CAIRO – 18 March 2021: Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) discuss ways to enhance private sector engagement in implementing the national development agenda.
They also discussed, in a meeting, areas of cooperation with the EBRD, along with the overview of the status of ongoing projects and the possibility of future strategic cooperation frameworks, in addition to the preparations for the first visit of the EBRD’s President to Egypt, Odile Renaud-Basso.
Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat represented Egypt in the meeting with Francis Mallige, Director of Financial Institutions Department at the EBRD; Heike Harmgart, Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region at the Bank; and officials of the bank's office in Egypt, in the presence of Sherine Taha, Assistant to the Minister of International Cooperation handling the portfolio of international financing and economic research institutions.
Al-Mashat welcomed officials of the EBRD and congratulated them on the $100 million agreement recently signed by the bank with Banque du Caire. Egypt and the EBRD share a strong development cooperation portfolio, as a result of the Ministry’s framework to enhance multilateralism to support implementation of the national development agenda; leading to Egypt being at the top EBRD’s investments in 2020 among the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region (SEMED). Al-Mashat also pointed out the available opportunities aimed at strengthening cooperation with the EBRD and the possibility of directing development funds according to the specific development plans of the different governorates.
Minister Al-Mashat discussed with officials of the EBRD the possible means to use the multistakeholder platforms in order to promote green financing tools provided by the bank to the private sector, as the Ministry aims to make 2021 the year of strengthening private sector engagement to provide the sector with a greater role in achieving development targets; including the creative force of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The EBRD has recently launched the Green Economy Financing Facility program in Egypt (GEFF), which provides financing advice to the private sector to improve its competitiveness through high-performing technologies and practices that stimulate the transformation towards a green economy.
She reviewed what has been achieved during 2020 with multilateral and bilateral development partners despite COVID-19, which challenged world economies at the beginning of last year, adding that the Egyptian economy has shown resilience and solidity in responding to the pandemic, according to various performance indicators. She also pointed out that 2020 witnessed development financing agreements within the Ministry’s portfolio, worth $9.8 billion, of which $6.7 billion was secured for financing sovereign projects and $3.19 billion was secured in support of the private sector.
Al-Mashat also highlighted the 2020 annual report launched by the Ministry of International Cooperation, titled “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Writing the Future in a Changing Global Dynamic”, which includes all the details of the agreements signed by the Ministry last year. She stated that the Ministry is working towards advancing international partnerships to promote effective development cooperation, through the three principles of Economic Diplomacy; Multi Stakeholders Platform, the Official Development Assistance mapping to the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Global Partnerships Narrative that puts “People at Core”, “Projects in Action,” and “Purpose as the Driver”.
From his part, Francis Mallige, Director of Financial Institutions Department at the EBRD highlighted the bank’s role in developing partnerships with Egypt to improve the competitiveness of companies and to support the role played by banks in financing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through credit lines, pointing out that the bank’s new strategy is based on reducing carbon emissions to strengthen sustainable development, providing equal opportunities and empowering women, as well as applying digital transformation.
It is worth noting that Minister Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Governor of the EBRD, represented the country at the annual meetings of the bank that were held last October, where she participated in the vote on the bank's new strategy for the period 2021-2025. She also participated in electing Odile Renaud-Basso, as the first female president at the BERD.
Since the start of the Bank’s operations in 2012, the EBRD has invested over €7.1 billion in more than 125 projects across various sectors in Egypt; including the financial sector, the agriculture sector, the industrial and trade sector; in addition to financing sustainable infrastructure projects in the energy, water and sanitation services, and transportation sectors.