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  • Sunday, 07 May 2023

The opening speech of H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank Group, during the launching ceremony of the Country Partnership Framework between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the World Bank Group 2023-2027

● The relationship between Egypt and the World Bank Group has grown significantly over the decades and in various fields

● The World Bank Group has contributed to financing more than 175 projects worth about $25 billion, since the beginning of the relationship with Egypt

● Egyptian expertise has enriched the work of the World Bank since its inception to support development efforts at the international and regional levels

● Egypt actively contributes to the roadmap for developing the role of the World Bank to enhance efforts to combat poverty and achieve shared prosperity worldwide

● The Country Partnership Framework with the World Bank Group is consistent with all national priorities, strategies, and presidential initiatives

● 3 main objectives of the strategic framework: Encouraging Private Sector Engagement, Investing in Human Capital, & Improving Resilience to Shocks

● The Ministry of International Cooperation was keen on the participation of all relevant parties in the various stages of preparing the strategy

● The World Bank contributed to the implementation of national projects, including the delivery of natural gas to about 15 million housing units and the strengthening of the social protection network

● Enhancing the country's vision to empower the private sector through partnership with the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)

● The ongoing reforms and major projects implemented by the government pave the way for international institutions to play a greater role in supporting the development process

● The preparation of the CPF was carried out according to a participatory approach and based on the principles of the global partnership for effective development cooperation

● The value of international cooperation and development financing is represented in what remains of the clear impact of human-building efforts, land reconstruction and investment in people

H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank Group, said that Egypt has long standing historical relations with the World Bank, as it is considered one of the founding countries of the Bank since 1945. Over the decades, development cooperation relations between Egypt and the World Bank Group has grown until the World Bank has become one of the most important multilateral development partners in Egypt, as well as its consistent and effective contribution to supporting national development priorities in various fields.

This came during H.E.’s  speech at the launch ceremony of the Country  Partnership Framework  (CPF) between Egypt and the World Bank Group 2023-2027, which was witnessed by the Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, with the participation of Ferid  Belhaj, Vice President of the World Bank Group for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and  Marina Wes, Country  Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti at the World Bank Group, heads of international financing institutions affiliated to the World Bank Group, and a number of ministers representing the government.

The Minister stated that the World Bank, since the beginning of its relationship with Egypt, has contributed to financing more than 175 projects in various governorates, worth over  $25 billion, pointing out that the joint relations are not limited only to development cooperation, but that Egyptian expertise has also  enriched the Bank's work. Since its establishment, to support development efforts at the international and regional levels, they held high-level positions in the Bank and its subsidiaries and participated directly in the development of the World Bank Group in terms of institutional and operational aspects where they participated directly in the institutional and operational development of the Bank. Perhaps the most prominent of these names is the Egyptian thinker, jurist, and economist, scholar Dr. Ibrahim Shehata, who held the position of First Vice President of the World Bank from 1983 to 1998.

Al-Mashat explained that the joint efforts between Egypt and the World Bank Group are moving forward until today, as Egypt is actively participating  in the evolution  roadmap to stimulate and develop the World Bank Group's activity to build resilience and support development and growth efforts in order to develop more effective solutions, end poverty, and promote shared prosperity through  sustainable, resilient and inclusive development, in line with the Bank's main message, and these efforts coincide with the appointment of Dr. Ajay Banga, the new President of the World Bank Group.

The Minister of International Cooperation congratulated the new president of the World Bank Group, affirming Egypt's support for his new mission, with the importance of emphasizing the need to strengthen the role of the Bank to address the growing and accelerating challenges facing middle-income countries and reduce the burdens on developing and least developed countries.

Strategic Partnership Framework between Egypt & the World Bank

Al-Mashat noted that the framework of the CPF with the World Bank Group represents a new value for establishing means of development cooperation during the next five years, in line with the national priorities represented in Egypt’s Vision 2030, the government action program, Egypt's National Structural Reform Programme, and the National Country  Climate Strategy  2050, the National Family Development Project and the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women, in addition to the presidential initiatives, especially the “Haya Karima” initiative, to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development that is able to withstand various crises and challenges, and to improve the standard of living for citizens, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, accelerating the pace of recovery and building back better post the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as overcoming the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and other successive challenges.

