Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has participated in the 2021 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF).
The minister provided her input at the panel “Investing in the SDGs: How can public and private financing be scaled up to unlock catalytic investments for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda?”
The panel was chaired by Sergiy Kyslytsya, ECOSOC Vice President, and moderated by Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution.
Alongside Minister Al-Mashat on the panel was Jutta Urpilainen, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships. Lead discussants were: Nina Angelovska, the Global UNCTAD Advocate for Women in eTrade; and Jason Rosario Braganza, the Executive Director of African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD).
The panellists also included: Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank); Joyce Chang, Chair of Global Research for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank; and Anna Gelpern, Professor at Georgetown University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Minister Al-Mashat discussed unlocking investment opportunities for national development that are aligned with the global goals. She also reviewed the role of Economic Diplomacy in Egypt’s experience with international cooperation, the country’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the closing of financing gaps.
The minister said that the three principles of Economic Diplomacy have helped the country progress during challenging times.
This includes hosting multi-stakeholder platforms to streamline plans and ensure a transparent country-led framework for development. It also involves mapping the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), to institutionalise sustainable progress.
She also noted that the principles include the Global Partnerships Narrative that forges a common, unified language between Egypt and its development partners.
During the event, Minister Al-Mashat shared that she recently launched her new book, titled “Stakeholder Engagement through Economic Diplomacy”. The book details Egypt’s transparency and accountability in tracking and progressing its national projects, in line with the global goals.
This pioneering approach to mapping the global goals alongside the development financing is a major cornerstone of Egypt’s development story.
“By providing clear allocations of development financing to the SDGs, and showcasing what goals are being met, these are all distinguishing factors that show compelling evidence of the progress that is being done nationally,” said Minister Al-Mashat.
She added that such a clear development framework helps identify financial gaps, and provides the needed data needed to pave the way to an informed decision-making process regarding future partnerships.
Another aspect addressed during the panel discussion is building back post-pandemic and recovering from the repercussions posed by the health crisis.
The minister shared that Egypt is continuously reforming, and that to ensure a resilient, innovative, and inclusive reform strategy, the Egyptian Government is focused on engaging with the private sector through public-private partnerships.
For her part, Urpilainen said, “Investing in the global goals is a crucial issue we are faced with as the world recovers from the pandemic.”
“Over the past year, the European Union has mobilised €40m to address the pandemic’s consequences across the world,” she added.
Meanwhile, Chang said that, while 2020 was a difficult year, it was also a critical year for green recovery and sustainability bonds, showing potential for growth.
Likewise for Egypt, Minister Al-Mashat said that green financing tools are a major part of the country’s sustainable recovery plan. It aims to redesign development finance and incorporate blended finance instruments to attract investment.
Going forward, there is a focus on inclusive development and gender equality. Egypt has taken strides in recent years by pushing forward gender-inclusive policies.
“We need greater participation of women in technology, in leadership, and in digital work, as digital isn’t a magic word, but is an enabler,” said Nina Angelovska, the Global UNCTAD Advocate for Women in eTrade.
With less than nine years to go until the 2030 global goals, accelerating progress will continue to be at the forefront of local and global priorities. Through the principles of Economic Diplomacy, Egypt was able to stay on track in its national development agenda; in line with the SDGs, and continues to move forward.
By the end of 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation declared that 98% of the country’s sustainable development projects were on track.