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Al-Mashat: 'Green Food Hub in Egypt' Enhances Food Security Goals, Reduce Waste, Support Sustainable Infrastructure


Mon 23 Oct 2023 | 05:52 PM
Israa Farhan

Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat participated on Monday, in the activities of launching the “Green Food Hub Egypt” project, which is implemented by the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade, in partnership with the Ministry of International Cooperation and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). 

This was launched for the first time in Egypt, in the Ismailia Governorate, in the presence of H.E. Dr. Ali Al-Moselhi, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Ashmawy, First Assistant Minister of Supply and Internal Trade and Head of the Internal Trade Development Authority (ITDA) and Clémence Vidal de la Blache, AFD Office Director.

Al-Mashat noted that the strategic selection of the location of the pilot project in Ismailia will enable the wholesale market to have an impact beyond the governorate level, and this transformative concept depends on trust and belief in the experience and excellence that the efforts of the private sector add to this project, highlighting fruitful cooperation between the government and private sector.

She continued, “Food security is one of the vital issues that represents the national security of the Arab Republic of Egypt. In this regard, the Ministry of International Cooperation has worked, through strategic cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners, to enhance and advance these efforts through a number of programs and financing agreements.”

The Minister of International Cooperation stressed that ensuring food security is the basis of sustainable development because it requires and represents better livelihoods and healthier societies. 

Food security is also a pivotal issue for all countries of the world, and therefore, the Government of Egypt is working on many pillars to enhance food security and increase agricultural areas for strategic crops, and increasing the storage capabilities of silos, by providing concessional development financing, technical support, and exchanging experiences, to enhance agricultural and rural development and achieve food security.

Al-Mashat noted that in light of the current global challenges and crises that have impacted all countries, including Egypt in 2022, the most important of which are the geopolitical variables imposed by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the repercussions of which affected various countries, in addition to the challenges resulting from climate change, impeding the green transition. 

Hence, the Ministry of International Cooperation is focused urgently - in implementation of the state’s mandates - confronting the repercussions of these challenges through two main tracks: financing the establishment of grain storage silos, as well as providing the needs for basic commodities, including wheat.

She stated that the programs and projects implemented in light of international relations to urgently enhance food security with the diversity of development partners, as many programs are implemented in cooperation with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Program (WFP), under the umbrella of the United Nations. This is in addition to ongoing cooperation with the European Union, the USAID, Arab Funds, the World Bank, and other partners.

It is worth noting that the EU support program for food security in Egypt was launched with a grant of €100 million to enhance food security efforts and reduce the negative effects of global challenges, in addition to a project worth €40 million, a grant from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) for the Ministry of Agriculture to finance an agricultural mechanization project in strategic crops and other related projects.

The Minister pointed out that in light of the Government of Egypt’s interest in engaging the private sector to create integration in meeting needs and removing challenges in all fields, especially in food security by achieving sustainable, comprehensive, and resilient food systems for a better livelihood.

To do so, strategic partnerships have been created across sector with the private sector, as an essential partner in achieving the SDGs concerned with eliminating poverty and hunger, and increasing cultivated areas, which increases Egypt’s interest in stimulating private sector engagement and creating on-ground opportunities for agricultural investment to facilitate land reclamation.

The minister said in line with those efforts, the Ministry of International Cooperation launched the “NWFE Programme,” which represents a platform to involve a large number of development partners, representatives of the private sector, and relevant entities, to mobilize soft development financing that stimulates climate action; providing a model to build on regionally and globally, in line with Egypt's climate goals, through innovative financing mechanisms and transforming global climate financing pledges into actual implementation on the ground. 

This program included a list of green development projects in the water, food, and energy pillars, which are at the forefront of Egypt’s steps to implement the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, and mobilize the efforts of the international community to support the country’s green transformation.

She pointed to constructive cooperation with the French side on the NWFE program through the AFD. This includes stimulating the private sector through the Proparco Foundation, the investment arm of the AFD that finances the private sector.

The minister also noted that the concessional development financing provided by development partners is not limited to state sectors, but also to the private sectors. In this regard, the Ministry of International Cooperation is working to launch a unified platform to display all the innovative and concessional financing tools that the private sector in Egypt benefits from from development partners.

Al-Mashat stressed the Ministry’s keenness to advance national priorities through effective development partnerships with all bilateral and multilateral development partners, as well as the private sector, and to maximize the comparative advantage of each multilateral and bilateral development partner, noting that the portfolio of international cooperation and development financing is diverse, all in in line with the Government of Egypt’s priorities in agriculture and food security.