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  • Monday, 12 June 2023

The Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat Speech Highlights at the Second Annual Conference of the Chamber of Food Industries

● Food security is one of the most affected sectors globally due to successive challenges, and the private sector plays a vital role in enhancing food security in Egypt.

● 30% of the development cooperation portfolio is directed to the private sector with an aim to expand constructive partnerships to provide soft development funds for private sector companies.

● Al-Mashat reviewed joint programs with the World Bank, the African Bank, the European Union and Arab funds to stimulate food security efforts and launch new silos.

● We cooperate with the private sector to document and promote the implemented international partnerships through South-South cooperation mechanisms.

The Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat said that food security is one of the most challenging sectors in the world in the current period as a result of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian crisis that resulted in an increase in food prices. This confirms the need for concerted efforts by the international community to enhance security. In this regard, the government is making great efforts at the level of economic reforms and various measures that support the food industry sector and stimulate investments and exports in this vital sector.

This came during H.E.’s speech within the activities of the second annual conference of the Chamber of Food Industries, under the title "Sustainability and Increasing Investment in the Food Industries", which is held in the presence of heads of government agencies, experts, specialists and those concerned with the food industries sector from both the public and private sectors.

Al-Mashat added that enhancing food security is a top priority for the Government of Egypt by working on many parallel tracks, which are represented in advancing agricultural policies and launching major national projects to enhance food security, increase production, achieve self-sufficiency in commodities, diversify sources of imports, and develop food chains. This enhanced the flexibility of the Egyptian economy and its ability to face sudden changes in the world, which was appreciated and applauded by various international institutions.

H.E. stated that, in light of the increasing challenges facing food security, the Ministry of International Cooperation, under the umbrella of the country's vision and strategy, has worked urgently to confront the repercussions resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and other challenges, by providing soft development funds in various related fields by enhancing food security, increasing the strategic stock of strategic commodities and wheat, increasing storage capacities through the inauguration of new silos, supporting small farmers in Upper Egypt, and enhancing the ability to adapt to climate changes.

Al-Mashat gave an example of the existing cooperation with the World Bank by providing urgent development financing to support the budget within the framework of the emergency project to support food security and enhance flexible response at a value of $500 million, expanding the umbrella of social protection through the Takaful and Karama. This is in addition to the existing program with the African Development Bank to support food security and enhance resilience at a value of $271 million, and the wheat and oil supply program with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation at a value of $1.5 billion.

H.E. also reviewed the ongoing efforts to increase the storage capacities of wheat through facilitated development funds from the Saudi and Emirati sides, with the aim of developing the storage system and increasing the available capacities in a way that enables the state to provide a strategic stock of wheat, as the Saudi Fund provides development financing of $115 million, in addition to the ongoing cooperation with the UAE side to inaugurate 25 silos in 17 governorates with a capacity of 1.5 million tons through a grant of $450 million.

H.E. also pointed out the strong relations with the European Union in light of the “Food and Resilience Facility” initiative, which aims to finance projects with a total of €100 million to support food security in Egypt by building vertical and field silos, supporting small farmers, and increasing production capacity for wheat, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, Internal Trade, Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The program is implemented by the French Development Agency and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

With regard to the private sector, Al-Mashat stressed the decisive role of the private sector in facing the challenges of sustainable development, by contributing to economic growth, job creation, employment, facing poverty and maintaining food security, as well as the primary role in mitigation efforts and adaptation to the effects of climate changes, and the promotion of environmental sustainability.

H.E. noted that the Government of Egypt is keen on the strong participation of the private sector in meeting development needs, especially in the field of food security and creating sustainable, comprehensive and resilient food systems to improve the living conditions of citizens, by contributing to production, manufacturing and agricultural investments, pointing out that it is consistent with In these efforts. In light of this, the Ministry of International Cooperation launched the country platform for the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy, the NWFE Program, within which 9 vital projects are being implemented in the fields of mitigation and adaptation to the repercussions of climate change.

Al-Mashat said that the program represents a platform to involve a large number of development partners, representatives of the private sector and relevant parties, to mobilize concessional development funds that stimulate climate action, and provide a regional and international approach to build upon in line with national goals as well as the UN goals for sustainable development, through mechanisms Innovative financing to shift from climate pledges to action on the ground Indeed, under the umbrella of Egypt’s National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) 2050.

H.E. concluded her speech by emphasizing the vital role played by the Ministry through the framework of international cooperation and development financing, to advance comprehensive development efforts and create close ties between the relevant parties, and her aspiration for more joint work with multilateral and bilateral development partners to support the country's efforts for enhancing food security and stimulating comprehensive and sustainable development, pointing out that the ministry is cooperating with private sector groups in Egypt to strengthen international partnerships and promote efforts through south-south cooperation.

Al-Mashat pointed out that one of the outcomes of the economic conference organized by the government last year was the launch of a private sector unit in the Ministry of International Cooperation, in light of the vital role played by international partnerships to enhance the role of the private sector, which acquires 30% of the concessional development funds within the portfolio and that the ministry is looking forward to more joint work through workshops and discussions with the private sector to launch programs that are more compatible and more effective with the private sector in Egypt.