Cairo – Mubasher: Minister of International Cooperation Rania El-Mashat took part in the G-24 ministerial meeting, as part of the 2021 annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WBG) meetings, to speak about Egypt’s development and achievements in the reform agenda this past year, according to a statement on Thursday.
Alongside El-Mashat, the virtual event included the participation of Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s Managing Director; and David Malpass, the President of WBG.
Despite that 2020 has been a challenging year, El-Mashat expressed that it was through multilateralism and strengthened cooperation that the Egyptian government has been able to put in motion its “COVID 19: Response and Rebuild” strategy that helped mitigate the pandemic’s health and socio-economic impacts.
“Collective global solidarity creates the necessary space for an inclusive and sustainable environment that is resilient to future shocks,” said El-Mashat.
Now is the most opportune time for a renewed and reinvigorated kind of multilateralism – a socio-economic system in which there is increased dialogue, connectivity, transparency, and meaningful partnerships that ultimately serve human ends and goals. El-Mashat added that the pandemic has highlighted that common problems require comprehensive, inclusive, and coordinated global solutions with the full participation of all members of the international community.
Despite an increase in the financing gap for the implementation of development projects and a decrease in the global facilitated development financing by 8%, the Ministry of International Cooperation was able to secure $9.8 billion in development financing dedicated to supporting economic growth in 2020; $6.7 billion was secured for financing sovereign projects, and $3.1 billion was for the private sector.
El-Mashat clarified that Egypt’s reform agenda is centred around a greener and more inclusive private sector-led growth. She added that the Egyptian government has taken positive strides in transitioning to a green and resilient economy, promoting equal opportunity, and enhancing digitisation.
By expediting reforms and developing despite the pandemic’s impact, Egypt’s economy was one of the few in the world to escape recession with a positive GDP growth rate of 3.6%. Pushing through a challenging 2021, Egypt is prevailing economically with a growth rate of 2.5% and forecasted to grow further at 5.7% as reported by the International Monetary Fund’s “World Economic Outlook” published in April 2021.
Intertwining Green Recovery with Private Sector Engagement
In line with Egypt’s 2030 National Agenda, the Egyptian government has been prioritising achieving environmental, social and governance impact, with an appetite for ‘progressive’ investments that address a sustainable and resilient future across a diverse range of sectors. Pushing for green bonds is a key part of the country’s green strategy.
“We are redesigning development finance to ensure that collectively, international partners, the private sector, and civil society - achieve a world that is more inclusive,” said El-Mashat.
Egypt sold $750 million in green bonds in September 2020 in what was the region’s first sovereign offering of climate-friendly securities. The issuance was almost five times oversubscribed, attracting some $3.7 billion worth of orders for the bonds, pointing to growing appetites for climate-friendly securities worldwide. The bonds will finance the development of Egypt’s $1.9 billion portfolio of green projects, including clean transportation, renewable energy, and sustainable water management.
Progress towards Impact
“In order to move forward and build on the progress of the past years, we need multilateralism and cooperation more than ever to create the future we all want to be part of, to enhance livelihoods of people in low and middle-income countries, and to empower communities to achieve sustainable development,” said Al-Mashat.
The minister encouraged that multilateral development banks (MDBs) support Egypt’s commitment to green recovery by facilitating the development financing conditions and processes, by waiving the front-end fee and lowering the interests; and to extend their blended finance instruments in order to deepen the local capital markets and boost the SMEs economic inclusion.
In the previous G-24 Ministerial Meeting in October 2020, El-Mashat spoke about the impact the pandemic has had on global economies, particularly Africa and the Middle East, while highlighting the importance for countries to resort to multilateralism to support a quick economic recovery, and recommended an increase of blended finance tools for implementing national development agendas.