Prime Minister discusses cooperation with World Bank’s Vice President

Daily News Egypt
7 Min Read

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held a meeting with Osman Dion, Vice President of the World Bank Group for the Middle East and North Africa. The meeting took place during the opening session of the 2024 Annual Joint Meetings of Arab Financial Institutions, which was organized on behalf of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The distinguished attendees included Hassan Abdalla (Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt), Hala El-Said (Minister of Planning and Economic Development), Mohamed Maait (Minister of Finance), Rania Al-Mashat (Minister of International Cooperation), ElSayed ElKosayer (Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation), Stefan G. Nalletamby (Regional Director of the World Bank for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti), Abdel Aziz Al-Mulla (Executive Director at the World Bank Group), Sheikh Omar Sillah (Regional Director for North Africa at the International Finance Corporation), and Mark Ahern (Lead Economist at the World Bank’s Egypt office).

Prime Minister Madbouly warmly welcomed the World Bank and International Finance Corporation officials to the New Administrative Capital. He emphasized the enduring strategic partnership between the World Bank Group and the Egyptian government, spanning various ministries and government bodies.

Madbouly highlighted recent bilateral meetings that focused on advancing cooperation across multiple areas. He also acknowledged the significance of the “IFC Day in Egypt” conference, which facilitated productive dialogue between the private and public sectors.

The Prime Minister praised the technical and financial cooperation programs between Egypt and the World Bank. These programs aim to support the private sector, create employment opportunities, enhance capacities, and build a resilient economy capable of withstanding external shocks. Madbouly also recognized collaboration in other fields.

Specifically, he commended the World Bank’s support in state-owned enterprise governance and competitiveness enhancement—a key component of their ongoing joint programs. Additionally, he lauded the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a strategic partner in the government’s offerings.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Madbouly outlined the bold economic reforms implemented by the government in recent years, including pivotal fiscal and monetary policy decisions.

Osman Dion, Vice President of the World Bank Group for the Middle East and North Africa, expressed pride in the strategic partnership with Egypt. He detailed areas of cooperation, emphasizing the alignment with Egypt’s policies to boost private sector participation in the economy. Despite challenges, Dion affirmed that Egypt is well-positioned for significant growth.

Dion also highlighted the World Bank’s focus on agriculture and food security. Their support extends to the “NWFE” program, which targets agriculture, energy, and water sectors. Furthermore, the World Bank backs water desalination projects and the adoption of modern irrigation technologies.

Dion underscored the institution’s keen interest in supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt, expressing a desire to expand their assistance to these vital economic components. Egypt remains a hub for talent, innovation, and economic progress in the Arab world.

In response, Madbouly expressed his deep appreciation to the World Bank officials for their unwavering support. He highlighted that bolstering SMEs is a pivotal government objective, pursued through a comprehensive national strategy designed to foster the growth of these enterprises with urgency.

In terms of agricultural collaboration with the World Bank, Madbouly valued the institution’s assistance in adopting cutting-edge agricultural technologies, with a special focus on irrigation and water desalination techniques. He underscored the government’s pledge to preserve every drop of water and to optimize its utilization.

The Prime Minister concurred with the World Bank Vice President on the critical need to bolster the private sector. He remarked that the Egyptian government is diligently executing its strategy to escalate private sector involvement in overall state investments and to augment its share in the GDP to 65% in the forthcoming period.

Central Bank Governor Hassan Abdalla confirmed the robust and esteemed ties with the World Bank Group and the IFC, looking forward to expanded collaboration ahead.

Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said, elaborated on the structural reforms initiated by the government in vital sectors such as industry, agriculture, and ICT. These reforms are directed at enhancing the private sector’s share in the GDP. She observed that this share is progressively increasing and is expected to achieve the set objectives soon.

She stressed that to back the industrial sector, an integral component of the structural reforms, the government is swiftly establishing technological institutes and universities to cultivate skilled professionals and technicians for the domestic industrial sector. She cited the recent launch of El Sewedy Technical University by the Prime Minister as a testament to this effort.

Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, sketched the bilateral cooperation between Egypt and the World Bank within the country partnership framework. This encompasses support for the private sector, capacity enhancement, and aid in vital domains such as foreign direct investment analyses and manufacturing strategy formulation.

She also touched upon the Development Policy Financing program, sponsored by the World Bank and its partners. The program comprises essential elements like boosting competitiveness, refining the business milieu, fortifying public finance against unforeseen events, and endorsing ecological transformation, among other facets.

She alluded to the ongoing intensive dialogues with the World Bank team to finalize the collaborative program in technical and financial backing, targeting the governance of state-owned enterprises.

Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, commended the World Bank for its instrumental technical and financial aid in public finance and taxation reforms, as well as its pivotal contribution to the comprehensive health insurance scheme and the “Takaful and Karama” welfare initiative.

Minister of Agriculture ElSayed ElKosayer spotlighted the broad cooperation programs wherein the World Bank furnishes technical and financial assistance in agriculture, notably in food security initiatives under the “NWFE” program and advanced irrigation systems. He articulated the aspiration to intensify this partnership with the global entity.

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