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The Ministry of International Cooperation Centering Energy, Water & Food as Key Development Pillars in Egypt through the “NWFE Program”

The Week’s Highlights:

● Minister of International Cooperation Meetings with the EBRD’s SEMED Managing Director on the “NWFE Program”, Private Sector Engagement & COP27.

● The Ministry of International Cooperation presented the “NWFE Program” at the African Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs. 

● Minister Meets with Director of the CDC Group in Egypt on cooperating within the “NWFE Program”.

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat met with Heike Harmgart, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region. This was in the presence of Khalid Hamza, the EBRD’s Director and Head of Egypt, and Dr. Mohamed A. Gawad Allam, Minister plenipotentiary (commercial) and Head of IFIs Sector, at the Ministry of International Cooperation. 

The meeting’s discussions included potential opportunities for cooperation and joint initiatives during COP27 in November, as well as ways to enhance development cooperation and ongoing projects between both sides, particularly in terms of the “NWFE Program” and private sector engagement. 

Al-Mashat shared potential opportunities for cooperation within the “NWFE Program”, which covers a list of green government projects in energy, food and water; all aligned with the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050. The program ensures an integrated approach with the country’s priority projects, supporting the transition towards a green economy and ensuring increased private sector participation in financing development projects. 

Over the past month, several discussions have been held with development partners and multilateral development banks on the “NWFE Program”, and this was met with great interest from all relevant stakeholders, opening the door to the country’s commitment in going from pledges to implementation.

The Minister also looked into ways to cooperate with the bank in terms of Egypt’s COP27 presidency, especially when it comes to increasing green investments in renewable energy, strengthening public-private partnerships, expanding green hydrogen projects, and supporting the state’s efforts to reduce harmful emissions. 

Early this year, the new Country Strategy between Egypt and the EBRD  2022 - 2027 was launched, focused on three main pillars: promoting a more inclusive economy for Egyptian businesses, women and youth; accelerating Egypt’s green economy transition; and enhancing the country’s competitiveness by supporting private-sector growth and strengthening governance. 

Moreover, Al-Mashat emphasized that the coming period will witness more cooperation with the bank, in line with the 2022 - 2027 country strategy. H.E. also referred to the upcoming Egypt - International Cooperation Forum. 

For her part, Harmgart noted the EBRD’s commitment to enhancing joint cooperation with the Government of Egypt, especially in light of COP27, in a way that supports the green transformation and enhances climate action plans, via development financing and technical support.

It is worth nothing that ever since the start of the EBRD’s operations in Egypt in 2012, the bank has invested more than €8.6 billion in 145 projects in the country, of which over 76% were allocated to the private sector. For three consecutive years; 2018, 2019 and 2020, Egypt was the EBRD’s largest country of operations in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.

CDC Group & “NWFE Program”

In the same context, Al-Mashat met with Director of the UK’s CDC Group in Egypt, Sherine Shohdy, on ways to enhance joint cooperation in terms of the green projects within the “NWFE Program” in food, energy, and water. This falls within the framework of supporting development efforts in Egypt, and in stimulating the participation of the private sector to achieve the country’s 2030 national agenda, in line with the UN SDGs.

During her meeting with Shohdy, Al-Mashat emphasized that the government is keen on strengthening partnerships with all stakeholders; MDBs, IFIs, private sector, and civil society, with the aim of enhancing national efforts towards a green economy and in supporting the green transformation in Africa. H.E. also pointed to the importance of development financing and innovative finance mechanisms to support climate action, and mitigation and adaptation projects. 

Egypt has strong relations with the UK, and the CDC in particular has supported the private sector since 2003 with a financing portfolio of about $440 million for 39 companies in the country, contributing to provision of 30,000 jobs, including the energy and health sectors. 

The  CDC group is the UK's development finance institution, operating now for 70 years in promoting the sustainable long-term growth of companies in Africa and South Asia. The corporation has a portfolio of over $9.3 billion investments in 1,200 companies in emerging economies. 

The African Regional Forum

This week, the Ministry  of International Cooperation also participated in two sessions on food security, energy, and sustainable transport, within the activities of “The African Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs” in Addis Ababa. 

This is one of the five regional forums held in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Egyptian presidency of COP27, and with the high-level climate action champions, and Glasgow’s COP26, under the title “Towards COP27: Regional Forums on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs”. The event brings together governments, private sector, and civil society to stimulate private sector investments in adaptation and mitigation; addressing climate change with a focus on SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 13: Climate Action, and SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals. 

During the two sessions, Dr. Mohamed A. Gawad Allam, Minister plenipotentiary (commercial) and Head of IFIs Sector, at the Ministry of International Cooperation, and Ms. Sherihan Bekhiet, the Assistant Minister of International Cooperation, discussed the “NWFE Program”; launched  by the Ministry to increase development financing for green projects in energy, water and food. 

This program falls well within the country’s national agenda in supporting climate action, climate resilience  and green projects (such as renewable energy), food security, agricultural productivity, alongside sustainable infrastructure and transport.

Both ministry officials explained that the “NWFE Program” presents main messages from Egypt ahead of COP27 on going from pledges to implementation; sharing that recently a joint multi-stakeholder platform on the program saw the participation of various multilateral and bilateral development partners. Moreover, they added that the program aims to increase private sector participation, through blended finance de-risking tools, in development projects.