The Ministry of International Cooperation and the World Bank (WB) are expanding their collective efforts to improve the resilience of Egypt’s agriculture sector through a $500m loan.
After a period of extensive dialogue and coordination between Egypt’s ministries and World Bank officials, the WB approved a loan for the establishment of the Emergency Food Security and Resilience Support Project, which aims to reduce the global impact of the conflict in Ukraine on food and nutrition security in Egypt.
As per Egypt’s national reforms to reclaim more agricultural land and transform the sector — which is a major driver of the economy and provides for 57% of the population — the project will finance the public procurement of one-month’ supply of imported wheat for the Bread Subsidy Programme, which supports around 70m low-income Egyptians, including approximately 31m people living under the national poverty line.
The project will also support national efforts to reduce waste and loss in the wheat supply chain through upgrading and expanding climate-resilient wheat silos, sustainably improving domestic cereal production, and strengthening Egypt’s preparedness and resilience to future shocks.
Since 2014, Egypt has expanded its investments in the National Project for Silos, which aims to build 50 grain and wheat storage silos across 17 governorates and has raised the country’s storage capacity from 1.2m tonnes to 3.4m tonnes between 2014 and 2018.
“This project supports the government’s strong commitment to ensuring that the needs of citizens continue to be met, even amid the challenging global context caused by several crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine,” said Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
“In addition to ensuring sustained food security — a vital element to the wellbeing of citizens — this project supports national climate efforts that also aim to improve the quality of life for Egyptians.”
This loan is expected to support Egypt by mobilising immediate short-term relief to address supply and price shocks while simultaneously bolstering the country’s longer-term food security strategy and improved nutrition for the poor and vulnerable.
“This emergency operation comes at a very critical juncture when the food security of many countries is threatened by the war in Ukraine,” said Marina Wes — WB Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti.
“It is part of the WB’s broader efforts to support Egypt’s green, inclusive, and resilient recovery. As always, we are keen to continuously support Egypt in overcoming obstacles to its ambitious sustainable development plans and to further enable the country to pave the way for a prosperous and productive future for all its citizens.”
Egypt’s upcoming hosting of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh this November will address the nexus between food security and climate change and will focus on shifting from pledges to implementation and deploying resources to the most needed areas in the world.
In light of this, the project incorporates climate change efforts through a variety of interventions, including via investments to modernise wheat silos to significantly reduce wheat waste and loss, as well as introducing training programmes for farmers that promote climate-smart agricultural practices.