Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, met with Dr. Dina Saleh, the Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations, to discuss expanding projects and outlining future areas of cooperation to enhance food and nutrition security and support resilient livelihoods.
The minister noted that projects will align with the ministry’s principles of economic diplomacy to strengthen the ‘Global Partnerships for Effective Development’. These principles include: regularly organizing multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated; adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners PEOPLE AT THE CORE Putting people at the core, the projects aim to primarily build the capacity of Egyptian farmers and improve their access to knowledge, finance, and markets, as well as supporting micro-enterprises and modern climate-smart farming practices. The inclusion of women and youth is also prioritized to ensure the sustainability of communities, the minister added. PROJECTS IN ACTION The two sides reviewed ongoing projects, such as the Promoting Resilience in Desert Environments (PRIDE) project, which targets 450,000 rural people in the Matrouh Governorate, and the Sustainable Agricultural Investment and Improvement of Livelihoods (SAIL) project, which aims to improve agricultural production, develop infrastructure, and provide renewable energy. Other notable projects include Sustainable Transformation for Agricultural Resilience in Upper Egypt (STAR), which is expected to benefit around 1.2 million people by strengthening rural institutions, supporting women-owned micro enterprises and farmer’s access to markets. Al Mashat noted that the cooperation between Egypt and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has reached 1.1 billion dollars, with 14 projects implemented that have helped benefit more than seven million rural residents. PURPOSE AS THE DRIVER The projects will help achieve goal 1 for no poverty, goal 2 for end hunger, goal 5 for gender equality, goal 8 for decent work, goal 7 for affordable and clean energy, goal 11 for sustainable cities and communities and goal 17 for partnerships for development. The Minister emphasized that agriculture is one of the most vital and important sectors for national development, representing 14% of Egypt’s GDP growth, and constituting 28% of job opportunities and 55% of rural employment. Since the start of the pandemic, the ministry organized regular multi-stakeholder platforms to coordinate efforts over food security as well as discussing priority areas and needed support. Al Mashat added that there have been special programs for the agricultural sector, such as the allocation of funds to local farmers to maintain local production and harvest, as well as digitalization to ensure that farmers receive constant information on sanitation and food safety standards in order to export fresh products to Europe and the MENA region. For her part, Dr. Dina Saleh, Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations, affirmed the Fund's readiness to provide all aspects of support to the Egyptian government to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has invested a total of US $ 392.7 million in programs and projects related to agricultural development in Egypt since 1979, among the most important projects were the West Nubaria Rural Development Project, Sohag Rural Development Project, Upper Egypt Rural Development Project, the Agricultural Production Intensification Project, Fayoum Rural Development Project and the Minya Rural Development Project, as well as the West Beheira Settlement Project.