Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, paid a visit to Sinai on Sunday to monitor the progress of developmental projects being implemented and are funded by the Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development as part of the Sinai Peninsula Development Program
During her visit, the Minister stressed on the significance of these projects in diversifying Sinai’s economy and creating stronger connections with the Bedouin communities to ensure that they are the main actors in achieving broader and more robust growth. The development program also adopts a unified strategy in development by achieving the ministry’s global partnerships narrative: people, projects and purpose. Al Mashat added that the Ministry of International Cooperation aims to promote 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. People at the Core: Planning for Bedouin Communities Putting investment in people as a top priority, as contributing to human capital is integral to the country’s overall development, the project aims to contribute to the development of 26 Bedouin communities, which will include social housing, educational institutions, a health unit, a sports square, a commercial complex, and 18 agricultural complexes to capitalize on the human potential of the Bedouin communities and provide job opportunities for youth. It will also contribute to providing a decent life for all Bedouin families by improving community and social services such as access to clean drinking water and establishing educational and social institutions that positively impact the lives of these communities. Projects in Action: SFD and AFECD Within the framework of the King Salman Program for the Development of the Sinai Peninsula, the Saudi Fund for Development finances a number of projects across several sectors, the first of which is worth 1.5 billion dollars to establish 1,381 Bedouin homes and community service facilities, and the second worth $113.3 million for the development of 18 communities and 971 Bedouin homes and community service facilities. The Saudi Fund for Development also finances a project to establish 13 agricultural complexes that cover an area of 23 million square meters, 11 clusters in North Sinai and 2 clusters in South Sinai. The cooperation portfolio between Egypt and the Saudi Fund for Development totals $1.9 million allocated to 12 projects, with the total amounting to $2.3 million. Through the agreements signed with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the fund finances a project to provide clean water and improve irrigation, and develop the agricultural system in the Sinai Peninsula at a value of around $170 million for around 15 Bedouin communities out of the 26 settlements included in the Sinai Peninsula Development Program. Additionally, the AFESD is financing for the Bahr El-Baqar drainage system establishment with a grant worth a total of about $243 million dollars. It has a capacity of 5 million cubic meter a day and can reclaim 230,000 feddans, and aims to preserve the environment by protecting its lake and reducing water losses for agricultural development Purpose as the Driver: 5 Sustainable Development Goals The minister added that the projects achieve 5 sustainable development goals, namely: Goal 1 for No Poverty by ensuring that all men and women have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services. Goal 8 for Decent Work through promoting 45,000 job opportunities to increase youth employment and education and training. Goal 11 for Sustainable Communities by ensuring access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services. Goal 15 for Life on Land by protecting biodiversity and national habitat. Goal 17 for Partnerships through mobilizing partners to provide finance for developmental projects. Cooperation between Egypt and Arab funds (the Kuwait Fund for Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Khalifa Fund for Project Development, and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development) began in 1974. During this period, the Ministry of International Cooperation succeeded in coordinating efforts to serve all vital sectors in the country, amounting to about $12.5 billion until 2020, including a current portfolio of $6.9 billion.