● Minister of Finance H.E. Dr. Mohamed Maait said, “the agreement with the Japanese side supports the state budget and is consistent with efforts to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” ● Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker, “international partnerships stimulate the transformation plan towards clean and sustainable energy.”
The agreement was signed at the Ministry of International Cooperation headquarters in the presence of Deputy Minister of Finance, Ahmed Kouchouk; First Under Secretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Ahmed Mohayna; the Japanese Ambassador in Cairo, Masaaki Nuki; the Director of JICA in Cairo, Mr. Yoshifumi Omura; and representatives from both of the aforementioned line ministries and Japan. This comes within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s efforts in securing funds from multilateral and bilateral development partners to support the government's action plan to combat COVID-19, to implement the National Development Agenda 2030 that is in line with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to finance the budget support program, and to develop reform policies for the electricity sector while promoting green growth and sustainable development, and mitigating the impact of climate change in Egypt. Al-Mashat expressed that this development financing is a positive step towards achieving a stronger energy sector. She notes that the agreement of this funding reflects the strategic cooperation frameworks between Egypt and Japan which extends to many sectors with the aim of achieving sustainable development. The Minister of International Cooperation added that the ongoing development finance portfolio between Egypt and Japan amounts to $2.71 billion in 14 projects. This is distributed across many vital sectors such as electricity, education, technical education and higher education, scientific research, and tourism and antiquities. Al-Mashat explained that these funds come within the framework of the Global Partnerships Narrative which puts “People at the Core, Projects in Action, and Purpose as the Driver”. The funded projects have both direct and indirect benefits for citizens, all while each project also supports one or more of the SDGs. The Minister of International Cooperation also confirmed the Egyptian government's appreciation of the development funds provided by the Japanese government to support efforts in combating COVID-19. Japan had provided a grant of $9.3 million used for providing medical devices and supplies for febrile and chest diseases affiliated to the Ministry of Health and Population. The ongoing Japanese grant portfolio makes up for $54.5 million in the health and education sector. Al-Mashat stated that the agreement signed today comes as an extension of two previous agreements designed to serve the same purpose of developing the energy sector and stimulating green growth. The previously signed agreements were with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) within the framework of financing the energy sector policy support program. She stressed the Ministry’s commitment to continue advancing international partnerships to achieve sustainable development through the three principles of Economic Diplomacy: Multi-Stakeholder Platforms, ODA SDG Mapping Framework, and the Global Partnerships Narrative. Maait confirmed that the financing agreement for the state budget support program secured through JICA with a value of $240 million is consistent with the efforts made to secure urgent development funds to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, to contribute effectively to supporting sectors helping the most vulnerable groups. He said that this agreement contributes to continuing the wheel of production, boosting economic activity, and strengthening the structure of the national economy. On Maait’s behalf, Kouchouk delivered a speech stating that the agreement aims to develop the policies of the overall electricity sector reform program in order to ensure the enhancement of financial sustainability and the management and operational efficiency of the energy sector. This is in effort to stabilize financing flows to support the state's general budget programs, complete structural reforms, preserve economic gains, and maximize the volume of investments in national development projects, in light of the repercussions posed by the pandemic. Maait added that Egypt is keen on continued cooperation with JICA as a development partner to support the government's efforts in achieving comprehensive and sustainable development by benefiting from Japanese expertise in fields such as health, electricity, energy efficiency, clean energy, improving standard of living, and upgrading the tax system, especially in the field of international taxes. Mohayna added that the agreement works to support the electricity sector in its transition towards clean energy and capitalizes on the state’s efforts that have been made over the past years through political leadership support. He said that the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy aims to increase the production of clean and sustainable energy. Mohayna also praised the coordinated efforts between all three ministries; Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Ministry of International Cooperation, and Ministry of Finance in securing funds from development partners that aid Egypt’s National Development Agenda. From Japan’s part, Nuki expressed his enthusiasm regarding the signing of the development financing agreement with Egypt as it reflects the close cooperation between the two countries, supports the state's efforts in shifting towards a green economy, and reinforces the policies of clean energy transformation. Nuki pointed out that Egypt and Japan’s development cooperation portfolio covers many sectors such as transportation and education. Omura added that the agreement also supports the relationship between Egypt and Japan which extends for over 80 years. On the sideline of the agreement, JICA also presented an appreciation award to First Undersecretary of the Ministry of International Cooperation and Head of the Asian Sector, Mrs. Mona Ahmed for her efforts in coordinating Egyptian-Japanese relations over the past ten years. At the end of 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation published the Annual Report titled “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Writing the Future in a Changing Global Dynamic” which includes 10 chapters presenting details of development cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners. Commitment to charting progress towards the sustainable development goals helped the Ministry secure $9.8 billion in development financing since January 2020 that meet various development targets, from multilateral and bilateral development partners. Development financing of $6.7 billion were secured for financing sovereign projects presenting 67.7% of the portfolio total and the private sector with a value of $3.2 billion holding 32.3%. This reflects the government’s commitment to strengthening the participation of the private sector in development efforts.