The Ministry of International Cooperation and the European Union (EU) signed on Monday a number of development financing agreements worth €138m, within the framework of the Egyptian-European partnership; supporting Egypt’s development efforts in various sectors, namely rural and community development, administrative reform, local development, environment, and health.
The agreements included a €24m grant from the EU’s Integrated Rural Development programme and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation to support Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. A €5 grant will also be directed to the Public Financial Management project with the Ministry of Finance. More €5 will go to the Sustainable Development Strategy and the Administrative Reform Plan to support the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, and the Central Agency for Organisation Administration (CAOA), within the framework of “EU Support to Enhanced Administrative and Public Economic Governance in Egypt” programme, which will be implemented through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
An agreement for launching the “Decentralization and Integrated Local Development with a Special Emphasis on Upper Egypt” project was also signed, worth €7m in grants, within the framework of “EU Support to Enhanced Administrative and Public Economic Governance in Egypt”, which will be implemented through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in support of the Ministry of Local Development. A €14m grant for the “EU Green – EU Support for Growth through Egyptian Environmental Networks” programme was also signed, and will be implemented through the GIZ, to support the Ministry of Environment.
This is in addition to a €3m grant for the Community Development Program between the EU and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA). Moreover, the disbursement of the second tranche was announced to support the budget, worth €80m in grants to support the Ministry of Health and Population.
Egypt and the EU have a long strategic relationship. From 1977 to 1995, Egypt signed the Cooperation Framework Agreement with the EU, according to which 4 cooperation protocols were signed. Current cooperation is reflected in the Egyptian- European partnership agreement as a legal framework that governs the relationship between Egypt and the EU; the action plan within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) signed in 2001, that entered into force in 2004; and the partnership priorities between Egypt and the EU to strengthen cooperation in support of the country’s development agenda with about €1bn in grants in the total current cooperation portfolio, supporting various sectors.
During the signing ceremony, Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, emphasized the importance of the strategic relations between Egypt and the EU.
Al-Mashat added that the Government of Egypt is committed to enhancing its development cooperation with the EU within the framework of the new 2021 – 2027 partnership that will encompass development in vital sectors including, a transition to the green economy, new and renewable energy projects, and rural development. The Minister explained that the grants signed today are an example of multilateral cooperation with development partners, supporting development in priority sectors.
The Minister of International Cooperation explained that since 2008, the EU has mobilized €650m in grants for various development sectors, contributing to the provision of €7bn in concessional financing provided by European financial institutions and member states of development banks. She also pointed out that the partnership with the EU has strengthened blended finance to implement development projects in Egypt, thus stimulating private sector participation.
EU Ambassador to Egypt, Christian Berger, said: “Europe Day is a wonderful occasion to highlight the strategic relations between the EU and Egypt, and to strengthen our cooperation and long-standing partnership that began 45 years ago. Together, we celebrate the launch of programs that will improve the lives of many Egyptians across sectors, including agriculture, climate, housing, health and governance.”
The signing ceremony was on the Europe Day, 9 May. The ceremony was attended also by Minister of Environment, Yasmine Fouad; Chairman of the National Bureau for the Implementation of the Egypt-EU Association Agreement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Omar Aboueish; the President of the Central Agency for Organisation Administration (CAOA), Saleh El Sheikh, with a number of representatives from ministries, ambassadors of EU member states, and development partners.