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The Minister Discusses Priorities for Development Financing in 2021 with Forbes Middle East

H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, the Minister of International Cooperation, said that Egypt was able to secure $9.8 billion for development financing in 2020 having strengthened its relationship with multilateral and bilateral development partners.

This amount was allocated to various sectors, among them is the private sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Al-Mashat explained that the success of Egypt’s homegrown economic reform program in 2016, the distinguished work between the country and its development partners, and the thorough follow-up of projects’ implementation have given Egypt the added value easing its access to development funds.

During the "Conversation with a Leader" program on Forbes Middle East, Al-Mashat reviewed the priorities of the ministry's work with multilateral and bilateral development partners during the current year, explaining that the development projects related to infrastructure will remain a priority. This is in light of state-led efforts in developing basic infrastructure, particularly in the transportation, water, sanitation and energy sectors. The Minister said that strengthening the role of the Egyptian private sector in Africa, as well as increasing its use of green financing, considering that many multilateral financing institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are headed in that direction, is key when it comes to climate and environmental issues. This is in addition to development financing related to social solidarity and the Universal Health Insurance plan. Al-Mashat explained that the international context for development cooperation during 2020 was challenging. However, despite the significant increase in the demand for development funds and the decrease in available financing by 8%, Egypt was able to secure development funds worth $ 9.8 billion from multilateral and bilateral development partners. It is worth noting that developing countries and countries in economic transition were the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they witnessed an increase in the financing gap for the implementation of development projects. The past year was exceptional in all countries and financial institutions due to the health, social and economic repercussions of the pandemic. However, the lockdown that forced everyone to engage in virtual, online life did not prevent plans to strengthen development cooperation between countries and financial institutions. Al-Mashat added that the Ministry of International Cooperation is responsible for Economic Diplomacy, through which it seeks to develop and strengthen economic cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners, and to strengthen international partnerships to achieve sustainable development. Economic diplomacy is based on three principles: multi-stakeholder platforms for development partners to engage in open discussions, the mapping of the Official Development Assistance to the Sustainable Development Goals (ODA SDG Mapping) to track the progress of development projects, and the Global Partnerships Narrative that puts “People at the Core”, “Projects in Actions”, and “Purpose as the Driver” Across all the SDGs, there are a total of about 377 projects all amounting to $25.662 billion. This consistent approach to ODA SADG mapping contributes to a stronger narrative overall as there are only 9 years remaining before 2030. “We were keen in the report to highlight Egypt's development story; not only through our words, but also through the development partners perspectives. Their ideologies and contributions were published in the report to reflect the reforms that strengthened the confidence between Egypt and its various international development partners,” said Al-Mashat regarding the 2020 Annual Report titled “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Writing the Future in a Changing Global Dynamic”. Al-Mashat added that the report includes a chapter on ‘governance’ which breaks down the process of how development financing agreements are made. The decision is not based solely on one institution, but rather various state authorities. The approvals also go through several stages to ensure their consistency with national development goals. One of the special projects explained in the report is the story of Sinai’ development, which through political leadership support, has witnessed a ‘renaissance’. Over $3 billion, secured through Arab Funds, has been allocated to the education, water, infrastructure, housing, and agriculture sectors in Sinai. In 2020, $754 million was secured for Sinai in the aforementioned sectors. Link to the Interview: