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  • Sunday, 19 November 2023

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Gives the Opening Speech during the High-level Roundtable for the Launch of the 1st NWFE Program Report Titled “A Year of Implementation.”

The “Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing” reinforces the principles of just finance and defines the tools and responsibilities of all parties to enhance the ability to attract green financing.

The “NWFE program is a model for national platforms based on the principles of country ownership, shared responsibility, and transparency.

Egypt is keen to strengthen the relationship and achieve harmony between climate goals and the sustainable development agenda.

Starting the implementation of the plan to close 5 GW of thermal power plants and signing renewable energy agreements with the private sector with a capacity of 3.7 GW.

$314 million in innovative financing to enhance investments in supporting the national electricity grid

Strengthening cooperation with the EIB and the EU on formulating the national green hydrogen strategy

Coordinating with development partners and national authorities to technically qualify water and food projects and begin the implementation process

Launching the 1st follow-up report, which monitors a year of implementation and joint work with various parties concerned with implementing the NWFE program.

Al-Mashat thanks all development partners and national entities for their tireless cooperation to support Egypt’s development and climate agenda.

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, gave the opening speech during the high-level roundtable for the launch of the 1st NWFE program report Titled “A Year of Implementation.”

The round table also witnessed the intense international participation from the heads of international financial institutions and development partners, including Odile Renaud Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Gerardine Mukeshimana, Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gelsomina Vigliotti, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Mohamed Al-Azizi, Director General of North Africa at the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt, along with representatives of the World Bank Group (WBG), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the EU, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and  Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), representatives of France, the United States of America, Denmark, Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, as well as representatives of the private sector, the parliament, and media institutions.

Al-Mashat’s speech:

I welcome you all today, to this important event held under the patronage of H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, one year after our meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh during COP27, to review together the progress we have made in preparing and implementing the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy platform, the NWFE program. The link between water, food, and energy projects and their financing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Climate finance has topped the agenda of international cooperation and joint action over the past years. Despite the size of the pledges made by countries and institutions and the increasing demand for climate finance, global commitments have not been achieved.

The financing gap for climate investments required globally is estimated at $4.5 trillion annually by 2030, underscoring the necessity of international cooperation and multilateral cooperation to advance the development and climate agenda.

And so, Egypt launched two initiatives for the Egyptian Presidency during COP27, namely the “Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing” and the NWFE program, with the aim of setting practical frameworks for moving from the pledge stage to the implementation stage.

Regarding the first initiative: TheSharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing comes to promote the principles of just financing and define the roles and responsibilities of all relevant parties, including governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector, with the aim of stimulating the ability of developing and emerging countries to attract green financing and investments. It also presents for the first time a definition of just financing.

In addition to this, Guidebook includes 12 principles for just financing, based on three themes; Country Ownership, Equitable Pathways to Climate Finance, and Governance.

Regarding the second initiative: The NWFE program is a model for multilateral national platforms, built on the principles of state ownership, shared responsibility, and transparency, as approved by the G20.

The NWFE platform is distinguished by its practical application of the principles of just financing, and represents an effective model and approach for maximizing the use of development resources and concessional financing to deal with issues of adaptation, mitigation, and resilience to climate change, and to implement pledges, especially at the level of our African continent and developing countries.

Ladies and Gentelmen,

Egypt was keen to strengthen the close relationship between development and climate action, and this was evident in the formulation of the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, which included 5 main goals, and highlighted the harmony between climate goals, the sustainable development goals and the 2030 agenda.

In this context, the NWFE  program includes nine priority projects in the water, food and energy sectors, selected from the National Climate Change Strategy 2050. Later, sustainable transportation projects were added to it,  and the NWFE+ program came to light, with the participation of national authorities and relevant parties. 

It should be noted that one of the basic pillars of the program’s work is to maximize the development impact of these projects by grouping them within a geographical scope that allows work on all pillars, contributes to meeting development needs, and increasing and maximizing the ability of communities in those regions to confront climate challenges, achieving spatial justice by targeting the areas most in need in accordance with national priorities.

