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DNE’s Interview with H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat

Daily News Egypt’s Interview

H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation:-

Q: Under your leadership, you have called for shifting mindsets through 'Economic Diplomacy’. Could you outline what you mean by ‘Economic Diplomacy’, and what are its principles?

A: Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to Egypt’s inclusive and sustainable development. Our vision at the Ministry of International Cooperation primarily centers around pushing for a human-centered circular economy. To achieve this, we focus on implementing “Economic Diplomacy’, which aims to push the frontiers of multilateralism and cooperation through strengthening inclusive multilateral and bilateral engagement with development partners, governments, global policy makers, the private sector and the civil society to achieve a circular economy and push forward the global goals, the United Nations 17 SDGs. It is through multilateralism coupled with governance, dialogue, connectivity and transparency, that we aim to push the frontiers of collaboration. The three principles of Economic Diplomacy are: regularly organizing Multi-Stakeholder Platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively aligned with the national agenda and the 17 SDGs; mapping Official Development Assistance to the SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners and adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People & Projects & Purpose (P&P&P). 1. Multi-Stakeholder Platforms The main objective of the Multi-Stakeholder Platforms is to strengthen partnerships for achieving value-centric results through regular interactive and participatory consultations with all development partners. The platform ensures harmony and complementarity of development collaboration to maximize impact and achieve sustainability. The platform also provides an opportunity to capitalize on successes, learn from pitfalls and harness the power of group interaction. Ever since the launch of the first multi-stakeholder platform in April 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation organized a number of participatory workshops in various sectors. The workshops focused on different areas related to the Health Sector, Public Enterprises, Private Sector Engagement in Development, Rural and Agricultural Development, Transportation and Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. 2. ODA - SDG Mapping Framework In 2020, we concluded an extensive first-of its kind comprehensive mapping exercise of all current effective projects within the Ministry of International Cooperation’s portfolio to identify their alignment with relevant SDGs, ensuring optimal contribution of development cooperation projects to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our mapped cooperation portfolio includes both financing to sovereign projects as well as financing to the private sector, and also accounts for projects developed by the United Nations and its agencies. There are more than 377 ongoing projects, totaling $25.6 billion in the ministry’s development cooperation portfolio. 3. Global Partnerships Narrative Economic diplomacy is not solely based on results, but on the values of solidarity and serving humanity. The issues that the world currently faces are universal, and this is why we have unified all our development efforts under one core narrative to mobilize the international community towards development goals. Our narrative is People & Projects & Purpose (P&P&P). For More Information Visit: Q: In 2020, Ministry of International Cooperation secured $9.8bn in development financing. In your opinion, what helped distinguish Egypt in order to allow it to take out this amount of development financing? A: Egypt has embarked on its economic transformation through comprehensive reforms to promote growth that is sustainable, inclusive and green. At the Ministry of International Cooperation, we are designing financing initiatives that push forward through out strategic international partnerships, economic and structural reforms that foster private-led inclusive growth through effective dialogue, transparency and collaboration. Egypt’s economic and development performance story was also singled out in 2020 and celebrated by IFIs, driven by sound policy choices and robust partnerships that have supported economic growth and employment, despite the pandemic. With Egypt positioned to be among the handful of countries to avoid recession this year and the large infrastructure investment programs underway, the country will continue to attract investors in the post-covid economic climate. On January 20, 2021 we presented to the newly elected Egyptian Parliament the Ministry of International Cooperation’s portfolio of development projects that is both contextual and diverse with an outline of the 80 projects initiated in 2020 through the $9.8bn in development financing. Link to Presentation: Q: How far do these projects help Egypt in achieving the SDG goals? A: The Ministry of International Cooperation’s total cooperation portfolio includes 377 projects amounting to $25.6bn to both sovereign and private sector projects, across multiple and diverse sectors. In the second pillar of Economic Diplomacy, we mention mapping the ODA financing to the SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners. The ODA-SDG mapping framework is a tool to ensure the allocation of resources in the right place, for the right cause, and measures Egypt’s progress in achieving it SDG targets, when it comes to development financing. Over 50% of ODA allocation is directed toward lagging regions to combat multidimensional poverty, SDG 1: No Poverty. Other goals include SDG7, SDG9 and SDG6: Affordable and Clean Energy; Industries, Innovations and Infrastructure; and Clean Water and Sanitation. These three goals have received 62% of ODA financing, and this is where Egypt is over-performing; setting an example to the region on preemptive measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and to build back better and greener. Q: Some people are anxious that dev