● Al-Mashat stressed the importance of partnerships between Arab countries and the African continent to enhance integration efforts and achieve sustainable development.
● Climate change adaptation projects are of utmost importance to the African continent in light of the financing gap.
● Cooperating with international financial institutions to provide concessional financing that will advance areas of financing and investment on the continent.
The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, participated in a discussion session on “Investing in the Future” within the activities of the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference, which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the participation of the Saudi Minister of Investment, Engineer Khalid Al-Falih, and the Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa Ebrahim Patel.
In her speech, Al-Mashat stressed the importance of partnerships between Arab countries and the African continent in promoting sustainable development efforts and achieving regional integration, as these partnerships have witnessed growth over the past years in light of the increase in investments and joint relations between the African continent and the Arab region, adding that there are promising areas in this context, most notably renewable energy and green hydrogen.
Al-Mashat spoke about sustainable investments in the continent of Africa, especially in the sectors most important to the continent, such as renewable energy and green hydrogen, as these sectors have great investment potential and opportunities, explaining that Egypt places these sectors as its top priorities and that there is joint work with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through investments in these areas with private sector companies who benefited from concessional development financing and the expansion of mitigation and adaptation projects.
On the other hand, Al-Mashat pointed out the importance of food security and its connection to water resources management projects. In this regard, it can be said that climate change adaptation projects represent the utmost importance to the African continent, in light of the financing gap required to invest in adaptation within the continent, which provides opportunities for investment and strengthening Arab-African relations through joint projects.
H.E. also stressed the importance of investment opportunities available in the continent of Africa, in light of its distinct geographic location and the huge natural resources available, which can enhance global value chains and stimulate the entry of the private sector through investments.
Al-Mashat also pointed out the importance of financing as a pivotal factor for implementing and enhancing investments and overcoming the burdens of the financing gap. In this regard, creating the investment environment, promoting regulatory reforms within countries, and providing soft development financing that reduces the risks of private sector investments, in addition to working In common with international financial institutions, all of these factors would advance the areas of financing and investment on the African continent.
Al-Mashat added that many countries on the continent have updated their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and there is a commitment within the continent to collective action to enhance mitigation efforts and adaptation to climate change. At the same time, there is a great need for mixed financing that stimulates the private sector to enter and pump more investments, pointing out that the Continental Free Trade Agreement in Africa is an important gateway and opportunity to achieve greater integration between the countries of the continent, enhance digital investments in the field of e-commerce, and open opportunities for integration with the Arab region.
Regarding the role of state-owned companies in the Middle East and Africa region, Al-Mashat referred to a study indicating that 100% of state-owned companies have a commitment towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which reflects the region’s interest in climate goals, and in the same context, countries in the region are committed to NDCs and are working to strengthen the infrastructure necessary to promote the green transformation. H.E. noted the efforts made by the Egyptian state through implementing major water treatment projects, providing water resources for agricultural investments, expanding renewable energy and green hydrogen projects, and stopping the use of thermal power plants which enhances various investment areas.
Al-Mashat also confirmed that the availability of investments and financing from international institutions has become necessary to enhance investments in infrastructure, and to promote the transition to sustainable and green infrastructure with the contribution of the private sector.
On the other hand, H.E. referred to the voluntary carbon markets initiative in the continent of Africa, which witnessed momentum coinciding with Egypt’s presidency of COP27, stressing the importance of this initiative for the continent, which represents an impetus for enhancing private sector investments.
Regarding the priorities that the Egyptian state focuses on, Al-Mashat stressed the importance of investments in human capital, and the importance of supporting small, medium and emerging enterprises that play a vital role in supporting growth on the African continent. H.E. also pointed to the importance of the field of renewable energy and all fields that enhance sustainable value chains.
Al-Mashat stressed the economic diversification in the continent of Africa, which enhances investment opportunities in the continent, pointing out that Egypt will host next week the intra-African trade exhibition in partnership with the African Export-Import Bank, which is set to serve as a platform to enhance the private sector investments and sign deals that enhance economic integration between the countries of the continent.