The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided $750 million in finances to Egypt’s banks since March for the sake of supporting businesses, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and to fight its associated impacts, former EBRD’s Acting President Jurgen Rigterink said.
Rigterink answered Ahram Online's questions regarding the role that the EBRD is playing to support Egypt amid the crisis, which came during the virtual panel that was held on Tuesday as a part of Egypt’s week in the UK event that kicked off on Monday.
He asserted that EBRD is willing to extend any kind of support the country needs amid the crisis, saying that the bank invested $8 billion in the first eight months of 2020 for the countries it invests in, which represents 30 per cent more than the 2019 investments allocations.
For Egypt, Rigterink unveiled that the EBRD has invested over €7 billion in 125 projects since 2012, citing how Egypt is an important market for the EBRD’s investments.
According to Rigterink, Egypt has faced severe impacts due to the pandemic for instance the significant collapse in the tourism sector. This asserts the importance of benefiting from the support packages introduced by the international financial institutions in the very much critical time being.
He also stressed that adopting digitalization, extending public support, and supporting the private sector (SMEs in particular) is needed to recover better from the pandemic.
“The ongoing crisis imposes three main challenges ahead of the world to be coped with, including supporting the economy, building back better and combating the climate change risk."
During the panel, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)’s first Chief Economist, Erik Berglof, unveiled that Egypt is a founding member of the bank with a portfolio worth $660 million.
Amid the ongoing crisis, Berglof expounded that AIIB provided the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) with $200 million in liquidity support for the SMEs as a part of the bank’s crisis recovery facility, adding that the bank is closely following the country’s integrated green and sustainable cities.
Globally, Berglof said that the pandemic has imposed significant challenges on all countries and economies, which need significant efforts to counter and to contain them, in addition to translating these efforts into a greener and more sustainable recovery.
For her part, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat highlighted the ministry’s principles of economic diplomacy that aim at strengthening the ‘Global Partnerships for Effective Development’.
She said that these principles include regularly organizing multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated to accelerate the pace of development for the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); adopting a consistent global partnerships narrative “People&Projects&Purpose” (P&P&P); and mapping ODA financing to SDGs for all projects with multilateral and bilateral development partners.
The minister added that Egypt adopts a structural reform plan that aims to maintain the fruits of the country’s successful economic reform program that it has adopted since 2016, which enabled the country to counter the pandemic and contain its related repercussions successfully.