Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed on Saturday two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in the field of green hydrogen and tourism, as well as the establishment of Alexandria Metro.
This all comes within the framework of the state’s determination to transition to a green economy through innovative strategies, increasing investment in human capital, and shifting to a sustainable and green transportation sector as part of the country’s 2050 strategy for climate action.
The signings came during a conference on launching the joint country strategy between Egypt and the EBRD.
The Ministry of International Cooperation and the EBRD signed a development financing agreement worth €250m for the implementation of the Alexandria Metro project, which aims to develop and supply the existing Abu Qir railway linking downtown Alexandria with the Abu Qir area, which is located in the northeast of the governorate, and providing it with electricity to become a highly efficient metro system.
The Ministries of Electricity and Renewable Energy and Petroleum and Mineral Resources also signed with the EBRD an MoU on assessing the prospects of a low carbon hydrogen economy in Egypt. This technical support aims to understand the technical, economic, and regulatory feasibility of developing hydrogen supply chains in the context of the economy.
Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers also signed an MoU with the bank on cooperating in establishing a tourism Sector Skills Council (SSC) in Egypt, through which the bank will provide technical support with the aim of training young men and women to identify the skills required in the market, develop qualification frameworks, and provide training in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
During the conference, Rania Al-Mashat — the Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the EBRD — said that the cooperation documents signed with the EBRD reflect the strategic relationship between the two sides and their role in supporting the development efforts in Egypt is considered the beginning of joint action within the framework of the new cooperation strategy.
“These agreements stimulate efforts made within the framework of green transformation, reducing harmful emissions, increasing investment in human capital, supporting competencies, and developing the skills of workers in the tourism sector, as well as developing the transportation infrastructure to become more sustainable and keeping pace with technological developments,” she added.
“They will also promote joint work between the relevant parties and stimulate the participation of the private sector in development plans in a way that enhances the state’s development vision and provides soft development funds and technical support in line with the strategic priorities of green, comprehensive, and sustainable economic transformation.”
Furthermore, Al-Mashat stressed that the coming period will witness more areas of cooperation with the EBRD within the framework of the new 2022-2027 strategy to meet the state’s development priorities and the strategies it implements to advance all sectors.
Mark Bowman — the Vice President of the ERBD for Policy and Partnerships — said that the bank had provided financing exceeding €8.6bn since the beginning of its work in the Egyptian market. So far, they have been directed to support more than 140 projects in Egypt to increase the participation of the private sector in the Egyptian economy.
Bowman also indicated that the bank supports Egypt’s 2030 plan to transform into a more inclusive economy that provides financing to the private sector.
He stated that the bank will continue to support Egypt to combat climate change and provide appropriate financing opportunities for projects to increase the added value of the industry and the reforms it needs within the partnership plan with Egyptthat was officially signed last month.
For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that the approval of the strategy is the culmination of the great effort exerted over the past months, praising the efforts of Al-Mashat and her ministry for leading a comprehensive consultative process.
He stated that the foreign ministry also contributed to consultations at the national level and through Egypt’s embassies abroad.
Furthermore, Shoukry explained that the approval of the strategy coincides with the continuation of Egyptian efforts to achieve sustainable development in a way that achieves the aspirations of the Egyptian people and contributes to its development at all levels.
He also pointed out that several challenges face these efforts, whether in connection with the prevailing international political climate or the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and its manifold repercussions, and that the value of the strategy is multiplied in terms of supporting Egypt’s ability to absorb those challenges.
“The cooperation between Egypt and the EBRD is gaining additional dimensions that we seek to translate into tangible, practical reality through the implementation of the cooperation strategy between Egypt and the bank,” said Shoukry.
He explained that the Egyptian economy has become, more than ever before, more capable of absorbing shocks and overcoming crises and more capable of attracting foreign investments within the framework of the ambitious development plan implemented by the state under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Shoukry also said that the launch of the cooperation strategy between Egypt and the bank also comes in the context of Egypt’s hosting of the next session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh this November.