The Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat took part in a panel session in the African Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) Forum: Integration for Growth, under the title: “Boosting Private Sector in Africa: Role of Governments & Regional Partners” in Sharm El Sheikh.
The forum took place in the presence of the Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr. Hala al-Said; Secretary-General at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr. Wamkele Keabetswe Mene; Republic of Sudan’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim; and Chairman of the National Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Major Works (APIX) in Senegal, Mr. Abdou Fall.
During the session, Al-Mashat said that the Ministry of International Cooperation’s mandate according to the Presidential Decree No. 303 of 2004, and in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, focuses on its role to strengthen partnerships with multilateral and bilateral development partners, governments, policymakers, the private sector and the civil society.
The Minister stated that the Ministry of International Cooperation has developed an integrated approach supporting this vision, through the principles of Economic Diplomacy: Multi-Stakeholders Platform, the Official Development Assistance (ODA) mapping to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Global Partnerships Narrative that puts “People at Core”, “Projects in Action,” and “Purpose as the Driver”.
Al-Mashat referred to the first principle of the Economic Diplomacy, the MSPs stating that they serve as meeting platforms to coordinate efforts between the different development parties; be it the state ministries, development partners, the private sector, and the civil society. The MSPs aim to streamline the development interventions and plans in order to efficiently push towards Egypt’s 2030 Vision and the UN SDGs.
In 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation has announced the clear allocation of its financing development portfolio, which encompasses 377 projects amounting to $25 billion, ensuring the spread of the projects across the 17 SDGs.
The Ministry ’s ongoing portfolio encompasses projects in both the public and the private sectors, pushing for transparency, with the aim of engaging the local community with international development partners.
As for the third principle, Global Partnerships Narrative, the dialogue aims to shed light on Egypt’s successful stories of cooperation with development partners; contributing to the international efforts to push towards a sustainable future by putting “People at the Core”, “Projects in Action,” and “Purpose as the Driver”.
The third principle plays a key role in achieving development cooperation through showcasing projects transparently, paving the way for an efficient sustainable development implementation plan.
Private Sector’s Role in Achieving Sustainable Development
Al-Mashat explained that the Ministry has secured development financing agreements worth $9.8 billion in 2020; $6.7 billion were directed for financing sovereign projects, and $3.2 billion in support of the private sector.
The Minister stressed on the role that the private sector plays in achieving development. The Ministry has secured the $3.2 billion development financing from several development partners, such as the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, the French Development Agency, and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.
Al-Mashat added that the focus in 2021 is to boost the private sector engagement and strengthen their affiliations with multilateral and bilateral development partners. On April 26, the Ministry of International Cooperation held the first multi-stakeholder platform for the private sector titled “Digitalization as an Enabler for the Private Sector”, with the aim to create a liaison between the development partners and Egypt’s private sector entities.
“The private sector is key to a sustainable green financing structural reform. The Government of Egypt works on including the private talents in the development of the renewable energy sector in order to boost the country’s transition to a sustainable, purpose-driven economy,” H.E. Al-Mashat stated.
Private Sector’s Role in Developing Regional Integration in Africa
The Minister emphasized that under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt’s role in the African continent has witnessed an unprecedented boom. The Egyptian private sector plays an important role in implementing development projects across Africa, under the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) in which Egypt is a member.
Al-Mashat explained that Egypt’s private sector works on implementing several projects in Africa covering various sectors; in the transportation sector, Egypt is involved in the Cape to Cairo road and the implementation of the Egyptian-Sudanese railway. In addition, EgyptAir has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a national airline in Ghana, as part of the joint cooperation.
Several projects are also being implemented in the water sector, in cooperation between the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and the private sector entities in Uganda, Kenya, North Sudan, South Sudan, and the Congo; in addition to the construction of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station in Tanzania. Moreover, the Egyptian private company – the Arab Contractors Company is also implementing infrastructure and power projects across 23 African countries, investing $1.5 billion.
Al-Mashat mentioned that these projects highlight the established relations between Egypt’s private sector, and the African countries; she further elaborated that the Government of Egypt is keen on exploring the private sector’s ability to support integration between all African countries, enhancing the economic development and growth across the continent.