In 2020, Egypt was able to progress its development projects with the help of its international partners and around $7.5bn in finance, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
Minister Al-Mashat’s remarks came during her speech, on Tuesday, at the week-long virtual “Egypt’s Green Economy” programme, organised by the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) and the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce (EBCC).
“The world is changing and everybody’s talking about a new normal,” the minister said, “I think that we cannot think of comparative advantages for countries the same way we did before 2020.”
Minister Al-Mashat added that, following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, countries are going to focus on and engage more with stakeholders. The countries that are more committed to following the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their development agendas will also see greater success.
”The Egyptian government was very keen on continuing reforms with its partners,” she added.
The minister mentioned that 2020 is being viewed as the year where many things were going to take off.
“Suddenly, everybody has been pushed to the limits with the pandemic, and this requires a renewed sense of cooperation and urgent sense of collaboration with different development partners with different private sector entities with different civil society,” she said.
For Egypt’s economic diplomacy, Minister Al-Mashat explained that there are three key principles.
“The first one is multi stakeholder platforms where we convene all development partners with line ministries to basically provide what has happened in their sector,” the minister said, “We also need to review the vision going forward and how we can create synergies and complementarities between different financing or technical assistance, with help or support from different development partners.”
Minister Al-Mashat also mentioned that the second principle relates to ODA mapping for the SDGs, which is extremely important.
She added, “The third principle is global partnership narrative, how can we all gather together and have a narrative that discusses what a country has been doing in our case, our narrative that we chose is people and project and purpose, people at the core and projects and action and purpose as the driver.”
The minister said that 2020 is a very good year to be representing Egypt globally, whether it was at the EBRD or the World Bank annual meetings. The country has also been singled out as a country with positive growth rates during 2020, and commensurate expectations for growth in 2021.
Minister Al-Mashat said that the basis of these positive projections are in the important monetary and fiscal reforms that took place between 2016 and 2019. These have significantly reduced the negative impacts of the pandemic
“We had a very clear vision on how we should move forward when it comes to infrastructure, as we looked at sector reforms in education, social solidarity and many others, and this is truly what helped us enter 2020 with a very strong footing,” the minister said, “What is even more compelling, is that we continued the reform process in 2020 and have an outlook for 2021. The topic of the discussion is the mean recovery.”