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  • Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Meets with the JICA during H.E.’s Participation in the Spring Meeting in Washington

● The meeting highlighted joint efforts to implement the universal health insurance project, increase investment in human capital, and support the transition to renewable energy.

● Al-Mashat stressed the importance of the Egyptian-Japanese strategic partnership and joint coordination to support development efforts in a way that supports comprehensive and sustainable growth.

● Holding an annual policy dialogue between the two countries in the second half of this year to move forward in strengthening joint relations in various fields.

At the beginning of her participation in the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., H.E. Dr. Rania A.  Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank, met with several representatives of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA):Mr. Hideki Matsunaga, Advisor to the Middle East and Europe Department and Chief Representative of the Ukraine Office, Mr. Kei Toyama, General Manager of JICA for the Middle East and Europe, and Mr. Takanori Morishima, Senior Deputy Director of the Middle East and Europe Department.

During the meeting, Al-Mashat affirmed the Egyptian government’s appreciation for the joint cooperation with JICA, which reflects the convergence of visions and viewpoints between the leaderships of the two countries and the keenness to strengthen joint efforts in achieving development, addressing common challenges, and coordination at various regional and international levels.

H.E. pointed out that the fruitful Egyptian-Japanese relations resulted in constructive and essential partnerships in many strategic areas in sectors that enhance investment in human capital such as health and education, as well as infrastructure development to support comprehensive and sustainable growth. This features the Japanese support to the Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS), as well as many projects such as metro lines, supporting renewable energy efforts, and developing education.

The Minister discussed joint efforts with Japan to support Egypt’s steps in implementing economic and structural reforms, enhancing the competitiveness of the Egyptian economy, developing the private sector, and supporting efforts to transition to a green economy, through financing development policies. H.E. stressed that cooperation with JICA takes place within the framework of cooperative efforts made with other development partners as well.

Moreover, the meeting’s discussions touched on the details and preparations of the JICA technical mission scheduled to visit Egypt this April to continue discussions on future cooperation.

Future Cooperation Program

The meeting also witnessed constructive discussions about future cooperation programs between the two sides in the field of culture and food security, especially in light of the implementation of the projects of the country platform for the “NWFE” program, the nexus of water, food and energy projects. Cooperation is being strengthened with the Japanese side to develop programs to support small farmers and focus on low-income people, as well as  developing a strategic approach to enhance agricultural production and increase the area of agricultural land, which will reflect positively on improving the living standards of rural communities.

In this regard, the Minister stated that it is planned to hold the annual Egyptian-Japanese policy dialogue in the second half of the year, within the framework of the efforts undertaken by the Ministry under the umbrella of the state vision to advance joint relations between the two sides, and coordination between the national authorities and the Japanese side. This is especially in light of the agreement to enhance relations between the two countries to the level of a strategic partnership.

The transformation of Egyptian-Japanese relations

The Egyptian-Japanese relations witnessed a qualitative leap under H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, as the late Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, visited Egypt in 2015, followed by the visit of H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Tokyo in 2016, upon which advanced steps were taken to begin a new phase of bilateral relations and the launch of several initiatives for joint cooperation in the fields of education, health, electricity and infrastructure.

During April 2023, H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi also received the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, on a three-day visit, which witnessed an agreement to increase relations between Egypt and Japan to the level of a strategic partnership, as the culmination of an extended process of renewed historical relations between the two friendly countries.

During the meeting, Al-Mashat and JICA also discussed ways to enhance joint bilateral cooperation between the two countries, especially in investment and trade, education, health, information technology, transportation, and renewable energy, as well as the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is a prominent sign of fruitful development cooperation between the two countries.

Diversity of development cooperation portfolio

Japan is considered one of the most important Asian development partners for Egypt, as the development cooperation portfolio includes more than 18 development projects in support of the government’s plan to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), with a value of approximately $3 billion, from 2010 up to date. This is in addition to many development grants in the fields of health, education, energy, electricity, transportation, civil aviation, tourism, antiquities, irrigation, and education, in a way that supports sustainable economic growth, social inclusion, education development, human capital development, regional cooperation, and support of the national strategy to address climate change.

Annual High-Level Policy Dialogue

Within the framework of the coordination role of the Ministry of International Cooperation to discuss ways to strengthen the Egyptian-Japanese partnership through economic diplomacy efforts, an annual high-level policy dialogue is held between the Egyptian and Japanese sides to discuss proposals for future cooperation and technical cooperation. This is line with the development pillar and Egypt’s Vision 2030, in light of the role played by the Ministry of International Cooperation to coordinate between government entities and multilateral and bilateral development partners.

The high-level policy dialogue between Egypt and Japan was held in July 2023, at the headquarters of the Ministry of International Cooperation in the New Administrative Capital, in light of following up on the development of joint relations and discussing future cooperation opportunities to enhance sustainable development efforts, under the umbrella of the state’s strategic priorities, Egypt’s Vision 2030, and the government’s program “Egypt Takes Off Program”. This took place in the presence of representatives of the relevant entities.