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  • Friday, 19 May 2023

Within the activities of the annual meetings of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which were held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the EBRD, met with bank heads to discuss areas of joint cooperation and enhance future cooperation in light of the state’s priorities and the country’s strategy between the two countries for 2022-2027.

● Egypt approves the bank's expansion decisions in sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq, and confirms the pivotal role of multilateral development banks in supporting emerging economies.

● Election of Al-Mashat, Governor of Egypt at the EBRD, as Vice-Chair of the upcoming annual meetings.

● Al-Mashat expresses her gratitude to  Uzbekistan for hosting the annual meetings of the bank.

● Al-Mashat: Egypt plays a regional role in advancing the development agenda and climate action in Africa, and we support the bank's vision to expand in sub-Saharan Africa.

● Egypt and the EBRD have long-standing relations, and through the new country strategy, we will enhance efforts to support the private sector and stimulate the green transition.

● Egypt considers the private sector a major and indispensable partner in all areas of development, and we are moving forward with reforms that enhance the investment environment.

● The current challenges must be transformed into a state of global solidarity to develop long-term plans to ensure a sustainable future.

● The need for the multilateral cooperation approach to be based on state ownership, priorities and national strategies.

● Multilateral cooperation has faced many challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic and has proven its importance in supporting the development process in different countries.

Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the EBRD, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, delivered the speech of the Arab Republic of Egypt, at the plenary session of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, chaired by Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the Bank, which witnessed discussion and approval of a number of new decisions to enhance its expansion in new regions and support its operations aimed at supporting developing countries and emerging economies in enhancing their development path.

In her speech, Al-Mashat expressed her gratitude to the government and people of Uzbekistan for hosting the annual meetings of the EBRD and for the efforts exerted to support development efforts, stimulate the private sector in Egypt, and support all member states.

H.E. announced Egypt's approval of the decisions taken regarding amending the articles of association to enable the bank to expand its operations in sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq, which reflects the growing role of the bank and multilateral development banks in supporting development efforts and climate action in various countries.

The bank’s board of governors approved the decision to amend the articles of association to enable it to expand in sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq, provided that the bank receives requests from interested countries and studies them through the applicable governance system. The study conducted by the bank showed that the current business model enables 6 countries: Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal to join the membership of the bank, and Iraq is also scheduled to join the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region that includes (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), which was granted investments of more than €19 billion in 363 projects by the bank since it began its work in the region in 2011.

Al-Mashat concluded her speech by emphasizing that multilateral cooperation has faced difficult challenges over the past three years, starting with COVID-19 and then successive global crises and climate changes, explaining that in the midst of these crises, close solidarity emerged between all countries of the world, and the importance of multilateral cooperation to confront these crises to put the development process on track.

H.E. stated that the annual meeting of the EBRD takes place at a vital time, and represents a great opportunity to create comprehensive development partnerships towards achieving development and overcoming the challenges facing member states through innovative solutions. H.E. pointed out that in light of these challenges, balancing priorities has become more complex, which reflects the importance of measurable partnerships to achieve effective results that enhance resilience in times of crisis.

Al-Mashat stressed the importance of the need to transform the current conditions the world is going through into a moment of global solidarity that takes into account the long-term future through strategic plans that go beyond immediate gains towards achieving sustainable development, and focus on the main areas of concern, which is overcoming the problem of supply chains, energy security, and the availability of financing to hedge against the economic risks the world is going through.

Al-Mashat continued: “In order for development partners to be more aware of local variables, an approach to development cooperation that is based on state ownership and its priorities is extremely important to help developing countries and emerging economies align their strategies with the global development agenda, and to ensure the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account environmental and social standards, and applying strict governance rules.”

In this context, Al-Mashat indicated the importance of strengthening multilateral dialogue to reach innovative solutions and ways to support countries and preserve development gains, explaining that the Ministry of International Cooperation works closely with Egypt's multilateral and bilateral development partners, the private sector, and civil society. and think tanks, in order to create an environment conducive to constructive partnerships that stimulate development efforts, through the three principles of economic diplomacy, which is hosting multi-stakeholder platforms, mapping development finance to the SDGs, and the Global Partnerships Narrative. 

