Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, met with Ms. Helene Budliger Artieda, State Secretary for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, as part of the annual meetings of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Sharm El-Sheikh, during her visit to Egypt.
The Minister of International Cooperation welcomed the Swiss State Secretary to Egypt, emphasizing the depth of development cooperation between the two sides that have extended to about 40 years, and which witnessed the implementation of many projects and programmes, pointing out the Egyptian state’s aspiration to move joint relations with the Swiss side to broader horizons in light of its development priorities.
The Minister of International Cooperation reviewed the Ministry’s role in strengthening international partnerships through the framework of international cooperation and development financing, to develop and strengthen relations of economic cooperation between Egypt and regional and international organizations, follow up on local entities that benefit from the funds in terms of their use and repayment, and manage Egypt’s relations with organizations, agencies, institutions of economic cooperation and international finance, and the United Nations.
Al-Mashat stated that the Ministry of International Cooperation is responsible for various relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners, with the exception of the International Monetary Fund, explaining that the international cooperation and development financing portfolio includes about 208 projects worth USD22 billion in various areas of development. The Ministry works on coordinating between the concerned national parties and international and regional institutions to advance development efforts through concessional development financing, development grants and technical support. It deals with each institution according to its own rules of governance within the framework of international cooperation and development financing.
Al-Mashat pointed out the launch of the framework for international cooperation and development financing was in the past three years. This is the institutional framework for the role and tasks of the ministry, in a way that stimulates international partnerships and maximizes the impact of those partnerships. Many development financing agreements with the government and private sectors were signed throughout that timeframe. Additionally, the private sector benefits from international partnerships through concessional development financing, grants, contributions, investment guarantees, and credit lines. Over the course of three years, the private sector received about USD7.3 billion, in addition to an additional USD2.5 billion since the beginning of 2023.
The Minister of International Cooperation also spoke about the Ministry’s role in supervising joint committees with friendly and brotherly countries. The Ministry works on coordinating within 68 joint committees, including 43 ministerial committees, 10 higher committees headed by the Prime Minister, and 15 sectoral technical committees, as the joint committees are an important mechanism for the activation and development of bilateral cooperation relations, benefiting from experiences between countries in various fields, and strengthening common stances. It is agreed to establish joint committees through concluding framework agreements for economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Egypt and any other country. Joint possibilities and how to benefit from them are identified through the various sessions of the committees as well as the facilitation of economic, trade and investment cooperation.
The two sides discussed efforts to enhance cooperation in the area of climate action and stimulation of the transition to a green economy. In this regard, the Minister of International Cooperation referred to Egypt’s efforts to mobilize green investments for the sectors of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the launch of the national platform of the “NWFE” program, which enhances cooperation with stakeholders to mobilize mixed sources of financing that stimulates the private sector, development grants for technical support and debt swaps to drive the transition to a green economy.
For her part, the Swiss State Secretary pointed out the importance of joint relations with Egypt, which is embodied in the total Swiss investment stock amounting to USD1.2 billion until June 2022 with around 100 Swiss companies operating in Egypt, and that Switzerland comes in seventh place among the sources of foreign direct investment in Egypt, noting Switzerland’s keenness to further promote trade and investment with Egypt.
The Swiss State Secretary further stated: "We believe in the importance of joint relations with Egypt and that it is the most important trade partner on the continent of Africa. For this reason, we look forward to establishing a joint committee that enhances business cooperation, and also contributes to stimulating partnerships carried out by the private sector."
In this regard, the Minister of International Cooperation explained that part of the work of the joint committees is to bring together the business community of the two countries through the joint business forum, which enhances the identification of investment and development opportunities and establishes partnerships that advance areas of development.
The two ministers followed up on projects implemented within the framework of the Swiss cooperation program for the period 2021-2024, for which about USD 94 million were allocated to various sectors such as water and sanitation, green transformation, and enhancing the private sector development.