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Sunday, 28 February 2021

Egypt partners with EU, UNDP to contain coronavirus repercussions on most vulnerable groups

The agreement is meant to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus on the neediest people

Cherie Abdel Azim, Thursday 21 Jan 2021
Egypt
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Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity signed an agreement with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on “Supporting Response to Covid-19."

The project is allocated 6 million euros over a period of three years, said the ministry on Thursday.

The partnership between Egypt, the EU, and UNDP aims to limit the repercussions of the coronavirus on the neediest people through a two-pronged plan.

The first is boosting prevention mechanisms to limit the spike in infection rates among the families most affected by the crisis.

The ministry said it is already working on securing social safety nets for the groups severely affected by the pandemic crisis, especially the irregular and seasonal workers, and the elderly in social care institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

The second is alleviating the social and economic impact of the crisis by launching projects that offer job opportunities for the most affected groups.

The partnership also targets the completion of infrastructure development and related institutional capacities to adopt digital solutions for people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable groups to provide support to handle the effects of the pandemic.

Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Kabbaj said the ministry is focusing on expanding the coverage of safety nets and social protection for the neediest.

She lauded the efforts of civil society organisations that contribute to supporting more people to survive the economic repercussions of the coronavirus.

“In April, the EU launched the Team Europe initiative in collaboration with European financial institutions to cooperate with partner countries and help them confront the dire consequences of the pandemic and its impact on their societies and economies,” said Ambassador Christian Berger, the head of the EU Delegation to Egypt who attended the agreement’s signing ceremony.

Berger explained that the close consultations with the Egyptian government focused on the best ways to move forward in jointly combating the pandemic.

He dubbed the deal as "solidarity and close cooperation in difficult times."

Dina Safwat, assistant minister of international cooperation for UN organisations' affairs, said that the pandemic has defied development efforts globally.

However, she commended the responsive attitude of Egypt’s development partners, including the EU and UNDP that backed the country to continue on development schemes and limit the repercussions of the pandemic.

Last year, the World Bank granted Egypt $500 million to strengthen the social protection network that led to increasing the number of beneficiaries of the Takaful and Karama (Solidarity and Dignity) social protection programmes, which are meant to help the needy and poor citizens, in addition to an amount of $477 million that were allocated for healthcare projects.

Randa Abul-Hassan, resident representative for the UNDP, hailed the wise choice of activating digital transformation amid the coronavirus crisis as an immediate solution to combat the social and economic impacts of Covid-19, confirming that digital transformation was adopted by many countries worldwide to protect their economies and peoples during the pandemic.

The agreement's signing ceremony was attended by Ambassador Raouf Saad, head of the National Office for the Implementation of the Egyptian-European Partnership Agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador Lamia Mukhaimer, assistant minister of foreign affairs for international cooperation. 

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