The Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat attended the launch of the “Achieving the Demographic Dividend in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Choice, Not Destiny” report, on the sidelines of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Vice President for Human Development Mamta Murthi’s visit to Cairo.
This took place in the presence of Marina Wes, WBG’s Country Director, Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Health and Population, Nevin Al-Qabaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, Reda Hijazi, Minister of Education and Technical Education and Ahmed Kamali, Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development.
At the beginning of her speech, Al-Mashat welcomed Murthi to Cairo, thanking the bank for its fruitful cooperation and efforts to support development in Egypt over the past years, noting that the ongoing portfolio is now one of the most important development portfolios for Egypt, currently implementing 14 projects with a total of US$6.8 billion.
Al-Mashat said that the development partnership with the WBG had witnessed pivotal strategic cooperation frameworks, including technical assistance and capacity building - development policy reports and diagnostic studies related to programs and authoritative policies to help the government research development goals and ensure sustainability - financing available to implement development projects that are of priority to the Government of Egypt.
He pointed out that the cooperation frameworks are aimed at stimulating and developing the private sector and enhancing effective participation in the economy and supporting the state's efforts to shift towards a green economy and sustainable growth, development partnerships and diagnostic reports.
In the framework of bilateral and multilateral cooperation programs and strategic partnerships between the Government of Egypt and development partners, Al-Mashat said, the demographic report is focused on human development and the importance of the state in boosting investment in human capital by providing better health services, education and social protection services for all, and strengthening good governance systems through an integrated approach.
The Minister of International Cooperation said that the WBG, in collaboration with the Government of Egypt has released the Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD), the Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCDs), the Public Expenditure Review (PER), and the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDRs), and the Ministry is currently coordinating closely with the bank in the preparation of further in-depth reports in the field of health and private sector development.
Al-Mashat added that Egypt's CCDR provides guidance on improving the use and capital to achieve green transformation and sustainable inclusive growth.
The public spending discourse also reflects the Government of Egypt’s commitment to adhering to the human development agenda through better and more equitable spending, noting that other development partners have issued a number of demographic reports in the areas of human development, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reports: Private Investment Challenges and Opportunities 2021, and the State Assessment for 2022, as well as important reports and studies issued by various specialized United Nations agencies, which addressed various areas of human development that is line with the priorities and strategies of the Government of Egypt.
She also pointed out that the demographic report identifies six political and strategic priorities to address: increasing contraceptive prevalence rate and family planning services; reducing school dropouts, increasing female labor force participation, reducing early marriage by empowering young women and girls, leveraging social protection programs, and improving governance of the population program.
It also aligns with national strategies and presidential initiatives such as the Haya Karima initiative, which was launched in January 2019, and the National Project for the Development of the Egyptian Family, which was launched in February 2022. The report also serves as a platform to implement various proposals and policies that align with Egyptian national strategies.
Al-Mashat said that they are currently working to establish the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with the WBG to finalize the new partnership framework for the next five years.
This will incorporate human development through three main pillars: improving human capital outcomes through improved quality of higher education, improving private sector jobs, and improving climate resilience by enhancing the skills and knowledge needed to drive the green transition and adapt to the climate.
In addition to the overarching goals within the framework of the strategic partnership, the goals are to empower women through increased workforce participation and employment of higher education graduates, governance through strengthening university and ministerial capacities (including credit), increased efficiency in the use of public funding, increased mobilization of external resources as well as the digitization of administrative processes and big data at the university and national higher education level.
It is worth noting that the WBG’s report “Achieving the Demographic Dividend in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Choice, Not Destiny” was developed in cooperation with a team of Egyptian experts and experts from the Bank from various disciplines, presenting policies, strategies and priorities that can help Egypt in achieving its demographic dividend.
The size of the ongoing development cooperation portfolio with the WBG includes 14 projects worth $7 billion, spread across several development sectors of state priority. The portfolio also includes 23 technical support, advisory and capacity-building projects, along with joint efforts to enhance private sector participation in development through relationships with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).