Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has said that the second phase of the country’s proposed structural reforms for this year are focused on sectoral reform.
Minister Al-Mashat also said that they complement the process of reforms that the government started in 2016, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the financial and monetary sector.
The minister’s remarks came during her first meeting with multilateral and bilateral development partners regarding new structural reforms that the Egyptian Government aims to implement during fiscal year (FY) 2020/21.
The meeting comes as part of the government’s negotiations with the World Bank Group (WBG) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on Development Policy Financing in support of the state budget.
The meeting was attended by representatives from several multilateral and bilateral development partners, including: the WBG; the AIIB; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); the European Investment Bank (EIB); and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among others.
During the speech, she stressed the importance of the structural reforms that the Egyptian Government seeks to implement to achieve a sustainable economic recovery and the ability to withstand future challenges.
Minister Al-Mashat emphasised Egypt’s success in implementing the homegrown economic reform programme that was put in place between 2016 and 2019. The reforms helped cushion the country during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, enhanced development plans, and achieved positive growth rates despite recessions in most countries.
Marina Wes, the WBG’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, said that the ongoing dialogue between the WBG and its partners including the government, civil society, private sector, and international partners, is the central focus of the bank’s work.
She added that the first phase of economic reforms ensured economic resilience, whilst the second phase is expected to help Egypt recover from the repercussions of the pandemic. This is expected to take place through the private sector-led development efforts.
Senior Investment Operations Specialist at the AIIB, GP Zhang, emphasised the Development Policy Financing programme support of the Egyptian budget as an important process to push for the government’s response and reform plans in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that it is also crucial that the economic recovery be completed in a comprehensive and sustainable manner. Zhang expressed the AIIB’s appreciation for the confidence that the Government of Egypt places in the bank to finance the process.
Said Bakhache, Senior Resident Representative in Egypt for the IMF, also applauded Egypt’s ability in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. He stressed the IMF’s support for all the efforts made to access budget support financing, and indicated that the programme budgets a means to develop the economy.
Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, said that the UN is willing to support the Development Policy Financing programme through ongoing partnerships with the government. This is with a view to align the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the second phase of reforms.
The meeting is the first of a series of talks to address the proposed structural reforms in light of the Development Policy Financing programme, with the multilateral and bilateral development partners, the private sector and the civil society organisations.
The Development Policy Financing programme is one of the financing mechanisms initiated by the WBG to help countries achieve development results by supporting policy and institutional reforms through financing the state’s budget.
These programmes aim to achieve a variety of benefits including enhancing the macro-fiscal sustainability, enabling the private sector development in the sustainable energy supply, and improving the business climate.