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  • Tuesday, 02 August 2022

Egypt Sets a Path Towards Stronger Private Sector Engagement and Investing More in People

To be ready to compete and thrive in a rapidly changing environment, investing in human capital must coincide and move in parallel with investment in physical capital.

Reflecting this, the Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat held a meeting with Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact, to explore opportunities to work with private sector partners to finance and bring to fruition projects in physical infrastructure projects, particularly in water, energy and agriculture as part of the “NWFE” program.

To promote the mainstreaming of a nexus approach in water, food and energy projects requires a governance system that ensures proper coordination, complementarities, and harmonization between different institutions and actors, which is why the Ministry of International Cooperation launched extensive consultations for the new development UN cooperation framework in May 2021, which included the participation of more than 30 national bodies and around 28 United Nations agencies.

To further empower the private sector, the Minister held a meeting with Ayman Soliman, Executive Director of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, to discuss organizing a multi-stakeholder platform on the role played by the Sovereign Fund of Egypt to attract local and foreign private investments and stimulate investment opportunities in state-owned assets to increase the role of the private sector in Egypt’s economy.

The multi-stakeholder platform aims to inform development partners and keep them up to date with the reforms that are undertaken by the government to move ahead with sustainable development, and enhance discussions around the “NWAFI” program to finance projects in energy, food and water and provide an opportunity for cooperation between development partners and the Sovereign Fund in a number of green projects, particularly in green hydrogen.

In preparation for COP27, the Minister held a meeting with Ambassador Nasser Kamel, Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean to achieve greater blue economy Cooperation, promoting the sustainable management of water resources and food self-sufficiency.

 Tapping on Egypt’s vast coastal and marine resources, the blue economy contributes to climate change mitigation by developing offshore renewable energy, decarbonizing maritime transport and greening ports, as well as helping preserve biodiversity to benefit tourism and the coastal economy.

 In the same vein, the Minister held a meeting with UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping, regarding Egypt's preparations for COP27 to be held next November in Sharm El-Sheikh. The Minister also referred to the launch of the NWFE program, which puts emphasis on adopting a nexus approach to diversify the economy by creating new activities and business opportunities, efficiently allocating and using resources, enhancing competitiveness, and creating new jobs in the water, energy and food sectors.

 For his part, Nigel Topping hailed the government’s “NWFE” program, which comes at a pivotal time to catalyze climate financing in food, energy and water, and capitalizes on the role of collaborative action to help countries move from pledges to implementation in the upcoming climate summit.

 Youth Empowerment -

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat also held a meeting with Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the presence of Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt to scale up ambition on meaningful youth engagement and support young Egyptians through the Generation Unlimited (Shabab Balad) initiative.

 The Minister welcomed Adele Khodr’s visit to Egypt, and drew attention to future-proofing Egypt’s partnerships with UNICEF to meet the priorities of Egypt’s current context, which includes empowering youth and strengthening social protection systems for children and mothers.

The Minister reviewed the current country programme for 2018-2022, which witnessed significant progress on promoting education and youth employability in partnership with a diversity of local development actors, including the private sector and civil society organizations. The country programme also falls in line with the ‘Decent Life’ (Haya Karima) initiative, which aims to develop the capacities of rural youth and help them to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential.

 The Minister also mentioned the 2023-2027 country programme, which is set to be approved in September, and reflects Egypt’s national strategy to reach children and young people who are most at risk to protect their rights and give them a childhood in which they’re protected, healthy and educated.

 As future employability continues to evolve, Egypt promotes the creation of an innovative economy and sustainable jobs for young Egyptians by equipping youth and women-led startups with the needed resources.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of International Cooperation and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt, the Orange Corners Cairo Program celebrated the graduation of 14 startups in its third cycle in a row, in the presence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Cairo, Henricus Mauritius Stephanus Schaapveld, Assistant Minister of International Cooperation, Sherihan Bekhiet, and Advisor to the Minister of International Cooperation for Innovation, Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship, Tamer Taha.

In his remarks, Tamer Taha highlighted that Egypt ranks second in the Middle East and North Africa in terms of the number of investments in emerging companies, as it obtained 24% of the total number of investments in the region, and Egyptian companies received 18% of the total capital invested in Africa in 2021.