The Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met with the Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office and Vice President of the Gender Balance Council, Mrs. Mona Al Marri, in the presence of the CEO of Dubai Women Est & Secretary General of UAE Gender Balance Council, Shamsa Saleh, and the Director of Dubai Press Club at Dubai Media Office, Dr. Maitha Buhumaid.
During the meeting, they discussed a number of projects implemented by Egypt in terms of gender equality, and various cooperation files between both countries, under the leadership of H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Vice President, Prime Minister, and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Al-Mashat stressed the continuation of joint cooperation, aiming to implement the directives of political leadership in both countries, thus maximizing benefits and achieving common interests.
Moreover, the minister applauded the development relations between Egypt and the UAE, and emphasized her commitment to increasing cooperation with development institutions for economic growth.
The minister shared that while COVID-19 was a challenge, it did not hinder development efforts in Egypt, including progress on SDG 5: Gender Equality.
She shared that Egypt was the first country to provide a women-specific response during COVID-19 launched by the National Council For Women. The country scored 1st place in the Middle East and West Asia regions with 21 policy measures according to the UNDP COVID-19 Global
Gender Response Tracker.
Al-Mashat also referred to the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator” launched by the Ministry of International Cooperation, World Economic Forum (WEF), National Council for Women (NCW), and the private sector.
The minister explained that this is the first of its kind public-private collaboration model in Africa, and the Middle East, that aims to help governments and businesses take decisive action to close economic gender gaps.
Aiming to increase women’s participation in the labor force, close gender gaps in remuneration, advance more women into management and leadership positions, and hardwire gender parity in the future of work, the accelerator is built to take proactive action to advance women’s economic empowerment.
Al-Mashat noted that the accelerator is built on partnerships between the government, private sectors, civil society and development partners. With 4 major private sector companies co-chairing the accelerator, it also aims to include 100 private sector companies to enhance efforts and policies in terms of empowering women and increasing their participation in the labor market. Crucial for economic growth and increasing local production, gender equality both increases economic growth and bridges the gender gap.
Also during the meeting, Al-Mashat discussed Egypt’s COP27 presidency, and the potential opportunities to establish international partnerships, pushing for the country’s green transformation and presenting efforts that have been achieved to date in renewable energy, water, SMEs, and digitalization; noting the importance of innovative and blended finance in project implementation.
Moreover, the minister reviewed the Government of Egypt’s efforts in transforming into a regional energy center, as well as the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), efforts to digitize education, expansion of social protection programs, and water and sanitation projects.
Al-Mashat also shared that the Egypt – International Cooperation Forum’s (Egypt – ICF) second edition, gathering governments from across the continent and world, multilateral and bilateral development partners, the private sector, and civil society, to discuss partnerships and joint action in development.
On her part, the Government of Dubai Media Office and Vice President of the Gender Balance Council, Mrs. Mona Al Marri, noted that there are many future cooperation opportunities, in light of the common vision shared by both countries.
Al Marri also applauded Egypt’s efforts in empowering women and working towards gender equality across sectors and jobs; a key part of Egypt’s 2030 Vision and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Additionally, Al Marri presented an introduction on the Gender Balance Council, established in 2015 under the directives of Sheikh. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as a government entity focused on developing and implementing the gender agenda in the UAE. One of the council’s main objectives is to reduce the gender gap across sectors and jobs, including leadership positions. She also explained that the council is headed by Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
She added that the council is continuing its efforts through the UAE’s Gender Balance Strategy 2022-2026, announced last March by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This includes 4 main pillars: Economic Participation, Entrepreneurship, and Financial Inclusion; Wellbeing; Projections; and International Partnerships and Leadership.
Al Marri added on to say that there are broad prospects for cooperation with Egypt on the gender file. Cooperation on potential opportunities will enhance the strategic partnership, exchange knowledge and experiences, and advance the SDGs.
Earlier this month, Al-Mashat witnessed the launching of the “Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program”, in partnership with the USAID, with a grant of $39 million. This included the participation of the Ministries of International Cooperation and Social Solidarity, the National Council for Women (NCW), the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and various private sector companies and research institutions. This program will be implemented from 2022 to 2027 in the governorates of Assiut, El Beheira, Minya, Greater Cairo (Giza), Sohag, and Qena.