Egypt, IFAD cooperation stands at $1.1bn covering 14 projects

Nehal Samir
5 Min Read

The cooperation between Egypt and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has reached $1.1bn covering 14 projects, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.

The minister added that the projects have so far benefited more than 7 million of Egypt’s rural residents,

Minister Al-Mashat’s remarks came during a meeting with Dina Saleh, the Regional Director for the Near East, North Africa and Europe at IFAD. The meeting took place to discuss expanding projects, whilst also outlining future areas of cooperation to enhance food and nutrition security, and support resilient livelihoods.

The minister said that projects will align with the ministry’s principles of economic diplomacy to strengthen the ‘Global Partnerships for Effective Development’. These principles include: regularly organising multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated; adopting a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative through People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners

Putting people at the core, the projects aim to primarily build the capacity of Egyptian farmers, and improve their access to knowledge, finance, and markets, as well as supporting micro-enterprises and modern climate-smart farming practices. The inclusion of women and youth is also prioritised, to ensure the sustainability of communities, the minister added.

The two sides reviewed ongoing projects, such as the Promoting Resilience in Desert Environments (PRIDE) project, which targets 450,000 rural people in the Matrouh Governorate. They also looked at the Sustainable Agricultural Investment and Improvement of Livelihoods (SAIL) project, which aims to improve agricultural production, develop infrastructure, and provide renewable energy.

Other notable projects include the Sustainable Transformation for Agricultural Resilience in Upper Egypt (STAR), which is expected to benefit around 1.2 m people. The project aims to strengthen rural institutions, whilst supporting women-owned micro enterprises and farmer’s access to markets.

The projects will help achieve Goal 1 for no poverty, Goal 2 to end hunger, Goal 5 for gender equality, Goal 8 for decent work, Goal 7 for affordable and clean energy, Goal 11 for sustainable cities and communities, and Goal 17 for partnerships for development.

Minister Al-Mashat emphasised that agriculture is one of the most vital and important sectors for Egypt’s national development, representing 14% of the country’s GDP growth. This sector also constitutes 28% of job opportunities available in Egypt, whilst also accounting for 55% of rural employment.

Since the start of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Ministry of International Cooperation has organised regular multi-stakeholder platforms. These have taken place to coordinate efforts over food security, as well as to discuss priority areas and needed support.

The minister said that there have been special programmes put in place for the agricultural sector, such as the allocation of funds to local farmers to maintain local production and harvest. A digitisation process has also been put into effect, to ensure that farmers receive constant information on sanitation and food safety standards, in order to export fresh products to Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

For her part, Saleh said that IFAD is ready to provide all aspects of support to the Egyptian government to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s agricultural sector.

IFAD has invested a total of $392.7m in agricultural development programmes and projects in Egypt since 1979. Among the most important of these projects were: the West Nubaria Rural Development Project; the Sohag Rural Development Project; the Upper Egypt Rural Development Project; the Agricultural Production Intensification Project; the Fayoum Rural Development Project; the Minya Rural Development Project; as well as the West Beheira Settlement Project.

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