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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Al-Mashat: Ministry of International Cooperation is Window for Coordination with Development Partners


Thu 07 Sep 2023 | 03:29 PM
Minister of International Cooperation
Minister of International Cooperation
Nada Mustafa

Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat gave a lecture to government leaders participating in the National Training Academy (NTA), mainly those in charge of the contractual process with foreign entities. 

The program aims to train employees in ministries, administrative agencies and state-owned companies in charge of the contractual process with foreign parties and entities, with the aim of avoiding any gaps or errors. 

The Minister of International Cooperation also conducted an open dialogue with the trainees and answered a number of inquiries in the presence of Dr. Rascha Ragheb, Executive Director of the National Training Academy.

During the meeting, the Minister gave a presentation on the Framework of International Cooperation and Development Financing" which included an explanation on the role of the Ministry of International Cooperation as a window for coordination with many international entities, international financing institutions and regional organizations to strengthen economic relations through coordination between those agencies. H.E. stressed that the Ministry of International Cooperation plays a vital role in formulating and implementing development cooperation agreements with multilateral and bilateral development partners in accordance with the needs and priorities of the country and in coordination with all concerned parties.

The Minister indicated that the Arab Republic of Egypt has a huge development cooperation portfolio with multilateral and bilateral development partners, within the framework of which many programs and development cooperation projects are implemented, in addition to exchanging development experiences with friendly and brotherly countries, as well as providing technical support, in a way that enhances efforts to implement the SDGs.

The Ministry of International Cooperation’s mandate issued by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Egypt, No. 303 of 2004, outlines a mission that clearly defines the importance of sustainable, inclusive development, innovative financing, efficient and effective monitoring of development projects, and continuous cooperation with development partners and all stakeholders. The mandate includes; 1) developing and strengthening the economic cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and other countries as well as international and regional organizations; 2) proposing the criteria for obtaining external financing; both funds and grants; 3) following-up and monitoring ministries and national agencies that benefit from foreign financing within the framework of the general economic policy of the country to ensure achieving the economic development goals; and 4) managing Egypt’s economic relations with international organizations of economic cooperation, the international financial institutions and specialized agencies of the United Nations.

Al-Mashat explained that the Ministry is working to push the boundaries of joint cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners, governments, international economic policymakers, the private sector and civil society to support the national development agenda that is consistent with the UN goals for sustainable development, with the aim of maximizing the economic and social benefit from development financing; ensuring the consistency of development projects with international priorities and goals, as well as improving the management of development cooperation to implement projects effectively.

Al-Mashat presented the principles of economic diplomacy and the Ministry’s efforts to map official development financing with the United Nations SDGs in a way that achieves transparency and enhances the ability to classify financing according to each of the sustainable development goals, stressing that concessional development financing agreements are subject to precise governance rules and go through many technical, legislative, constitutional and political approvals, in a way that enhances their benefits and ensures maximum benefit from these funds.

Al-Mashat stated that the Ministry of International Cooperation deals with various development partners and international institutions, with the exception of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which specializes in looking into financial and monetary policies, while development cooperation specializes in financing development projects through concessional development financing, which is characterized by its long term and low interest compared to commercial interest, as well as strengthening technical support efforts, pointing out that soft development financing is not limited to the government only, but is also directed to the private sector, whether through direct contributions to projects and companies, as well as credit lines to banks, and financing small and medium enterprises and emerging companies.

Al-Mashat affirmed the keenness of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to apply accurate governance rules to obtain development financing, so obtaining concessional development financing goes through multiple stages, starting from the Public Debt Committee headed by the Prime Minister and passing through many legislative, constitutional and political approvals before discussion as well as approval by the House of Representatives and ratification by the President to start implementing the agreement, adding that the governance framework enhances the utilization of development funds and ensures the full study of the agreements to ensure that there is no local alternative for financing.

H.E. stressed the close connection of development cooperation projects with the citizens, as they vary in various sectors such as electricity, social housing, social protection, the solidarity and dignity project, water and sanitation, and health, including the comprehensive health insurance project, as well as investment projects and programs in human capital such as higher and technical education and women empowerment, pointing to the international partnerships implemented during the Russian-Ukrainian crisis through the signing of a number of programs to enhance food security with the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), European Union (EU), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and others.

H.E. added that the Ministry's role is not only limited to negotiating and obtaining development funds and technical support programs, but also following up on implementation. Therefore, the Department of Follow-up of Concessional Development Finance Projects was structured, and recently, the electronic system was launched to manage data and follow-up of projects in a way that provides accurate and documented information to all relevant parties, including development partners, ministries and relevant national entities, and strengthening the follow-up process to include the implementation of projects and programs without any obstacles.

Al-Mashat spoke about efforts to modernize development cooperation strategies with development partners over the past two years, including the United Nations, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), World Bank Group (WBG), AfDB, EU, European Investment Bank (EIB), the Federal Republic of Germany, and South Korea, Japan, China, the French Development Agency (AFD), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), noting that these strategies are based on a transparent process of negotiations in which all concerned parties participated to include national priorities for the next stage.

Al-Mashat also talked about the preparations for COP28, the initiatives launched by the Ministry during COP27 including the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy Platform, the NWFE program, and the Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing, and the results of international partnerships within the framework of these two initiatives, which will be announced during the climate conference in the UAE.

H.E. also pointed out that Egypt's accession to the BRICS group represents great importance for developing its relationship with major emerging economies, and it also enhances cooperation with the New Development Bank (NDB), of which Egypt also obtained membership this year, noting the ministry's role in enhancing cooperation with Asian countries and opening horizons for economic cooperation with them alongside China, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and other countries.

Al-Mashat gave Dr. Rasha Ragheb, Executive Director of the National Training Academy, a copy of the book “Stakeholder Engagement Through Economic Diplomacy” which she launched in 2021 from the London School of Economics, to document the pioneering experience of the Arab Republic of Egypt in launching an institutional framework for economic diplomacy to advance. It covers international cooperation mechanisms to achieve SDGs, works to list the various methodologies for mapping projects funded by development partners with the UN SDGs, and presents the governance structure of development cooperation in Egypt.

Minister of International Cooperation
Minister of International Cooperation
Minister of International Cooperation
Minister of International Cooperation
Minister of International Cooperation
Minister of International Cooperation