H.E. noted that the new partnership framework places the citizen at the core  by striving to achieve 3 main objectives, which are: More and better private sector jobs: through supporting the creation of an empowering environment for private sector-led investments and job opportunities as well as creating a level playing field for the private sector; Enhanced human capital outcomes: through supporting the provision of inclusive, equitable and improved health and education services as well as effective social protection programs; and Improved resilience to shocks: through strengthened macroeconomic management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Inclusive Cooperation 

Al-Mashat stressed that the Ministry of International Cooperation was keen, during the preparation of the new framework, to enhance the participation of the various national entities, in addition to the relevant stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, academics and intellectuals, in formulating and preparing the country strategy in cooperation with the technical team of the World Bank Group. This was with the aim of maximizing country ownership and the joint responsibility of all stakeholders, and the results and recommendations of the evaluation and follow-up work of the programs and projects that were implemented within the framework of the previous strategy; all taken into consideration and in accordance with the principles of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), which is based on the following country ownership, focus on results,  inclusive partnerships, transparency and mutual accountability.

Ongoing Partnerships

Al-Mashat reviewed the ongoing development cooperation portfolio with the World Bank Group, which includes 15 projects in various sectors, including education, health, transportation, social solidarity, petroleum, housing, sanitation, food security, local development, and the environment, with a total value of about $7 billion, in addition to 23 projects for technical and advisory support and capacity building.

H.E. touched on some examples of implemented projects that had a great impact on development efforts, including the natural gas delivery project to homes, which directly contributed to extending the natural gas network to more than 11 governorates nationwide and benefited more than 15 million housing units, in addition to the program to enhance The social protection network (Takaful and Karama), the social housing project, the project to develop sanitation services in rural areas, the project to enhance railway safety and improve the level of service, in addition to the local development support project in Upper Egypt, the health system development program in Egypt, and the policy framework financing program development, the comprehensive health insurance system project, and other projects.

Enhancing Private Sector Participation

Al-Mashat's speech focused on the role played by the World Bank Group in developing the private sector, enhancing its role in the economy, and creating a stimulating environment that enables it to participate effectively in the context of achieving comprehensive and sustainable economic development, adding that the investment portfolio of the IFC, which is the  arm of Bank to finance the private sector, amounting to about $1.3 billion in many priority sectors, such as renewable energy, construction, financial sector, industry, education, and health.

The MIGA portfolio for the private sector amounts to about $480 million, including the recent guarantees to support the investments of Scatec International Company to implement several renewable energy projects in Egypt.

H.E. continued by saying that in the context of the Ministry of International Cooperation's keenness to achieve the national goals, the Ministry participated, in cooperation with all relevant national entities, in the launch of the World Bank Group for many diagnostic reports such as the Egyptian Systematic Country Diagnosis (SCD), the Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD)  in Egypt in 2020, the Public Expenditure Review Report in Egypt for the human development sectors in 2022, and the World Bank launched the demographic report in cooperation with the Egyptian government in 2022.

Joint Collaboration During COP27 

Al-Mashat then moved on to talk about partnerships with the World Bank during COP27, noting that during Egypt's presidency of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt's Climate and Development Report (CCDR) was launched, as the report refers to a series of measures at the policy level and providing opportunities for investment that, if implemented within 5 years, could lead to more efficient use of natural resources, reduce the effects of climate change, and enhance Egypt's ability to compete in global markets.

The Bank also contributes, along with development partners, to support a number of presidential initiatives that have been launched at the international level, such as the Sharm El-Sheikh GuideBook for Just Financing, with the aim of ensuring a balance between the historical responsibility of pledges to increase finance  directed to climate action, and ensuring just access to funds that take into account the demands and needs of countries, in addition to participation and cooperation within the framework of Egypt’s Country Platform  for the NWFE program, as the first platform adopted by the Egyptian government in the context of achieving the goals of the NCCS 2050. This presidential initiative received international support for its effective role in attracting development funds and blended financing tools that stimulate the participation of the private sector in climate business projects.

Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank Group, stressed the compatibility of the development cooperation strategy between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the World Bank Group with national goals and priorities, and keenness to build on the achievements made during the last period, based on economic reforms and national projects that have been implemented since. In 2016, in addition to the structural and legislative reforms approved by the government that stimulated the role of the private sector in development and enabled international financing institutions to contribute a greater role in financing the private sector, which resulted in the development of the national economy and the promotion of comprehensive and sustainable growth.

The Ministry of International Cooperation is always keen to ensure that strategies are formulated between Egypt and its bilateral and multilateral development partners according to a participatory and transparent approach that reflects the values of inclusivity, country  ownership and joint responsibility, explaining that the value of international cooperation and development financing is represented in the on-ground impact of the efforts it establishes and creates; to invest in people and in a prosperous future.