The Minister of International Cooperation held a roundtable discussion with the Vice-Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking at Citibank on Innovative Tools for Sustainable Development
Rania A. Al-Mashat: “Traditional financing tools are no longer sufficient to bridge the financing gap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are working with development partners to activate an approach for innovative financing tools in Egypt.”
H.E. Dr. Mohamed Maait: “There is a need to enhance capacity building of the country’s human capital, in order to improve their skills to be able to recognize innovative financing tools and ameliorate their utilization.”
Vice-Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking at Citibank: “Egypt has an opportunity to take the lead on green transformation in the region.”
The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, held a roundtable discussion with Vice Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking at Citibank, Mr. Jay Collins on ‘Innovative Tools for Sustainable Development.” This took place with the presence of the Minister of Finance, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Maait; Deputy Minister of Finance, Ahmed Kjok; and the Ministry of Finance’s Tendring and Monitoring Manager at the P.P.P Central Unit, Atter Hannoura. This is in addition to a high-level participation of bilateral and multilateral development partners.
This comes within the framework of the full and final recommendations of the Egypt — International Cooperation Forum (Egypt — ICF) in the Cairo Communiqué, which emphasized the importance of creating more innovative financing tools, such as the blended finance instruments that is based on resilient public-private and multi-stakeholder partnerships that help in fostering robust channels of communication. They would also create an incentivizing environment for businesses to catalyze their investments towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The roundtable discussion was attended by representatives from bilateral and multilateral development partners, including the United States Ambassador to Egypt, Jonathan R. Cohen; UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Elena Panova; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Heike Harmgart; the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Executive Director for Egypt and Djibouti, Ahmed Zayed; the AfDB’s Country Manager in Egypt, Malinne Bloomberg; the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, Marina Wes; Director of the French Development Agency’s (AFD) office in Cairo, Fabio Grazi; the Chief Representative of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) Office in Egypt, Yoshifumi Omura; and the Head of German Development Cooperation in Egypt and First Counsellor at the German Embassy in Cairo, Uwe Gehlen.
This is in addition to the presence of several of the private sector’s representatives, including the Chairman of the Egyptian Exporter’s Association and Head of the Parliament’s African Affairs Committee, Sherif El-Gabaly; and the Secretary General of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, Alaa Ezz.
Traditional Financing Tools are No Longer Sufficient
In her speech, H.E. Al-Mashat emphasized that traditional financing tools are no longer sufficient to satisfy the needs of different countries, especially emerging countries and ones that are going through economic transformation, in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that the world has adopted and committed to in 2015. Accordingly, the international community and financial institutions have mobilized their efforts to create a joined-up approach ion alternative tools for innovative financing, in order to pave the way for moving forward and achieving inclusive, sustainable development.
Minister Al-Mashat further added that according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the SDGs financing gap is increasing globally to reach $3.7 trillion a year; adding that since the current tools are not meeting the needs of different countries, it has become of paramount importance for blended and innovative financing tools that are based on resilient public-private and multi-stakeholder partnerships, to play a profound role in providing the necessary financings in order to bridge the SDGs financing gap.
Moreover, H.E. Al-Mashat stated that this talk comes within the framework of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s endeavors to consolidate relations between development partners, the government, and the private sector. This discussion also plays a role in introducing the most significant innovative financing tools, and ways of enhancing the private sector’s engagement in development through these tools, especially in light of Egypt’s efforts in advancing green transition.
This roundtable discussion comes in light of promoting green financing that supports the implementation of environmentally friendly projects, in a way that supports the country’s inclusive and sustainable recovery.
Al-Mashat reaffirmed the Ministry’s keenness on creating effective communication between stakeholders through the principles of Economic Diplomacy, to support Egypt’s development efforts and advance the achievement of Egypt’s Vision 2030, which also aligns with the UN’s SDGs. H.E. further noted that the Egypt — ICF’s Cairo Communiqué highlighted the importance of adopting more innovative financing tools to ensure that investments in sustainable infrastructure across various sectors are secured.
Egypt’s Pioneering Experience in Green Financing Tools
For his part, Minister of Finance, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Maait, called for cooperation with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the government in order to advance the transfer of knowledge and expertise on the latest green financing tools, and to scale-up investments in green projects, as well as to enhance capacity building of human capital to improve their skills and enable them to recognize innovative financing tools and ameliorate their utilization.
H.E. Maait reviewed Egypt’s pioneering experience in issuing the first green bonds in the MENA region in order to finance environmentally friendly projects; stressing the role IFIs must play in facilitating the country’s demand for development financing tools and to provide the necessary technical support to push forward achieving sustainable development.
New Financing Tools
The Vice Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking at Citibank, Mr. Jay Collins presented innovative financing tools, especially blended financing which is one of the latest and most important technologies that have attracted the international community so as to bridge the SDGs financing gaps.
Collins further reviewed the multiple structures of joint financing tools that are centered around multi-stakeholder cooperation that is working towards achieving the sustainable development agenda, including the government’s approach in developing inclusive strategic plans that entail high-priority projects. He emphasized that achieving the SDGs requires identifying necessary financing and not solely relying on traditional financing tools.
He further referred to the Government of Egypt’s vision towards achieving green transformation and expanding sustainable projects that consider environmental standards; noting that Egypt has an opportunity to take lead on the region’s green transformation. Collins stated that Egypt is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference COP 27, which reflects the country’s progress towards a green economy, for a sustainable future and inclusive recovery.
In addition, he introduced different blended financing tools that are based on notions of risk-sharing between all stakeholders; pinpointing the role blended financing plays in pushing forward development across countries. He also stressed the need to expand investments so as to bridge the SDGs financing gap, which calls for joint financing in multiple investment tools and thus expanding the scope of investment projects. Collins also presented one of the proposed tools: Sustainable Development Bonds (SDBs), which might contribute in raising the needed financing. He further highlighted the pivotal role that objective investment plays in some projects of relevant sectors.
Development Partners’ Efforts
During the meeting, development partners presented their efforts to benefit from innovative financing tools to bridge the development financing gap. In addition, they emphasized their commitment to cooperate with stakeholders in order to implement the necessary recommendations and to achieve the SDGs. They further stated that they are working on supporting the government’s efforts to diversify SDGs financing sources, and to achieve the green transition.
For her part, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Elena Panova referred to the Steering Committee for Preparation of SDGs Financing Strategy, which encompasses the Ministries of Planning, International Cooperation, Finance, and Social Solidarity, as well as the National Council for Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This committee aims to identify the financing gap of the SDGs, assess the current situation of the financing directed to the global goals, as well as encourage private sector engagement and IFIs to access mechanisms of innovative finance to progress towards the SDGs.
The EBRD’s Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Heike Harmgart, stressed on the need of benefiting from previous best practices through reapplying their steps and through creating models that can be adopted through Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The AfDB’s Country Manager in Egypt, Malinne Bloomberg stated that the AfDB has invested $66 billion in climate action; noting the importance of project planning that enhances the projects’ efficiency, and to benefit from innovative financing tools.
The meeting also witnessed effective discussions between Collins and representatives of the private sector on ways of benefiting from innovative financing tools to enhance their participation in development. Participants also applauded the organization of such meetings, and the role these discussions play in familiarizing the private sector with new financing tools and that open new horizon for development.
It is worth noting that Jay Collins has participated in a panel titled: “Private Sector Engagement in Development through International Cooperation” in the “Egypt-International Cooperation Forum: Engaging for Impact” on September 8th and 9th, under the patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt,