provide the financing; all with the goal of fulfilling national objectives while adding to the global good,” said Al-Mashat.
Mapping the SDGs to development financing has enabled Egypt to track progress of projects, and recognize priority areas. By the end of 2020, 98% of all the development projects in the portfolio were on track. The process of mapping allows for identifying financing gaps, and creates more guided resource-mobilization efforts.
Al-Mashat expressed that when countries approach organizations for development financing in the international community, this means that the government is committed to international standards of governance and transparency. At the Ministry of International Cooperation, good governance and transparency are brought to light and emphasized through Economic Diplomacy which, through the three aforementioned principles, promotes two-way communication and includes all stakeholders to capitalize on successes, learn from pitfalls and harness the power of group interaction.
“Even in the pandemic, the Government of Egypt’s development projects did not stop, and there was complementarity across development partners in ensuring these projects continue,” said Al-Mashat.
A key element brought into the conversation was that of green financing and green recovery. Egypt’s renewable energy flagship project, the Benban Solar Power complex employs over 4,000 people. The Project is the world's largest solar installation, which attests to Egypt’s commitment to clean sustainable energy while shedding light on the power of public-private partnership, as 32 companies from 12 countries participated in its implementation.
The flagship development projects are highlighted during the Ministry’s Multi-stakeholder Platforms in order to showcase the green reform action put forth by the support of the international community to both the public and private sectors in Egypt, the Minister explained.
Transportation is another key sector that was discussed, as it is rapidly developing in terms of technological advancement, inclusivity and accessibility across the country. “The transportation sector, developed by the government, now includes the knowledge and expertise of the private sector. The dry ports in the 6th of October and the 10th of Ramadan cities are a testament of the technological advancement needed in boosting the transport field,” said Al-Mashat.
Cooperation with the private sector is crucial for both knowledge-sharing and capacity support, and in turn, allows for the creation of job and digitalization opportunities.
According to the Ministry of International Cooperation’s 2020 Annual Report, $3.19 billion worth of development financing was secured through direct financing to private sector companies as well credit lines to commercial banks for the financing of Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).