The world is expected to face a $15 trillion gap between projected investment and required development assistance to provide adequate global infrastructure by 2040 according to the Global Infrastructure Hub, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said.
Al-Mashat made her statements during a virtual panel hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), organized by the International Project Finance Association in collaboration with the World Bank.
The Global Infrastructure Forum aims to enhance coordination among multilateral development banks and their development partners to better develop sustainable, accessible, and resilient infrastructure for emerging countries.
Al-Mashat's was the representative of Egypt at the EBRD’s annual meeting that kicked off on Wednesday.
To bridge the infrastructure gap, Al-Mashat highlighted that multilateral development banks can play a vital role in the suspension of debt service payments, and boosting crisis lending as an alternative to other expensive forms of financing to enable a faster recovery.
“Multilateralism is an opportunity for the continent to unite and create a historical new collaboration model, and ensure that there is an exchange of knowledge, experiences and expertise to ensure that no one is left behind, and push for a human-centered economy,” Al-Mashat added.
This can be achieved through four actions, namely accelerating inclusive economics and societies, shaping a new vision for economic integration through mutually supportive institutional mechanisms and regulatory environments, harnessing the fourth industrial revolution to connect the region’s digital economies, and finally promoting environmental stewardship through supporting innovative green projects, according to the minister.
Al-Mashat noted as well that Egypt has been witnessing a transformation in infrastructure over the past few years, with a variety of projects that include 35 projects in the housing sector worth $5.6million, with over 120,000 residential units being built across the country.
Protecting the environment, biodiversity, and natural ecosystems are placed at the core of the government’s sustainable urban development plan, which aims to invest in green infrastructure, according to Al-Mashat.
Al-Mashat noted that around $6.8 billion have been contributed to achieve affordable and clean energy, $6.3 billion for industry innovation and infrastructure, and $1.3 billion for sustainable cities and communities.
Al-Mashat added that Alexandria and Cairo, the biggest cities in Egypt, have joined the EBRD’s Green Cities initiative to complete the green transportation strategy for the city.
Moving forward, Al-Mashat emphasised adopting a reality based approach to infrastructure delivery, bringing together all key players in both the public and private sectors to create consensus and identify the challenges in each of the phases, and apply resilient risk mitigation accordingly.