Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, met with Nevin Al-Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, to discuss expanding cooperation in regards to increasing international development financing to support Egypt’s civil society and expand social protection programs.
Al-Mashat highlighted that civil society represents a key ingredient in the development of Egypt and in promoting social cohesion, and play a major role as implementing partners in various international development financing projects. During the meeting, the two ministers discussed structural reforms that helped support the civil society in Egypt, the most important of which is Egypt's 2019 NGO Law to welcome the participation of human rights organizations and allows for foreign funding for civil society organizations. They also highlighted projects that are currently being implemented in cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners in the field of social protection, the most important of which is the “Takaful and Karama” program implemented by the Ministry of Social Solidarity that is financed from the World Bank, and contributed to increasing support for communities most in need. Since the programme's launch in 2015, with the support of the WBG program, the minister noted that the programme has covered over 2.26 million households, which amounts to approximately 9.4 million individuals, or approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s population. The two ministers agreed that the year 2021 will be a critical year for expanding social protection programs and engaging civil society with the international community, which comes within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s strategy to promote inclusive, responsive and open development cooperation that unites all partners in development: the government, international partners, the private sector and civil society. For her part, the Minister of International Cooperation stressed on the necessity to hold regular meetings through the ministry’s multi-stakeholder platforms, which will include multilateral and bilateral development partners, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, as well as other relevant ministries, to streamline and harmonize all projects, and discuss cooperation on expanding social protection programs. Ministry of International Cooperation seeks to apply the principles of economic diplomacy to strengthen the ‘Global Partnerships for Effective Development’. These principles include regularly organizing multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated to accelerate the pace of development for the achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners. For her part, Nevin Al-Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, thanked the Ministry of International Cooperation work team for its coordination with development partners to provide development funding and the necessary support for social protection projects, noting that the state was able to provide a global model for social protection networks represented by In the Takaful and Karama project, which the World Bank seeks to implement in many countries, using national mechanisms for implementation. The Minister of Social Solidarity added that the Ministry of Social Solidarity is working in coordination with various ministries, international partners and civil society organizations to implement various social protection programs, reviewing a number of initiatives during which coordination is carried out with a number of ministries, foremost among which is the "Decent Life" initiative. This year, Ministry of International Cooperation was able to secure US$7.3 billion dollars of international development financing, of which US$2.7 billion were for the private sector, and US$4.5 billion dollars were for several developmental actors in the country. Last week, the Ministry of International Cooperation, U.S. Embassy, Ministry of Social Solidarity, World Food Programme and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced USAID’s new $5 million award to WFP that will provide food assistance and economic support to communities vulnerable to extreme poverty and hunger and most severely impacted by COVID-19.