The new Global Partnerships Narrative initiative set up by Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation currently boasts 13 agricultural projects worth a total of $545.42m, according to a ministry press statement on Tuesday.
The initiative focuses on three main pillars, namely: People at the Core; Projects in Action; and Purpose as the Driver. It has been put in place to help Egypt achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda it has put in place.
The 13 projects have reached over 1.5 million beneficiaries across 27 governorates, whilst providing 15,000 job opportunities, the ministry’s press statement revealed.
The statement noted the Ministry of International Cooperation’s agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on a $200m loan to strengthen Egypt’s agribusiness sector. The financial package will also be used to help local farmers adopt environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
Egypt is one of only five economies across the Eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, and the Black Sea regions to receive such a loan from the EBRD. It will help transform Egypt’s agriculture value chain into “smart farming”, through new methodologies that include climate-related risk management and stress testing.
It will also strengthen farmers’ agribusinesses and improve their financial wellbeing by financing purchases of various agricultural commodities such as hazelnuts, dry dairy products, grain, and onions, in selected countries of operation.
This comes in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has multiplied the threats to food security across many levels. This is particularly due to the weakening of food supply chains and the instability caused by climate change.
According to Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al Mashat, this demands a coordinated and collaborative approach to maximise impact and benefit from the technical assistance provided by multilateral institutions.
To strengthen Egypt’s inclusive multilateral engagement with development partners, the ministry launched its first agriculture multi-stakeholder platform in July 2020. The platform discussed the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on the agricultural sector and food security.
“To achieve the targets of SDG Goal 1 to eradicate poverty, this project will ensure that all men and women, including poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources and appropriate new technology,” the ministry said.
It will also achieve Goal 2 towards ensuring zero hunger, Goal 5 for gender equality, and Goal 8 for employment and decent work. This is set to take place through doubling agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular among women, and implementing resilient agricultural practices.
It will also help achieve SDG Goal 13 to tackle climate change, by promoting mechanisms for effective climate change-related planning and management. Its focus is particularly on women, youth and local and marginalised communities.
Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD which has invested over €6.5bn in 116 projects. These cover all economic sectors, from infrastructure to manufacturing and services, and from agribusiness to banking and capital markets.