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  • Wednesday, 29 March 2023

In light of the Government of Egypt’s Commitment to Empowering the Private Sector, Ministry of International Cooperation: The private sector is a major pillar within the joint strategies with multilateral and bilateral development partners

● Details of Development Finance to stimulate Private Sector Participation in Development in 2022:

● $2.6 billion in development financing was secured for the private sector in 2022, led by $1.2 billion from the OPEC Fund for Development, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with $558 million and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with $233 million. 

● Country strategies with the United Nations, the EBRD, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank Group (WBG) place the private sector as a main focus to stimulate its participation in development efforts.

● Over the years 2020, 2021, and 2022, the private sector received $7.3 billion in development financing from multilateral and bilateral development partners.

● 2022 also included enhancing food security efforts and urgent needs to deal with crises imposed by global changes.

● $161 million in grants was provided by development partners to implement 9 programs and projects in the education and technical education sector. 

The Ministry of International Cooperation said that increasing the participation of the private sector in development efforts, in line with national goals and government efforts, is a major pillar within the joint strategies with multilateral and bilateral development partners, which the Ministry has been preparing during 2022, in coordination with national entities and relevant parties from the private sector and civil society.

In the 2022 Annual Report “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development: From Pledges to Implementation”, the Ministry of International Cooperation highlighted the details of the development financing from cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners to the private sector during the past year, which amounted to $2.6 billion. This amount is dedicated to enhancing development efforts and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

The OPEC Fund for International Development provided financing to the private sector during the past year with a value of $1.21 billion, followed by the EBRD with $558 million, the IFC with $233 million, then the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Mitsubishi Financial Group with $200 million, the European Investment Bank (EIB) with $170 million, the French Development Agency with $159 million, then the WBG, the AfDB and the European Union (EU) with financing of $50 million,  $21.5 million and $15 million, respectively.

The Private Sector is a Major Focus of Country Strategies

The Ministry of International Cooperation noted that the ministry is working on updating and developing strategies for international cooperation and development financing with many development partners for the next three and five years, in full coordination with all relevant entities and relevant ministries. In 2022, the country strategy with the EBRD for 2022- 2027 was launched, as well as with the AfDB and the French Development Agency. Moreover, several rounds of discussions were held with the United Nations and its affiliated agencies in order to finalize the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023 - 2027 which will be launched in the first quarter of this current year.

In the 2022 Annual Report, the Ministry of International Cooperation stated that the UNSDCF 2023-2027, which is scheduled to be launched soon, includes among its objectives maintaining a business-friendly environment, promoting social and sustainable corporate responsibility, and creating large-scale partnerships, stimulating innovative and sustainable development solutions for knowledge-based economic development, enhancing the capabilities of medium and small enterprises and entrepreneurs, and supporting value chains, digital transformation and decent jobs for women.

The Ministry of International Cooperation also referred to the joint country strategy between  Egypt and the WBG for the next five years, which was recently approved by the bank’s Board of Executive Directors, and places the private sector as a main focus of the goals that will be achieved. This will be done by stimulating the dynamic business environment through policy and regulatory reforms, enhance Egypt's access to regional and global markets through trade facilitation reform, enhance firm-level capacity and technology adoption, stimulate competition within the private sector, improve performance and reduce challenges facing the private sector, and increase private sector participation in infrastructure sectors through public-private partnerships.

In the same context, the joint strategy with the EBRD 2022-2027 works to create a more competitive and resilient private sector after COVID-19, stimulate the private sector to increase financial products to become more in-depth and diversified, increase private sector participation in development, and improve governance and business environment.

Moreover, the country strategy with the AfDB  2022-2026 works to promote the development of the private sector, create decent job opportunities, and improve the investment climate that strengthens the competitiveness of industrial development and increases industrial production.

Responding to Urgent Challenges and Strengthening Food Security Efforts

In another context, the Ministry’s Annual Report indicated that strengthening food security efforts and responding to the urgent challenges posed by the current global crises was a priority for work with development partners throughout the year 2022. This is reflected through agreements signed with the WBG and the AfDB worth $500 million and $271 million, respectively, in addition to the framework agreements with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), signed and announced in June 2022, with a value of $ 6 billion to facilitate mechanisms for importing basic commodities, food, and petroleum materials, in addition to efforts to enhance sustainability in the agricultural sector and for the supply and irrigation sectors as well. Moreover, the year also featured the implementation of the Sustainable Transformation for Agricultural Resilience, the STAR Program in Upper Egypt in cooperation with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Nile Delta Management Program funded by a German grant, and the Rural Development Program funded by a grant from the European Union in the amount of $32 million.

At the end of 2022, the WBG approved $500 million in development financing to enhance social protection efforts, support the state's efforts to expand the Takaful and Karama program. 

Development Cooperation Programs in Priority Sectors

Moreover, the annual report lists the projects that have been agreed upon in priority sectors, including the small and medium enterprises sector to enhance employment and job creation efforts, programs for women’s empowerment and social solidarity, and efforts to support comprehensive economic governance funded by grants worth $85 million, in addition to grants. with a value of $161 million to implement 9 programs and projects in the education , technical education, and vocational training sectors. It also includes continuing technical support and providing development funds for priority projects in the sustainable transport sector to rehabilitate the 2nd line of the metro and develop its 1st line, as well as develop the trade logistics line between Cairo and Alexandria.

Over the past three years, the private sector was supported through development finance and technical support from multilateral and bilateral development partners. In the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, $7.3 billion was secured through direct financing to private sector companies as well as credit lines to commercial banks for the financing of SMEs, and to implement projects in various fields of development.

During the launch of the annual report at the headquarters of the Ministry of International Cooperation, representatives of development partners applauded the constructive partnerships with the government, and the sustainability of the implemented partnerships based on the national priorities of the Government of Egypt to implement the SDGs  and increase the participation of the private sector in development through development funds and technical support, referring to continuous coordination to enhance collective action for comprehensive and sustainable development efforts. 

Representatives of development partners emphasized that the annual report of the Ministry of International Cooperation is a comprehensive work that documents a joint effort between all international institutions and the government in order to coordinate efforts to overcome development challenges.