Egypt, EBRD discuss building gender-inclusive, digital and green ecosystems
- 14 March 2022 / News / 195 / Fares RAHAHLIA
The Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, held a meeting with several EBRD officials, with the aim at pushing forward cooperative and win-win international partnerships.
The meeting included Nandita Parshad, Managing Director, Sustainable Infrastructure Group at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Executive Director of Infrastructure at the Bank, Hassan El Khatib, Managing Director for direct investments and equity, Ines Rocha, the Managing Director for Impact and Partnerships, and Barbara Rambosek, Director General of Social Diversity and Inclusion.
The Minister highlighted in the meeting that Egypt pursues a win-win approach in all partnerships, as it aims to achieve complementarities and to share Egypt’s experience in development financing to other countries through South-South and triangular cooperation.
Digitalization is transforming sectors ranging from logistics to health care to education across different markets, and the world is moving on the path towards AI and highly efficient digital infrastructure. Through its international partnerships, Egypt a faithful driver of the digital economy and is willing to join hands with all partners for a win-win future
The Minister discussed the prospects of launching the Bank’s report on digital transformation from Cairo, in light of Egypt’s regional position in the race towards a digital and smart economy. The digital transformation report issued by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development tackles pathways for countries to push this transformation forward, and provides indicators about the digital transformation gaps in countries and how to address them.
She added that women digital entrepreneurs are playing a key role in Egypt’s economy, and that international partnerships must place women’s concerns in the digital economy.
The meeting also witnessed a discussion of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s contribution to the state’s vision for diversifying financial instruments and investing in public offerings, which is in line with the national vision to increase the number of government companies offered on the stock exchange.
Capitalizing on the fast-growing investments in smart infrastructure and public transport in Egypt, the Minister discussed the expansion of the Green Cities Program, the development of the second line of the metro and the 10th of Ramadan metro, and the dry ports project in Cairo and Alexandria. The meeting also discussed cooperation in clean transportation through electric cars and sustainable water management projects.
Prioritizing a human-centered recovery, Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s portfolio in sustainable infrastructure amounts to 50 percent of the total cooperation portfolio since 2012.
A memorandum of understanding was signed earlier with the Bank to include the governorates of Cairo and Alexandria for the bank’s program for green cities, which supports Egypt’s transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy, decrease CO2 emissions and reduce congestion.
The Minister of International Cooperation also highlighted the European Bank's contribution to financing the implementation of dry port projects. Last year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided €25m for the October Dry Port Company to finance the design, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of the 6th of October Dry Port (DP6), the first dry port in Egypt in the city of 6th of October.
Water-related investments are key for sustainable development and inclusive growth, the Minister noted, and can have spill-over effects on multiple SDGs, including those on food security, healthy lives, clean energy and marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Accordingly, Al-Mashat discussed expansion in sustainable water management and seawater desalination plants, as Egypt is working on simultaneously mitigating and adapting to climate changes in preparation for hosting the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Convention COP27.
During the meeting, Ines Rocha, Managing Director of Impact and Partnerships hailed Egypt's experience in aligning development finance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to identify the role of finance in implementing the SDGs, and expressed willingness to replicate this experience to its member states.
The Minister also emphasized that Egypt mainstreams gender equality in all partnership strategies, and that more attention is directed to gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) in order to ensure that all financing is directly channeled to empower women and girls.
The new country strategy for 2022-2027 with the EBRD is a combination of green growth and inclusive growth objectives, which is a novel development model that enables Egypt to embark on the path towards more effective sustainable development. It is focused on three strategic priorities: 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.
The strategic partnership between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development dates back to 1991. Over the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, Egypt was the largest country of operations in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, and the total investments of the Bank since the beginning of its operations in 2012 amounted to about 8.6 billion euros in 145 projects at the state level, of which 76 percent to finance the private sector and 24 percent to the public sector.
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