The current portfolio of cooperation between Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has amounted to $1.3bn.
Since 2012, the EBRD has invested over €7.2bn to implement 127 projects, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
She added that in 2020, Egypt was the EBRD’s largest country of operations in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, receiving more than €1bn finance for 21 projects; accounting for 47% of the bank’s total investments in the region. Egypt was also the largest country of operations for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019.
Minister Al-Mashat’s remarks came on the sidelines of her participation in the EBRD’s 2021 Annual Meetings & Business Forum, titled “Building a Better and More Equal Future: Voices from the EBRD Region”.
The forum discussed ways to mitigate the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, tapping on the importance of multilateralism in order to ensure recovery.
Along with Al-Mashat, the panel was attended by Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister of Serbia; Ivan Mrvos, Croatian founder and CEO of tech firm Include; Cholpon Jumashukurov, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Highland Capital; Barbara Rambousek, EBRD Director of Gender and Economic Inclusion; Uros Bultovic, Founder and President of the Union Of Young Entrepreneurs of Montenegro. The discussion was moderated by Zeinab Badawi, International broadcaster.
During the meeting, they discussed ways to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable groups, especially the youth and women, and tackled structural reforms led by the countries to push forward economic recovery of all stakeholders. Al-Mashat stated that reform is a continuous process, and that despite the pandemic and its recessions in most of the countries, Egypt has achieved positive growth rates due to the 2016 to 2019 reform programs that helped cushion the country in such a challenging time.
“In 2016-2019, we had ambitious reform programs, as well as structural reforms, that prepared us on the fiscal side as we were entering 2020 and during the pandemic,” she explained.
When the pandemic hit, Egypt’s priority was to protect its people, provide liquidity to firms and consumers and implement reforms in order for the economic cycle to continue, she added.
Al-Mashat emphasized the importance of multilateralism and the international community’s participation, especially when it comes to designing national programs to push the inclusion of women and youth, which is the true nature of stakeholder engagement.
“When we say inclusion, everybody has a place on the table, and that’s the spirit of stakeholder engagement,” Al-Mashat added.
For her part, Ana Brnabić stated that what has helped Serbia in recovering from the pandemic, is the 2016 economic transformation from a labor intensive driven economy to a knowledge-based economy. She praised the rise of the employment rate in 2020, as Serbia has provided support packages to invest in the economy and people.
In 2020, the EBRD responded to the pandemic with record investment of €11bn through 411 projects, addressing the urgent needs of its 38 Countries of Operation.
Rambousek stated that the EBRD focuses on strengthening partnerships through bringing together different stakeholders to the same table in order to achieve profound impact.