Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation has revealed that $905m has been secured for three social solidarity projects as part of its ongoing development financing portfolio.
This includes the first phase of the Takaful and Karama project to support social safety nets, which received $400m, and its second phase, signed last year, which received $500m.
The latest figures come as part of a statement, made by the Ministry of International Cooperation, outlining its development financing portfolio secured from multilateral and bilateral development partners for the social solidarity sector.
The statement was made in front of the Committees of Social Solidarity, Family, and Persons with Disabilities, at the House of Representatives. During the ministry’s meeting with the committees, it also discussed the development funds agreed upon for the housing, and water and sanitation sectors in 2020.
The remarks were made by Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat at the recent plenary session of the House of Representatives on implementing the Government’s “Egypt Kicks Off” development programme for fiscal year (FY) 2018/19-2021/22.
The meeting was attended by: Mona Ahmed, Head of the Asian Cooperation Sector at the Ministry; Sherine Taha, Assistant Minister for International Cooperation overseeing cooperation files with international financial institutions and economic research; and Sherihan Bakhit, Assistant Minister of International Cooperation overseeing cooperation files with the Americas and Europe.
During the Ministry of International Cooperation’s statement before the House of Representatives, the ministry officials outlined other programmes that the ministry is involved with. This includes the Equal Opportunities and Social Development Program in Cairo, Alexandria, Assiut and Aswan, which has received $2.2m in funding from Germany.
They noted that Egypt and Italy have also signed an agreement worth $2.7m for the Social Welfare Project in Luxor. This comes as part of the Debt-Swap agreement, in cooperation with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
They added that the development funds directed to social solidarity support the implementation of the national development agenda, and protect the most vulnerable groups.
This is particularly important regarding the state’s progress in implementing economic and structural reform programmes, which take place through establishing effective and fair social protection networks.
These have been set up to mitigate the repercussions of the Egyptian Government’s economic reform programmes, implemented between 2016 and 2019, and the modernisation of the social protection system.
This includes promoting community participation and the inclusion of youth, women, and people with disabilities in the development process. These funds also support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely SDG 1 relating to No Poverty, SDG 5 relating to Gender Equality, and SDG 10 relating to Reduced Inequalities.
The ministry officials also explained the details of the development projects under the housing, and water and sanitation sectors. Development funds amounting to $1.42bn have been secured from multilateral and bilateral development partners which have gone to implementing 10 projects supporting the state’s goals of providing housing for citizens with low incomes.
The funding has also gone to expanding water treatment plants to improve agricultural development, establishing desalination plants to increase the amount of drinking water, and ensuring access to sanitation services in several governorates.
It is worth noting that Minister Al-Mashat presented her ministry’s role in implementing the Government’s “Egypt Kicks Off” development programme. She highlighted her ministry’s efforts in the past 12 months using the principles of Economic Diplomacy, to strengthen the relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners.
These efforts have also gone towards securing development funds in various sectors through international partnerships.
The year 2020 was an economically challenging year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which caused an increased financing gap for the implementation of development projects. The pandemic also cause an overall decrease in the global facilitation of development financing by 8%.
Nonetheless, the Ministry of International Cooperation was able to secure $9.8bn in development financing since January 2020, proving the resilience of the Egyptian economy in face of the pandemic. The secured amount includes state sectors, as well as the private sector and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Development financing of about $6.7bn was secured for financing sovereign projects presenting 67.7% of the portfolio total, with the private sector taking $3.1bn, or 32.3%. This reflects the government’s commitment to strengthening the participation of the private sector in development efforts.