Environment Minister discusses private sector’s role in advancing Egypt’s industrial environmental integration

Daily News Egypt
6 Min Read

Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad convened with the African Development Bank’s delegation, led by Chief Industrial Policy Officer Olivier Stolz, to deliberate on the Ministry’s reformative actions under the Private Sector Development Support Programme’s second phase. This aligns with the strategic cooperation framework between Egypt and the bank for 2022-2026.

The assembly included Ali Abu Sena, Environmental Affairs Agency Head; Soha Taher, International Cooperation Central Department Head at the Ministry; Karim Morsi, Private Sector Advisor to the Minister; Doaa Orabi, African Cooperation Portfolio Director at the Ministry of International Cooperation; and the African Development Bank’s mission members.

Minister Fouad underscored the strategic reforms’ role in embedding environmental considerations within the industrial sector, leveraging private sector engagement to foster industry competitiveness. These efforts are in sync with national environmental statutes, including the Environmental Law and Waste Management Law, underscoring the government’s commitment to expanding private sector participation in the green industry and associated projects.

Fouad highlighted the Ministry’s initiatives to weave environmental elements into diverse developmental sectors, fostering a conducive environment for private sector investment by transforming challenges into economically incentivized opportunities. She emphasized the ministry’s longstanding dedication to environmental adherence within the industry, tracing back to the inception of the Industrial Pollution Control Programme in 1999, supported by various development allies and financial institutions.

The programme, spanning three phases, has been instrumental in aiding the industrial sector’s compliance with environmental norms through the formulation and execution of tailored environmental compliance plans, complemented by soft loans at a 2.5% interest rate.

The minister also touched upon the recent global embrace of green transformation, which has catalyzed the forthcoming “Sustainable Green Industry” phase of the Industrial Pollution Control Programme, poised for launch with a €271m endowment from the European Investment Bank. This initiative is set to bolster circular economy principles, resource efficiency, and sustainability, pivoting on renewable energy adoption, industrial effluent reduction, and water reuse strategies—mirroring Egypt’s integrated approach to environmental and natural resource management as a pivotal investment impetus over the last trio of years.

“The COP27 climate summit served as a pivotal platform for Egypt to champion the green shift, reshape environmental perceptions, and integrate the private sector through holistic resource management methodologies,” Minister Fouad remarked.

She lauded the Egyptian cement sector’s initiative to integrate alternative fuels into their operational energy framework, progressively diminishing coal dependency. This move, supported by the Industrial Pollution Control Programme, has yielded reciprocal gains for both the cement and waste recycling sectors.

Minister Fouad also highlighted a series of strategic initiatives aimed at bolstering private sector engagement in Egypt’s burgeoning green industry. This includes the development of guidance manuals across six key sectors, which will pave the way for obtaining the coveted Golden License, thereby fostering the growth of environmentally compliant industries.

The Cabinet is poised to release these manuals shortly. In tandem, a novel feed-in tariff has been introduced, catalyzing the conversion of waste to energy. This initiative is part of a broader collaborative effort led by the Ministry of Environment, alongside pertinent ministries, to galvanize private sector participation in the design, construction, and management of waste-to-energy projects. The first of these projects, boasting an investment of EGP 120m, is already underway. The new tariff is set to invigorate renewable energy ventures, reflecting the nation’s commitment to its national contribution plans, bolstering the waste recycling industry, and facilitating the enactment of the Waste Management Law through economic incentives.

Further emphasizing the ministry’s dedication to sustainable development, Minister Fouad highlighted the bioeconomy strategy, crafted in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). This strategy forges a vital link between the agricultural and industrial sectors and has already yielded feasibility studies for several private sector-led investment projects, including those centred on Jojoba and Aloe Vera cultivation. These initiatives were showcased at the inaugural Environmental and Climate Investment Forum, heralding new vistas for private-sector investment.

Olivier Stolz, the African Development Bank’s Chief Industrial Policy Officer, voiced the bank’s keen interest in the Ministry of Environment’s reformative measures, which are designed to seamlessly integrate environmental considerations into the industrial fabric, thereby enhancing competitiveness. These reforms resonate with the bank’s overarching objective of fostering a responsible and sustainable private sector, as well as the formulation of a strategic climate framework that emphasizes climate finance projects and budgetary support initiatives. These efforts are particularly focused on bolstering private sector resilience and involvement, especially in water and food security projects.

Stolz also conveyed his enthusiasm for collaborating with the ministry on the development of the Golden License guidance manuals, which will incorporate stringent environmental standards, and the execution of the bioeconomy strategy, both of which are integral to the policy reforms championing the green transition.

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