Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, held a meeting with Ambassador of France to Egypt, Stefan Romettier, and Mr. Fabio Grazi, Director of the Office of the French Development Agency, and Mr. Michel Olenberg, and Director of Business France Agency, to push forward the Strategic Partnership Agreement in Social and Economic Development that is worth one billion euros, which was signed in 2019 and lasts until 2023.
Forging an enduring partnership between the two countries, the agreement aims to reflect the current and future priorities of Egypt’s development, looking at 6 priority sectors that include transport, energy, agriculture, small and medium enterprises, health and antiquities. Falling under the ministry’s new Global Partnerships Narrative, all projects will be defined according to the three PPPs: people at the core, projects in action and purpose as the driver to not derail efforts in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Putting people at the core, the two countries emphasized on pushing for a human-centered economy that unlocks the potential of the Egyptian people and directly meets their needs, adding that all projects puts investment in people as a key pillar in achieving sustainability. PROJECTS IN ACTION: AFFORDABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT SYSTEMS These projects include the rehabilitatation the first line of the Cairo Metro Line 1 with a value of 50 million euros, the Abu Qir railway plan into an electric metro worth 250 million euros, and the Mansoura Damietta railway worth 90 million euros, which will help provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for Egyptians, as well as to finance priority sectors in the field of energy worth 150 million euros, in addition to a grant of €1 million. HEALTH AND EDUCATION To ensure healthy lives and promote quality education for all, the two countries discussed an agreement to support a comprehensive health insurance program with a value of 150 million euros, as well as a project to re-establish the French National University in Egypt worth 12 million euros. Additionally, the agreement will promote technical expertise and exchange of experiences to support the Ministry of Health and Population in its efforts to develop social health insurance worth one million euros. It also includes cooperation project to support the teaching of French as a foreign language in public schools through a grant worth 1.5 million euros. CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION The agreement also aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all through sanitation projects in Helwan in cooperation with the European Investment Bank and the European Union worth 155 million euros. STRENGTHENING ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY The role of the Ministry of International Cooperation has been defined by Al Mashat through the three principles of economic diplomacy, which include: regularly organizing multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated; 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 his part, Ambassador Stéphane Romatier praised Egypt’s approach to cooperation to strengthen development partnerships, referring to the cooperation between the government and development partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ambassador expressed France’s readiness to enhance cooperation in the health sector through exchanging experts and training programs, noting that the French Development Agency has reallocated about 15 million euros to support the the Ministry of Health to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. PURPOSE AS THE DRIVER: The minister highlighted that all projects are mapped according to the SDGs, adding that these projects will achieve Goal 3 for good health and well-being, Goal 4 for quality education, Goal 7 for affordable and clean energy, Goal 8 for decent work, Goal 6 for clean water and sanitation, Goal 11 for sustainable cities and communities and Goal 17 for partnerships to achieve the development goals. It is worth noting that the cooperation portfolio with the government of France since 1974 is worth 5.360 billion euros, while the French Development Agency has provided about 1.6 billion euros in loans and 12.6 million euros in grants since 2016, in various sectors including infrastructure, housing, energy, transportation, agriculture, small and medium enterprises, health and antiquities.