Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, met with the delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress within the framework of their visit to Egypt, in the presence of Chargé d’Affaires of the US Ambassador to Cairo, John Deroches, and Marguerite Sancho, Deputy Director of the USAID Mission in Egypt, and the delegation included Aaron Jordan, Deputy Senior Counsel, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chris White, Committee on Foreign Affairs, and James Walsh, Chief Technical Officer, House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, the Minister of International Cooperation was keen to stress the importance of close relations at the level of development cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States of America through the United States Agency for International Development, and the partnership that extends for decades of joint work to support sustainable development efforts and stimulate rapprochement between the two countries based on common interests. And the great opportunities available to strengthen joint relations, especially at the economic level, and to strengthen partnership with the private sector in light of the efforts made by the state to enhance development efforts and preserve its gains in light of the challenges facing the global economy.
The Minister of International Cooperation referred to the various programs that are being implemented with the US Agency for International Development through annual grants that are made available to achieve many goals, including supporting economic reforms, enhancing the competitiveness of the business community, stimulating trade and investment, developing the workforce and developing youth skills, to As well as programs to develop the education and vocational training sector, agriculture, health and tourism. The Ministry of International Cooperation and the US Agency for International Development signed 7 grant agreements worth $160 million last March, and discussions are currently underway on a development grant program for the coming period to implement several priority projects between the two sides.
She also affirmed the Egyptian state’s keenness to advance development efforts by providing more opportunities for the private sector, referring in the same context to its numerous meetings with the American DFC Corporation to discuss increasing its investments in Egypt in priority areas, and that it is in line with Egypt’s modernization of its national contributions NDC in line with What was announced at the COP27 Climate Conference provides greater opportunities for climate investment, pointing to the efforts made through the framework of international cooperation and development financing to stimulate the participation of the private sector in development, as the concessional development funds obtained by the private sector from development partners since the beginning of 2023 amounted to about $ 2.1 billion, in addition to financing of $ 7.3 billion during the last 3 years 2020-2022, whether in the form of investments, contributions, lines of credit or development financing, for companies of all kinds, large, medium and small, and startups.
She drew attention to many international institutions interested in financing the private sector, including the International Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as bilateral partners, adding that the structural reforms implemented by the state since 2014 in many sectors, especially renewable energy, were reflected in Increased interest of international financing institutions in financing the private sector, which resulted in many successful financing models, most notably the Benban solar power plant, which was funded by international financing institutions and attracted many local investors.
The Minister of International Cooperation stressed the importance of the partnerships that are being launched between the private sector and international financing institutions to stimulate development efforts in Egypt in line with the country’s vision. Sixth of October, in addition to the financing of international financial institutions for the Norwegian company Scatec, which is implementing a green hydrogen project in the Suez Canal economic zone. It has obtained a guarantee from the Mega Agency, financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a grant from the Climate Investment Funds Corporation (CIF).
In the same context, the Minister of International Cooperation indicated the importance of climate action and the efforts made by the state over the past period and its presidency of the COP27 Climate Conference, explaining that climate action was not popular for years, but with sudden climate changes and their impact on development in different countries, the concern has become It is a top priority, pointing out that the ongoing development financing portfolio includes dozens of projects in the areas of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
She noted the successive steps taken by the state in this regard, as it launched the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050 and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), as they were recently updated and announced during the past month. The field of mitigation and adaptation in the water, food and energy sectors, and is a model for Qatari platforms to stimulate climate finance and promote the transition to a green economy in light of the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050, adding that the program seeks international support from international financing institutions and bilateral development partners, and that during the COP27 climate conference, the joint political declaration was issued between The Arab Republic of Egypt, the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany regarding support for the energy axis within the program.
Al-Mashat stated that the “Novi” program was formulated in accordance with national visions and strategies, to provide concessional development funds and mixed funds that stimulate the private sector, technical support and expertise to implement green projects in the fields of adaptation and mitigation of the consequences of climate change, noting the many ongoing efforts with development partners. Since the launch of the platform and during the COP28 climate conference, details and results of these efforts will be announced.
And the Minister of International Cooperation was keen to refer to the efforts of the governance of development cooperation by matching concessional development funds with the international goals of sustainable development in application of the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and international standards, to accurately identify the impact of these funds on advancing the goals of sustainable development and strengthening the future decision-making process according to the classification It is clear to the ongoing funding and its impact, adding that the five axes of the national strategy for climate change, each of which meets a number of sustainable development goals.
Al-Mashat reviewed the details of updating national strategies with development partners over the past period and preparing the strategic framework for partnership for sustainable development with the United Nations, as well as preparing the partnership framework with the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank and other partners in accordance with national priorities and in accordance with national priorities. It stimulates the state’s efforts to implement its vision and enhance the participation of the private sector, noting that 15% of the current development cooperation portfolio is development grants aimed at enhancing technical support, conducting feasibility studies, supporting the process of capacity building and enhancing the skills of human cadres.
She said that the concessional development funds also include funds to support the budget, but they are directed to projects that are at the core of the interest of the Egyptian citizen, on top of which is comprehensive health insurance, the social protection program, Takaful and Dignity, and the strengthening of food security efforts, and other areas.
The Minister of International Cooperation also referred to the other efforts that were implemented during the Climate Conference, including the launch of an international competition for startups in the field of climate action technology, which witnessed the wide participation of startups from different countries of the world.
The Minister of International Cooperation presented, to representatives of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Congress, a copy of the Ministry’s annual report for the year 2022, which includes an account of all development cooperation efforts that took place over the past year, as well as the Sharm El-Sheikh Guide to Fair Financing, which was launched by the Ministry in cooperation with more than 100 international bodies and partners. Development to stimulate equitable climate finance and enhance the ability of developing countries and emerging economies to attract climate finance.
The ongoing development cooperation efforts with the United States Agency for International Development include 11 ongoing projects for technical support in various sectors, and 41 projects and programs are being implemented in several fields, mainly education, economic development, health and governance, in cooperation with 14 ministries and agencies, and the following projects are being implemented in light of the objectives The strategy is comprehensive economic development, promotion of social justice, support for economic reform, and improvement of governance, in a way that supports efforts to achieve sustainable development in Egypt.