The NWFE program, in partnership with international financial institutions, international alliances in the field of climate action, and investment funds in innovative financing tools that stimulate private sector investments in climate projects. From this standpoint, the financing structure of the NWFE  program includes: consulting services, feasibility studies, qualification and technical support for projects, a platform for grants, and the required concessional and innovative development financing, in addition to credit guarantees, debt exchange , and finally banking and investment matching in order for the private sector to participate in each project.

I take this opportunity to extend my thanks to the main development partners for each pillar: the EBRD in the energy pillar, and I extend special thanks to Mrs. Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the Bank, for her personal efforts during the year, the AfDB, the IFAD, for the water and food pillars, and the EIB in the sustainable transport pillar, in addition to all bilateral and multilateral development partners participating in the various stages of NWFE projects.

Your Excellency the Prime Minister, distinguished attendees,

The climate conference was a celebration by the international community of this innovative platform, and a confirmation of its importance, as international efforts were mobilized, and many letters of intent, partnership agreements, and memorandums of understanding were signed, so that we begin together our journey towards implementing these ambitious projects.

The Arab Republic of Egypt also issued a joint political declaration with the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany, pledging to support Egypt’s efforts in implementing energy pillar projects in a way that cotributes to updating the nationally determined contributions.

Based on the above, let me share with you some of the results of what the government accomplished in cooperation with development partners during the year, at the level of the program’s various pillars.

Regarding the energy pillars, the project includes three main components:

First: Shutting down 5 GWs of the current ineffective power generation capacity using oil and gas

Second: Installing a new capacity of 10 GWs of renewable energy by facilitating the attraction of private sector investments.

Third: Supporting network investments.

In coordination with the EBRD and other partners, as well as relevant national authorities, the following was done:

First: Identifying two stations out of twelve, within the framework of shutting down 5 GWs of thermal stations, in addition to securing grants worth $40 million to support this component.

Second: Signing agreements for renewable energy with a capacity of 3.7 GWs out of 10 GWs with the private sector, providing facilities for these investments of about $2 billion, and signing agreements for financial closure with funds from development partners. Technical support will also be activated for the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, with the aim of improving Green supply chains, decommissioning plan, just transition, network study, and setting regulatory rules to develop production and sales by the private sector in a P2P system.

Third: With regard to investments to support the national grid, several projects were identified with financing worth a total of €314 million, through innovative financing mechanisms; grants, debt swaps, and concessional development financing.

Fourth: In light of the Egyptian state’s commitment to fulfilling its pledges and updating the nationally determined contributions, as announced in the joint political statement, and the goals of increasing the percentage of renewable energy to reach 42% by 2030 instead of 2035, a debt swap agreement was signed, worth €54 million. During June 2023, it was directed to support network strengthening to integrate renewable energies.

In light of what the Egyptian state is doing to enhance the enabling environment for green hydrogen production, the Egyptian government has strengthened bilateral and multilateral cooperation with various development partners in the field of green hydrogen, which has resulted in the provision of technical support from the EBRD, with the aim of contributing In formulating the national strategy for green hydrogen, this is in addition to cooperation with the EU on the strategic partnership in the field of sustainable hydrogen, and cooperation in the field of trade, transportation and export of natural gas to the EU.

Moreover, the EBRD provided soft financing worth $80 million to develop the first green hydrogen production facility within the Suez Canal Economic Zone to produce green ammonia for the fertilizer industry, which is the first in Africa.

As for the food pillar, and at the level of technical qualification for projects, and building on international experiences, the NWFE program sought to find an innovative financing framework for implementing the food pillar projects in the agriculture and irrigation sectors, based on stimulating the participation of the private sector. The joint efforts have resulted in the technical qualification completion; 

Enhancing connectivity and integration by combining similar projects and activities in order to maximize the benefit from operations and support from development partners, within the scope of food and water pillar projects, and forming joint national working groups.

Determining the geographical scope of all projects nationwide in accordance with the priorities and needs of the Egyptian state and national strategies, taking into account equitable distribution between the areas for implementing irrigation and rural development projects, and focusing on the areas most in need.

