Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has revealed that 23 projects have been implemented as part of the European Union’s (EU) cross-border cooperation for the Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme (CBC MED).
These programmes were set up during the six-year period from 2014 to 2020, the minister said, with the CBC MED contributing to accelerating the pace towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also enhances economic growth for the Mediterranean basin countries.
Minister Al-Mashat applauded the EU’s funding of €208m for this programme, which benefits 14 countries. This programme also represents the largest cross-border cooperation implemented by the EU, and aligns with the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
It was put in place with the aim of creating a competitive, innovative, inclusive, and sustainable Mediterranean region.
Under the programme, the EU launched four regional projects that aim to establish and develop business incubators, and provide technical and financial assistance, as well as support to entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This is in addition to supporting innovation and advancing business support organisations so as to develop the services provided, especially to SMEs.
Minister Al-Mashat added that this programme aims to promote sustainable regional economic and social development, which may enhance cross-border cooperation and value the regions of the participating countries.
This is in addition to facing the common challenges that countries experience. The minister also pointed to the high rate of unemployment, climate change risks, and other challenges as huge obstacles facing the region.
She added that four new projects come as part of Egypt’s keenness in enhancing and supporting innovation, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
Minister Al-Mashat also said that these projects come within the Ministry of International Cooperation’s development framework that has been developed through international partnerships.
She applauded the CBC MED programme, as the previous phase was able to reach more than 10 million people so they could benefit from newly developed services. The phase also sought to provide training to 35,000 people, whilst supporting 344 start-ups, developing 215 heritage sites, and supporting the work of 144 tour operators.
That phase was also able to produce more than 1 million kWh of clean energy, and allow entry of nine ports to the Mediterranean Sea, as part of the initiative that aims to enhance logistics services.
Minister Al-Mashat said that she expects many results to be achieved within the programme’s new phase, in order to enhance development efforts. This will take place by bridging the financing, gender, and technological gaps, and to enable countries to overcome the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.