Egypt and Italy have reviewed the possibility of launching the fourth phase of the two countries’ joint debt swap programme.
The review came as Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat and Italy’s Ambassador to Egypt Giampaolo Cantini chaired a meeting of the Committee for the Management of the Debt Swap Program for Development.
During the meeting, the two sides also reviewed the programme’s third phase, with investments of about $100m.
Minister Al-Mashat underscored the strength of Egyptian-Italian relations as part of the programme, as well as the commodity import programme. She noted her ministry’s keenness to benefit from the debt swap programme, to improve people’s lives and contribute to development.
The agreements come as part of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s efforts to apply the 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 to accelerate the pace of development for the achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); adopt a consistent Global Partnerships Narrative People&Projects&Purpose (P&P&P); and map ODA financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners.
She added that the Ministry of International Cooperation and the Italian Embassy discussed the debt swap programme’s possible fourth phase, in order to reduce the burden of external debt and provide adequate financing for development projects.
The two sides also reviewed the projects being implemented as part of the Egyptian-Italian Debt Swap Program for Development’s third phase. Among the most important of these are the Solid Waste Management project in Minya Governorate, financed with about EGP 70.5m, and the Supporting the Ministry of Supply to establish 10 vertical silos projects worth EGP 360m.
Minister Al-Mashat stated that two agreements have been signed this year, as part of the debt swap programme’s third phase. The first of these agreements is for the Social Welfare development project in Luxor, worth investments of EGP 42 m. This is being implemented in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), and aims to provide an integrated package of development to support the most vulnerable families in Luxor.
She added that an EGP 40.8m agreement was also signed to expand the applied technological schools project, which will also enhance the skills of teachers. The agreement will develop technical education and support the capabilities of graduates, and to establish a network that includes a large number of applied schools managed through the Applied Technology Schools Administration Unit at the Ministry of Education and Technical Education.
For his part, Ambassador Cantini praised Egyptian-Italian relation,s and the role of the debt swap programme in providing financing for development projects so that Egypt can achieve its national priorities.
He referred to the role played by the Ministry of International Cooperation in facilitating coordination with other bodies, to ensure the successful implementation of international agreements.
Egypt and Italy have been cooperating through the debt swap mechanism since 2001, which saw the signature of the first phase of bilateral agreements successfully concluded in 2008. Building on the successes of the first and second phases, the third phase of the agreement, which was signed in 2012 for a 2023 completion date, was allocated to the main sectors: food security and nutrition; education; agriculture; environment and cultural heritage; civil society and technical assistance.
The portfolio of cooperation between Egypt and Italy under the programme amounts to about $350m.