H.E. noted that the role played by the Ministry is reflected in setting joint strategies with development partners, which are integrated with the state's efforts, are in line with its priorities to advance development, and take into account Egypt's comprehensive vision for development 2030, various sectoral strategies, and the government's action program, presidential initiatives, foremost of which is the “Decent Life” initiative. During her speech, the Minister reviewed the results of the Ministry's annual report 2022, which presents what has been achieved at the level of development partnerships in various sectors.

Al-Mashat added that the Government of Egypt  is moving forward with reforms in order to keep pace with and confront global challenges, by launching the state ownership policy document, which comes to complement the reforms and incentives that the state has initiated for the private sector to enhance its role in economic activity, and implement basic infrastructure projects in various sectors. H.E.  stressed that the government sees the private sector as a pivotal partner for achieving comprehensive and sustainable economic growth and enhancing the competitiveness of the Egyptian economy to advance progress towards the sustainable development agenda.

The Partnership between Egypt & the EBRD

Al-Mashat shed light on the partnership between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the EBRD, as investments exceeded about €10 billion in 163 projects, since Egypt became a country of operations in 2012, and the private sector acquired 78% of this investment. Over the past 5 consecutive years from 2018 to 2022, Egypt was the largest country of operations in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, which reflects the importance of the partnership,  and its role in driving economic growth.

H.E.  also touched on the launch of the new country strategy between Egypt and the bank for the next five years 2022-2027, which works to achieve 3 main goals: achieving a more inclusive and sustainable economy for the business community, women and youth, accelerating the transition towards a green economy, enhancing competitiveness, increasing growth rates and stimulating the role of the private sector. in development and strengthening the rules of governance, explaining that the partnerships recently implemented between the two sides has strengthened the bank’s role in the renewable energy sector, sustainable infrastructure, and the enhancement of competitiveness. In 2022, the bank invested more than €1.3 billion in 25 projects for the government and private sectors.

Al-Mashat added that half of the bank's investments in Egypt are in the field of sustainable infrastructure, promoting the transition to a green economy and supporting energy efficiency in reducing emissions by about 8,303 kilotons of carbon dioxide emissions, and stimulating access of small and medium enterprises to finance by providing about €1 billion to 19 financial institutions and investing €128 million in equity funds for small and medium companies, in addition to launching programs to empower women in business and develop skills youth, and the launch of the first sectoral skills platform in Egypt to facilitate training and learning opportunities, in line with the goals and visions of the Egyptian state.

H.E. expressed her aspiration to increase cooperation with the Bank during the next four years, to support the state's plans for green transformation, and to contribute to the implementation of the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy platform, the "NWFE" program, in the energy pillars, to implement climate pledges.

Expanding efforts to empower women

Al-Mashat spoke about the efforts made by the state to empower women through the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Women 2030, the promotion of the gender equality agenda, and the support given by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to this file, pointing out that with Egypt hosting COP27, the National Council for Women has launched a new policy to deal with the file of climate change while placing women at the heart of environmental policies. In this regard, the Ministry of International Cooperation and the National Council for Women, in cooperation with the World Economic Forum, launched a catalyst for “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator”, to stimulate partnerships between the government and private sectors to enhance efforts to empower women and stimulate  their participation in the labor market.

COP27 Climate Conference: Implementation Summit

Al-Mashat referred to the COP27 climate conference, pointing out Egypt's presidency was keen to ensure this be an implementation conference in order to fulfill the pledges made by the international community to reduce emissions and promote adaptation efforts, while also providing the necessary financing for developing countries that suffer most from climate change.

H.E. stated that the Egyptian Parliament ratified the Paris Agreement in 2017, and Egypt launched the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050, the first comprehensive national strategy based on the constitutional and legislative framework of the country to push the transition to a green economy, and under the umbrella of this strategy, a joint dialogue was held between stakeholders. Accordingly, the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy platform, the "NWFE" program, was launched, a nexus of water, food and energy projects.

Egypt is a gateway to Africa

Al-Mashat stressed Egypt's regional role in advancing the climate action agenda and stimulating green growth, and the presence of the Egyptian private sector in many African markets, pointing to the distinguished geographical location in Egypt between the continent of Africa, which makes it a gateway to Africa to expand the scope of work of international financing institutions and stimulate green investments. This is in line with the bank's vision to expand its operations in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to stimulate South-South cooperation.