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  • Tuesday, 11 October 2022

During the Global Food Security Symposium Organized by Citibank in Cooperation with George Washington University & Elliott School of International Affairs: Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat Reviewed National Efforts To Create An Investment Environment, Stimulate Innovative Financing Tools for Adaptation & Expansion of Smart and Sustainable Agricultural Systems

International partners applaud efforts to strengthen food security against the backdrop of structural reforms adopted by the Government of Egypt since 2014.

The Global Commission on Adaptation stresses the need to provide $1.8 trillion to invest in resilient infrastructure and early warning systems.

The global food system has been subjected to successive shocks since the COVID-19  pandemic, and these  challenges are exacerbated by climate change. 

The Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank Group (WBG) H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat reviewed national efforts made to create an investment environment and expand food security efforts, as well as innovative financing tools to increase climate adaptation efforts, while also expanding smart and sustainable agricultural systems. The Minister explained that since 2014, the Government of Egypt has been integrating development efforts with climate action to achieve a transition towards the green economy and sustainable economic growth. 

These remarks came during the “Global Food Security Symposium: Scaling Innovation, Investments and Policy Reform Through Public-Private Collaboration and Action”, organized by Citibank in cooperation with George Washington University and Elliott School of International Affairs. This is part of the activities of the 2022 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund  (IMF) & the WBG in Washington.

The symposium discussed the importance of food security and efforts to stimulate it, in light of the threefold issue of food insecurity: the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and disruption of global supply chains. 

The event also witnessed the participation of David Livingstone, the EMEA CEO of Citi; Samantha Power, the Administrator of USAID; and Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, the President of the Rockefeller Foundation. 

During her speech, Al-Mashat referred to the measures taken by the government over the past years such as the expansion of wheat and grain storage silos, the introduction of silos with advanced and modern technology to meet the increasing demand and provide a safe stock, and the expansion of social protection program to mitigate the impact of sudden shocks and inflation rates. Moreover, the minister noted the importance of public-private partnerships and cooperation with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) is necessary to increase the implementation of smart agricultural systems, as well as expanding innovative solutions to enhance the skills of small farmers and introduce renewable energy solutions. 

Al-Mashat also discussed  Egypt’s Country Platform for the NWFE Program, a nexus of water, food and energy projects, aiming to accelerate the pace of inclusive and sustainable development, while also mobilizing climate finance and private sector investments that support the green transition; all within the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050 and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Al-Mashat added that the NWFE Program reflects the objectives of the Egyptian COP27 Presidency, which is to move from pledges to implementation by progressing on the climate action agenda, and by mobilizing development funds in priority sectors namely, water, food and energy. 

Additionally, the symposium witnessed applause from the representatives of participating international institutions for the Government of Egypt’s efforts to enhance food security and the structural and economic reforms adopted since 2014.

It is important to note that food security, on a global level, has become more vulnerable to shocks and extreme changes, especially due to the war in Europe, the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change. The compounding crises have altered world trade and caused major disruptions to the global supply chains and energy markets. As a result, food prices have surged to  75% higher than pre-pandemic levels, threatening to drive more than 250 million people into extreme poverty worldwide.

The Minister stressed the need to create opportunities, despite challenges, by rearranging priorities and pushing food security as a top priority for countries, while also working to build long-term resilience to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Al-Mashat pointed out that climate change represents a major obstacle to the long-term stability of the global food system, especially for lower-income countries, as it can potentially reduce yields of critical crops from 5-30% between 2030 and 2050. Hence, investing in climate adaptation is critical to put countries on a more resilient path towards a green transition.

Directing scale and coordinated investments, from the public and private sectors as well as civil society, to the agriculture sector can help build resilience and achieve the SDGs by increasing productivity and optimizing the efficient use of resources, added the Minister. 

According to the Global Commission on Adaptation, investing $1.8 trillion globally in areas such as early warning systems, and climate-resilient infrastructure over 10 years could produce $7.1 trillion in total benefits.However, current climate finance directed to agriculture, forestry, and other land use accounts for just 4%, mostly funded by the public sector.

Al-Mashat added that while Adaptation finance has been growing at rapid speed over the years, an additional $250 billion is still needed annually by 2030. This requires governments to create an enabling environment for investing in climate adaptation projects, as well as developing financing tools that enable different stakeholders to access new markets and de-risk private investment. Moreover, it also needs governance structures to track and report on climate progress and adaptation flows.

The Minister said that developing and emerging economies need the necessary financial and technical support to enable them to design and implement adaptation projects that attract climate investments.

Al-Mashat also spoke about Egypt’s Presidency of COP27, and the commitment in moving from pledges to implementation to provide the necessary  climate finance for adaptation and mitigation projects, taking into account the priority of food and water security.

Held  from October 10 to 16, under the theme “Unity in a Time of Crises”, the IMF & WBG 2022 Annual Meetings are being held at a challenging time as the global economy is witnessing the repercussions of many successive crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian War, disruptions in supply chains, and increased food and energy prices worldwide. The 2022 Annual Meetings will look into the overlapping crises facing development efforts, working towards resilience and the ability to mitigate shocks from future challenges.