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Al-Mashat Asserts Importance of Enhancing Public, Private Collaborations

Tue 06 Oct 2020 | 01:53 PM
Hassan El-Khawaga

Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat stressed on Tuesday the importance of boosting public and private collaborations as critical, especially in providing healthcare services.

Al-Mashat was speaking during an OECD’s Roundtable on Investment and Sustainable Development (RISD) to support multilateralism’s contributions to achieving the 2030 Agenda and discuss the opportunities and risks associated with private investment in health-related industries.

Al-Mashat noted that there is a global financing gap in the health sector, referring to the World Bank’s recent statements that the world’s 54 poorest countries will face in 2030 an annual $176 billion gap in their ability to pay for essential health services.

The minister highlighted Egypt’s commitment to invest in health, citing the establishment of the first Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS) that provides equal access to health care services for all, with renovation operations currently taking place in Luxor and South Sinai.

Under the UHIS framework, about 79 hospitals and 294 primary healthcare units will be developed in nine of the top priority governorates.

To support Egypt’s health sector, the Ministry of International Cooperation obtained $500 million in finances this year amid the Covid-19 crisis, including a $400 million fund by the World Bank to strengthen Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS) and EUR 30 million from France to purchase medical and protective equipment.

Al-Mashat noted that creating a cohesive environment for the private sector is integral to protecting the health and wellbeing of citizens, as the ministry has been coordinating with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to provide finances to the private sector in Egypt’s healthcare industry such as Humania, providing a financing package worth in total US$108.5 million to Humania in June 2020 to develop a network of high-quality hospitals in Egypt.

"Egypt's investment in health could create a positive spillover effect in Africa and increase FDI and the private sector investment in health," Al-Mashat added.

For his part, Chairman of the OECD Investment Committee Manfred Schekulin highlighted the importance of cooperation with the private sector for improving health services, and that it is time to move away from focusing on the sheer numbers of investment flows, but on the impact, the investment had on society and improving human lives.

The roundtable participants included senior government representatives from the investment communities, international organizations, business, labor, and civil society, as well as scholars from academia and think-tanks, including Deputy Head Trade Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Ralf van de Beek and Matthias Helble, an expert in health, trade and investment policy at the Asia Development Bank.