Cairo – Mubasher: The Minister of International Cooperation, Rania El-Mashat, met with Mokhtar Diop, Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to discuss the portfolio of ongoing projects with the IFC and future areas of cooperation to pave the way towards effective development cooperation.
The meeting took place in the presence of many global figures including the IFC’s Vice President for Middle East and Africa, Sérgio Pimenta; World Bank Group’s Country Director for Egypt, Marina Wes; IFC’s Country Manager for Egypt, Yemen and Libya, Walid Labadi; and Executive Director and Dean of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group, Dr. Merza Hasan, according to a statement on Wednesday.
El-Mashat congratulated Diop for his recent appointment as the IFC’s Managing Director in March 2021. “IFC has been quite important for Egypt’s development story, our relationship shows in the magnitude and the importance of the shared portfolio,” the minister said.
She said that in 2020 the IFC has directed development financing worth $421 million to the private sector in Egypt, with an overall financing worth $4 billion in Egypt during the past decade, which enhanced the private sector’s engagement in development efforts. The minister further explained that Egypt was resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and was able to maintain growth due to the successful partnerships between the public and private sector.
The IFC is a member of the World Bank Group, that is focused on developing the private sector in Egypt. The IFC has invested over $4 billion in Egypt over the past decade, despite the COVID-19 pandemic; as Egypt was able to maintain its development progress and to push through the economic challenge, achieving a 3.6% increase in GDP in 2020, with a projected 2.5% increase in 2021 according to the IMF’s 2021 report, “World Economic Outlook: Managing Divergent Recoveries”.
“We aim to expand our cooperation and take it to the next level by focusing on the development opportunities in Egypt, in light of the structure reform plans discussed by the government of Egypt. We will focus on the development of the African continent, and Egypt shall be one of the leading programs in the IFC regional development plans,” said Diop.
2021 is the year for private sector engagement, as reiterated by El-Mashat who explained that the Ministry of International Cooperation is focusing of propagating the need for the private sector’s involvement in the development agenda by holding various Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs). The MSPs bring together the private entities and the IFIs to support and encourage the sustainable-led businesses.
Pimenta said that the Multi-Stakeholder Platforms are crucial to move forward the cooperation projects between Egypt, IFC, and the private sector; aspiring to capitalise on the private sector’s technological advancement to fulfil both the national and global sustainable targets.
The discussion also covered a few sectors of development that have potential for further cooperation such as renewable energy, transportation, wastewater management, and water desalination.
El-Mashat added that in light of the green recovery, the ministry has been introducing blended finance structures in order to lure the private capital in purpose-driven projects, in order to support Egypt’s Vision 2030 and to push for the 17 United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Diop shed light on the strategic importance of Egypt within the region, explaining that Egypt has become a regional hub for sustainable development projects. El-Mashat elaborated that with the development portfolio the country shares with the various development partners, the Egyptian private sector has become skilled and knowledgeable in the sustainable field across various sectors, leading to a potential regional collaboration where Egypt shares its experience in sustainable development cross-borders with neighboring countries.
“The private sector is involved in major development projects in Egypt, with the needed knowledge to help transmit the sustainable development plan to neighbouring countries. We should encourage peer-exchange, to boost the African continent and advance the region’s sustainable agenda,” added Al-Mashat.
Egypt is the largest country of operation for IFC in the MENA region with a total of 197 projects. The ministry shares a cooperation portfolio with IFC that encompasses 98 projects, with development financing worth $1.27 billion. IFC is focused on the support of the private entities across several sectors, including agriculture, finance, infrastructure, renewable energy, industry, and technology.