CAIRO - 24 May 2022: Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania A. Al-Mashat held various bilateral meetings with government representatives, international institutions, and the private sector, during her participation in the 2022 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The meetings were held on strengthening economic cooperation and increasing partnerships to support the global 2030 goals, as well as in preparations for COP27.
Meetings With Government Representatives
Al-Mashat met with the Federal Councillor for Economic Affairs, Education and Research in Switzerland, Guy Parmelin, on strengthening economic relations between Egypt and Switzerland, which extend for over 40 years, with a total development cooperation portfolio of more than CHF700 million covering approximately 200 projects. This includes rural development, water and health.
The Minister applauded the joint relations with Switzerland, which enhanced the role of civil society in development, and joint work with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and other Swiss institutions that support in strengthening relations. Al-Mashat pointed out the importance of enhancing cooperation with the private sector and SMEs in Egypt, and in the health, food and infrastructure sectors.
During the meeting, they discussed areas of cooperation and proposed projects within the framework of the 2021 - 2024 Egypt-Switzerland Cooperation Program, which was launched last November, covering different fields including: renewable energy and technical support for railway projects, and education.
The meeting also looked into Hayah Karima, the Presidential Initiative for “A Decent Life” and the opportunities for cooperation. They also discussed Egypt’s preparations ahead of COP27, and the need to enhance private sector participation in adaptation and mitigation projects to address the repercussions of climate change.
In the context of strengthening cooperation within the African Continent, Al-Mashat met with Congo’s Minister for International Cooperation, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso. They discussed areas of cooperation between the two countries, and coordinated efforts regarding preparations for Egypt’s presidency of COP27, which is of great importance to Africa in terms of advancing the green transformation through mitigation and adaptation, while also public-private partnerships in the region. Al-Mashat also discussed the upcoming Egypt - International Cooperation Forum.
Al-Mashat also met with Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. They discussed potential opportunities for cooperation and the support that Singapore can contribute in the framework of Egypt's COP27 presidency.
Al-Mashat affirmed Egypt's keenness to strengthen its relations with Singapore and to increase private sector investments between both countries. The Minister explained that Egypt had implemented an economic and structural reform program in 2016, and is moving forward with continuous reforms in the current period to address challenges in economic growth, while also maintaining comprehensive and sustainable growth. The country is committed to enhancing private sector participation, opening the door to investment opportunities, in different sectors.
Moreover, Al-Mashat met with Nayef Mubarak Al-Hajraf, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council on Egyptian-Gulf relations, and on joint economic trade and investment opportunities. During the meeting, Al-Hajraf expressed confidence in the Egyptian economy, and keenness to explore areas and opportunities for future cooperation on all levels.
The Private Sector & International Institutions
In the context of enhancing private sector participation, Al-Mashat met with Brad Smith, Microsoft’s President and Vice Chair. During the meeting, the Minister shared the Government of Egypt’s efforts in digital transformation and in achieving sustainable development, also stressing the importance of the fourth industrial revolution in embracing modern technologies as a major component of the national agenda. Al-Mashat explained that the Ministry of International Cooperation cooperates with multilateral and bilateral development partners, and coordinates with national entities, to support the aforementioned efforts through development financing and technical support.
For his part, Smith also noted the importance of the Egyptian market in the global company, and Microsoft’s keenness to enhance cooperation with the country in its digital transformation.
Additionally, the Minister met with the CEO of Majid Al Futtaim, Alain Bejjani on private sector engagement, along with the policies and partnerships needed to implement an enhanced public-private dialogue. Bejjani confirmed his keenness to enhance investments in the Egyptian market, a key regional market and location for the Al-Futtaim Group.
The minister also met with Ann Mettler, the Vice President of Breakthrough Energy, founded in 2015 by Bill Gates and several investors to support global efforts in the green transformation, reduce emissions, and support public-private partnerships in sustainable development. In the meeting, Al-Mashat shared the great progress made by Egypt in the past few years, in expanding renewable energy projects and in stimulating the participation of the private sector, noting examples of projects in solar and wind energy.
During the meeting, they also discussed opportunities with the foundation on cooperation in the green transformation, as well as in strengthening public-private partnerships, in line with the Government of Egypt’s encouragement to utilize blended and innovative financing.
Also on the subject of green, Al-Mashat discussed clean energy solutions powering a sustainable future with the CEO of Hitachi Energy, Claudio Facchin. The Minister also noted Egypt’s structural reforms implemented by the state in energy, while also contributing to increasing private sector participation in development.
More on the importance of the private sector, Al-Mashat met with the Co-Executive Director of Mission Possible Partnership, Anthony Hobley, an international organization that is focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting climate action. The meeting looked into the role of public-private partnerships in advancing climate action and in implementing international commitments for the green transformation; moving from pledges to tangible action.
Additionally, Al-Mashat sat with one of the most prominent economists and former President of the World Bank Group (WBG), Joseph Stiglitz. She shared Egypt’s development efforts, and economic and structural reforms, curbing the impact of successive global crises, and ongoing discussions with multilateral and bilateral development partners to push for innovative financing mechanisms to meet the global goals.
Furthermore, in a meeting with Gargee Ghosh, the President of Global Policy and Advocacy of the Gates Foundation, a non-profit organization working to support development efforts and to localize innovation and modern technologies, Al-Mashat discussed cooperation opportunities ahead of COP27. The minister also noted the need to strengthen technical cooperation to enhance adaptation and mitigation efforts on climate change.
During the meeting, the Minister stressed that supporting climate action, utilizing innovative climate solutions to reduce harmful emissions, and providing financing opportunities, requires joint efforts with all relevant parties, including non-profit institutions, which play a vital role within the framework of partnerships; including governments, the private sector and development partners.
Ghosh also stressed the Gates Foundation’s keenness to enhance cooperation frameworks with Egypt, as well as with African countries, in line with the green transformation efforts and in support of sustainable development.
Discussing cooperation with Africa, Al-Mashat and President of the Growing Africa's Agriculture (AGRAAlliance) Agnes Kalibata looked into strengthening international efforts and mobilizing efforts towards the green transformation in Africa; one of the most impacted regions, emphasizing the need for cooperation and financing adaptation projects.
The AGRAAlliance in Africa is mobilizing efforts to support agricultural communities in the continent and to meet the needs of environmental conservation, aiming to maintain environmental sustainability, increase productivity, enhance the growth of the African agricultural market, stimulate comprehensive transformation in the continent, and enhance food security efforts by working with partners in and outside of the continent; strengthening policies and technology system, and building capacities.
Al-Mashat is participating in the 2022 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, under the title “History at a Turning Point: Government Policies & Business Strategies” until Thursday. Being physically held for the first time since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, this event witnesses the participation of over 2,500 leaders, decision-makers, and international institutions. The forum’s activities cover eight main themes: climate and nature, fairer economies, tech and innovation, jobs and skills, better business, health and healthcare, global cooperation, and society and equity.