Benefiting from the technical support provided by development partners, especially the IFAD and the World Bank, to complete the technical design of my project:

- Climate Resilient Agri-Food Transformation (CRAFT)

- Climate Resilient on Farm Water in the Nile Valley (CROWN)

The financial support and grants necessary to prepare studies for the projects were also arranged, especially the grant provided by the EU and the advisory services available from the EIB.

-Adaptation of the Northern Delta Affected by Sea Level Rise (SLR) with the help of the EU and EIB

As for the project to achieve resilience in the most remote and needy areas, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) provided consulting services to work on feasibility studies and appointed consultants to complete it.

Regarding the water pillar, it is based on two projects: the Water Desalination Project Using Renewable Energy (mitigation and adaptation), and a project to expand irrigation systems with solar energy with the name Scalling-up Solar Pumping for Irrigation (mitigation and adaptation).

In this regard, the AfDB has provided advisory services and technical and financial support for feasibility studies for a water desalination project using renewable energy, through two grants from the resources of the Technical Assistance Fund for Middle-Income Countries of the AfDB and the African Water Facility.

The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development also provided advisory services and technical support to prepare feasibility studies for the project to expand irrigation systems with solar energy.

The necessary consulting services were also made available to quickly offer and contract for the implementation of projects under the participation with the private sector through the resources of the AfDB, following the completion of the preparation of technical studies for the water desalination project using renewable energy, with the aim of enhancing the participation of the private sector.

In addition to benefiting from distinguished international experiences in the field of financing water desalination projects, and examining investment opportunities to localize the solar panel industry in Egypt.

Today, we will witness the signing ceremony of providing technical support and advisory services for the benefit of the Suez Canal Economic Zone, by the EBRD, in order to implement the seawater desalination project in Ain Sokhna under a public-private partnership system, in order to feed projects for the production of green hydrogen and its derivatives in particular. In addition to other industrial projects targeting green transformation in the industrial zone in Sokhna.

In light of the state’s efforts to enhance the participation of the private sector in various sectors, especially water desalination projects, technical support was provided by the EBRD and the World Bank’s IFC, for the benefit of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, with the aim of providing consultations in structuring, preparing and purchasing water desalination projects and its implementation in partnership between the public and private sectors.

Regarding the sustainable transport pillar, NWFE+, the Ministry of Transport has identified priority projects in coordination with the EIB (the main partner), and with the participation of both the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and relevant technical studies are being completed.

As the Egyptian government always seeks to implement the principles of good and effective governance in joint development relations, and to preserve national ownership, the Prime Minister’s decision was issued to form a national committee headed by the Ministry of International Cooperation, to coordinate national efforts with all development partners, in order to attract funds and investments for the listed projects in the NWFE program.

In order to uphold the principles of governance and transparency in international partnerships, which are an essential part of the principles of economic diplomacy, the Ministry of International Cooperation announces the launch of the 1st Follow-up Report, which monitors a year of implementation and joint work with the various parties concerned with implementing the NWFE program in the water, food, energy and sustainable transportation pillars as well as each of the principles of just financing included in the Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing and consistent with the pillars of the NWFE program.

I take this opportunity to extend my thanks to H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, for his support and continuous follow-up of the NWFE program. I also extend my thanks to my colleagues, the Ministers of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Housing, Agriculture, Water Resources and Irrigation, Trade and Industry, Transport, and Foreign Affairs and the Environment, for their continuous efforts and coordination.

I also thank all the technical teams for the effort made in the stages of technical qualification for projects and moving the platform from vision to implementation, and I reiterate my thanks to the international partners for the tireless cooperation and support of Egypt’s development and climate agenda within the framework of NWFE.

At the end of my speech, let us recall together the speech of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, during the opening session of COP27, during which he stressed that the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy Platform, the NWFE program, and how it embodies the state’s ambition in the field of climate action, and is a practical translation of the transition from pledges to implementation.

In conclusion, let's نوفي together.

Thank you.