Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Representatives of EBRD Board of Directors Conclude Their Visit to Egypt

Sun 03 Mar 2024 | 02:51 PM
Ahmed Emam

Representatives of the EBRD Board of Directors concluded their visit to Egypt, after meeting with Rania Al-Mashat, the Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). 

During the meeting, they discussed the outcomes of the visit, which included various meetings, visits, and consultations with representatives from national entities, private sector, business community, development partners, and civil society.

According to a statement by the International Cooperation Ministry, the bank officials inspected a number of projects for which the bank contributed to providing financial and technical support, whether to the private or public sector.

Over the course of the visit, the delegation of the Board of Directors of the European Bank met with Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, and also held meetings with a number of ministries and government bodies such as the Ministry of Transport, the Central Bank of Egypt, and the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and inspected development projects such as the Abu Qir Metro in Alexandria Governorate, The New Administrative Capital , the El Sewedy Technical Academy, the Grand Egyptian Museum, and other projects.

The EBRD delegation included: Katherine Tuck – Director (Australia/Korea/New Zealand/Egypt), Elena Aparici – Director (Spain/Mexico/United Arab Emirates), Jose Leandro – Director (European Union), Manuela Nenna – Director (Italy), Leander Treppel – Director (Austria/Israel/Cyprus/Malta/Kazak./Bosn.), Karl Matthias Klause – Alternate Director (Germany), Jon Nicolaisen – Alternate Director (Finland/Norway/Latvia/Lebanon, and Lucian Isar – Alternate Director (Türkiye/Romania/Azerbaijan/Moldova/Kyrgyz. Moreover, the meetings included Heike Harmgart, Managing Director, SEMED, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and Khalid Hamza – Director and Head of Egypt.

At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the EBRD welcomed representatives of the Bank’s Board of Directors, expressing Egypt’s appreciation for the strategic and fruitful relations with the Bank, considering Egypt a founding member, pointing to the continuous development of joint relations. Since 2012 when Egypt turned into a country of operations for EBRD, this contributed to the increase in the volume of investments for the government and private sectors to more than €12 billion in 174 projects, more than 80% of those funds were directed to the private sector.

Al-Mashat stressed that the government is working to strengthen its relations with the international community to advance development efforts, and that development cooperation relations are based on a clear commitment from the state and credibility in working with development partners, pointing to the ongoing structural reforms undertaken by the state to create an investment climate since 2014. This contributed to the implementation of major development projects such as the Benban solar energy project, which was achieved thanks to legislative and structural reforms in the energy sector. 

The Minister also pointed out the importance of the visits made by representatives of the Board of Directors to projects in the various sectors supported by the bank, as this reflects the state’s keenness to achieve the maximum benefit from development cooperation projects and create an investment climate to empower the private sector, and that the coming period will witness the strengthening of the strategic partnership in various sectors and development areas.

The EBRD delegation made an inspection tour of the Suez Canal Economic Zone to learn about the investment opportunities available in the region. They inspected Egypt’s green hydrogen factory, which the bank financed two years ago, and which exported the first green ammonia shipment in the world last November, and the Egyptian Basic Industries Corporation (EBIC) factory and Sokhna Port, which is witnessing many development works to become the most important port on the Red Sea.

The delegation of the EBRD’s Board of Directors undertook an inspection tour of Alexandria Governorate, and boarded the Talgo train, which the European Bank financed, where it followed the progress of implementation of projects financed by the Bank within the framework of the Green Cities Program in the governorate, including the Alexandria/Abu Qir Metro Project, and discussed the map of future projects in the governorate. This includes climate action, sustainable infrastructure, transportation, water and sanitation, and confronting climate change. In addition, the bank delegation inspected many other projects.

In this regard, Jose Leandro, the official of the European Union countries, stressed the importance of Egypt as a country of strategic operations for the European Bank and the European Union in general, and that the Bank is very keen to direct all aspects of support to Egypt to confront the challenges it is going through. He noted that the visit of the Bank delegation to the Suez Canal region showed the extent of development that has been achieved to stimulate the investment climate. The visit to the El Sewedy Academy for Technical Education revealed inspiring measures to encourage technical employment among young men and women and the importance of investing in training. He also applauded the small and medium enterprises that were inspected in Cairo and Alexandria, the most important of which are in encouraging and increasing available job opportunities.

He also highlighted the meeting held by the Prime Minister with the bank delegation, explaining that the meeting revealed a clear vision for the government to confront the current challenges, and also showed moving forward in finalizing the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, noting that Egypt’s reforms could enable many opportunities for growth beyond the current stage, and that the EBRD can make a difference by supporting these reforms and measures undertaken by the state.

For her part, the Executive Director for Spain and Mexico at the bank expressed her appreciation for the positive changes she saw in the Egyptian market, and despite the challenges, there are innovative solutions to overcome them, especially by increasing export and local industry.

Moreover, the representative of Italy to the bank’s board of directors confirmed that Egypt is a pivotal partner of the EBRD, and that the Egyptian market has great opportunities for growth despite the challenges it faces, explaining that the visit to the Elsewedy Academy for Technical Education revealed the efforts made to enhance investment in human capital in partnership with the bank. The representative pointed out that the bank follows an approach consisting of 3 important priorities in its strategy with all countries of operations, including Egypt, which are green transformation, digital transformation, and inclusion, in addition to strengthening governance.

The representative of Austria, Malta and Kazakhstan stated that despite the geopolitical challenges facing Egypt, we have seen a lot of development and efforts made to achieve development, pointing out that this visit is the fourth to Egypt in the last 20 years, but it revealed many areas of progress, especially in the infrastructure and construction sectors, as well as the efforts made to implement the green cities program in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, and 6th of October City.

The French representative to the bank stressed the importance of increasing efforts to empower the private sector, pointing to the remarkable development in development projects in Alexandria Governorate through railway projects, as well as the advanced infrastructure in the New Administrative Capital.

The representative of Finland, Norway and Latvia at the bank stressed the need to strengthen the role of the private sector and enable it to play a greater role in achieving development, and that the EBRD can contribute, through partnership with Egypt, to increasing the opportunities available to the private sector.

The representative of Australia and Egypt at the bank pointed out that the visit revealed the importance of the efforts made by Egypt and the great opportunities available in the local market. Moreover, the German representative said that the visit revealed the importance of Egypt as a vital strategic partner for the continent of Europe and Germany through its strategic location.