Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said Thursday that there are 13 ongoing projects in the agricultural sector worth $545.4 million to which several international institutions have contributed, including the IFAD, AFESD, USAID, the EU and KFAED, as well as France, Italy and Germany.
Al-Mashat comments came during a videoconference held with Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation Mohamed El-Quseir and a number of international financial institutions and development partners with projects in the agricultural sector within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Egypt’s National Development Agenda.
Al-Mashat said that agriculture and rural development is a sector of utmost priority for the Egyptian government, noting that her ministry and that of El-Quseir are working to closely to coordinate efforts and monitor official development assistance (ODA) progress in the sector, as well as to address priority fields and required support, according to a statement.
Al-Mashat added that the Ministry of International Cooperation currently gives priority to coordination with international institutions and development partners to support the agricultural sector, due to its role in providing food security amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister El-Quseir explained that it was important to set priorities for the Agricultural Bank of Egypt’s programmes, to better enable it to play its pivotal role of meeting the demands of labourers in the sector, adding that agriculture ministry is about to start a new initiative for village households, providing them with livestock in order to help them have their own projects.
“That is besides the national mega projects launched by the state in the field, including horizontal expansion and developing related infrastructure such as roads and energy, and diversifying water resources, in addition to adopting several programmes such as the national veal project and others that aim at combating poverty, capacity building, enhancing food quality, providing job opportunities and achieving development across the whole country,” El-Quseir added.
El-Quseir predicted a leap in the sector through "collaboration with the ministry of international cooperation and donors.”
Walid Labadi, country manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), emphasised that gathering development partners through a stakeholders platform was highly significant for creating dialogue on mobilising support for Egypt's main development priorities, adding that the IFC is looking forward to working with the Egyptian government and development partners to support private sector sustainable agricultural investment.
European Investment Bank (EIB) Cairo office head Alfredo Abad stressed that multi-stakeholder platforms organised by the Ministry of International Cooperation provided the EIB with a great opportunity to engage in high-level discussions with ministers from various sectors. Such platforms, he added, helped all partners adapt their strategies and procedures to ensure support to SDGs and to improve livelihoods.
Agriculture contributes 14 percent of the Egypt’s GDP, represents 28 percent of work opportunities and 55 percent of rural labor in Egypt, according to Al-Mashat.
Egypt’s revenues from agro-products increased by 20 percent in 2019 as compared to 2009, while exports of vegetables alone increased by 40 percent during the same period, according to Al-Mashat.