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Ministry of International Cooperation Seeks to Redefine Social Contracts in COVID-19 era by Mobilizing International Efforts to Achieve Sustainable Development: Rania Al Mashat

Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, said in a statement that Egypt’s ministry of international cooperation seeks to redefine social contracts during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic through pushing for more dialogue between development partners, the private sector and civil society to address socio-economic inclusion and cohesion in terms of governance and reforms.

The minister noted that strengthening multilateral relations is a necessary prerequisite for economic recovery, and the ministry is working on this through the “Global Partnerships for Effective Development Cooperation” multi-stakeholder platform launched in April, that aims to strengthen dialogues and partnerships through regular interactive and participatory consultations with all development partners to achieve value-centric results that are in line with the National Development Agenda 2030 and the UN’s sustainable development goals. As the COVID-19 pandemic is destroying social contracts for many countries and institutions around the globe, the ministry launched a new vision to improve trust and credibility between all stakeholders in society, which will focus on three pillars: ‘People at the Core’, ‘Projects in Action’ and ‘Purpose as the Driver’. For the first pillar, Egypt is committed to improving the Egyptian peoples lives by identifying existing gaps and providing multi – sectoral assistance through public private partnerships that push Egyptians towards realizing their full potential. As for the second pillar, the Minister highlighted that projects have been implemented across multiple sectors including in education, transportation, water desalination, renewable energy, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment. For the third pillar, the Minister referred to partnerships with purpose as key drivers to generate sustained and inclusive growth in a rapidly changing world The minister referred to the example of Egypt’s relations with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is considered to be one of the most prominent development partners and works to support development efforts and structural reforms that achieve sustainable growth. The bank has invested more than 6.5 billion euros in more than 116 projects in Egypt covering all economic sectors, the most important of which are infrastructure, manufacturing, services, agriculture, banks and financial markets. She added that the current global conditions imposes a greater role for the private sector, which is not limited to providing job opportunities, but extends to ensuring social inclusion, improving food security, preserving the environment, and most importantly, reducing poverty. Al Mashat stressed that investment in human capital and future generations is also a major part of the strategy of the Ministry of International Cooperation. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development launched a youth employment program that provides vocational training, capacity building and employment opportunities in cooperation with the Swedish Technical Academy in Cairo to enhance skills. Al-Mashat also spoke about the ministry’s launch of the Gender Gap Accelerator in Egypt, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East and Africa in cooperation with the World Economic Forum and the National Women’s Council. It provides a platform for the government, the private sector and civil society, as well as multilateral and bilateral development partners to coordinate efforts and mobilize support and financing to up-scale efforts. She pointed that the European Bank also launched the “Women in Business” program in Egypt in 2015 to support the achievement of a more inclusive and sustainable society. It is noteworthy that Egypt recently won the Sustainability Award 2020 issued by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2020 for gender and inclusion, and for the contribution of the Egyptian National Railways towards safe transportation, which is necessary to achieve the economic empowerment of women and to empower them with educational opportunities. Egypt was also praised during the virtual conference held by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on issues of empowering women and economic recovery, as it was the first country to issue a policy paper for a rapid response to the needs of women during the COVID-19 pandemic.