Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met, on Tuesday, with Han-Maurits Schaapveld, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Cairo, to discuss expanding and reinforcing bilateral cooperation.
The meeting also witnessed the participation of Marjolein Jongman, Head of Economic Affairs and Development Cooperation (HEOS) at the Dutch Embassy in Egypt; and Jean-Louis Martens, Deputy Head Economic Department at the Embassy.
This comes within the framework of the periodic meetings convened by Al-Mashat with multilateral and bilateral development partners to discuss expanding and reinforcing international cooperation and, hence, pushing the frontiers of Egypt’s Vision 2030 through development financing agreements; and accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the meeting, the Minister of International Cooperation and the Dutch ambassador in Cairo discussed aspects of international cooperation and development financing between the two countries, which shall foster joint sustainable development frameworks. The discussions further tackled cooperation frameworks in the areas pertaining to women’s empowerment, family planning, and combating illegal immigration.
The meeting highlighted the partnership between the Embassy of the Netherlands and the private sector’s major partner: Bank of Alexandria. This initiative, launched through the Ministry of International Cooperation’ entrepreneurial programme “Orange Corners Egypt”, aims to provide training, communication networks, and facilities for entrepreneurs to start and develop their innovative businesses. The initiative includes two business incubation programs; one in Cairo and the other in Upper Egypt (Assiut). Each program provides 6-month training courses, offered on a recurring basis, for 15 to 25 entrepreneurs at a time.
The Minister of International Cooperation elaborated that the Ministry has developed a three-pillar economic diplomacy framework, consisting of: Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs), ODA-SDG Mapping, and Global Partnerships Narrative.
By the same token, Al- Mashat emphasized that the ODA-SDG Mapping tracks national achievements obtained through international partnerships; provides the data needed for making informed decisions with regards to future partnerships; as well as promoting principles of transparency and governance towards effective development cooperation.
Al-Mashat also touched on the launch of her book “Stakeholder Engagement through Economic Diplomacy”; documenting Egypt’s experience in the field of international cooperation and development financing and crafts a model for other emerging and developing countries in quest for the enhancement of regional and international cooperation.
For his part, the Dutch ambassador in Cairo applauded the joint relations between the two countries since the 1960s, which supported development projects in many sectors, including agriculture, irrigation, industry, health, housing, transportation, electricity, supply, education, and local development and utilities. Schaapveld noted that the Netherlands supported several projects implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP), in cooperation with national authorities in Upper Egypt; adding that there have been ongoing efforts to support the private sector in Egypt in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
It is worth mentioning that Egypt and the Netherlands have had joint economic cooperation relations consolidated through technical and financial agreements since 1975. The cooperation portfolio between the two sides amounts to EUR 348 m to finance projects in several sectors, including agriculture, irrigation, industry, and health.