Alexander made his comments in response to a question from Ahram Online about how the bank will support Egypt’s efforts to fight climate change, build sustainability, and make the green transition.
The exchange took place during a press conference Monday on the sidelines of the two-day annual meeting being held in Sharm El-Sheikh through Tuesday.
This year’s AIIB meeting is the first to be held in Africa and the first to be held in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The largest portfolio the bank invests outside Asia is in Egypt with an ongoing portfolio worth $1.3 billion. We are willing to invest more going forward under our climate action plan 2024-2030 that we launched today,” Alexander told Ahram Online.
During the event, AIIB President Jin Liqun announced the bank’s plan for climate action, through which it aims to bring capital and capacity to support its members’ efforts to combat climate change.
Under this plan, the AIIB will scale up investments and capital mobilization for holistic local solutions that encompass climate mitigation, adaptation, nature, and biodiversity. The AIIB will also promote innovation, with a strong focus on technology, and partner with parties that add value to climate solutions.
“We will support climate action-related projects in Egypt and there are lots of areas to cover in this regard,” said Alexander.
Egypt’s private sector
Alexander also praised Egypt’s efforts to stimulate the private sector and increase its participation in the economy.
The AIIB is working with the Egyptian government to put these actions into practice, especially climate financing, amid ongoing challenging economic conditions.
“Attracting more of private sector equities is a key area of cooperation with Egypt. The actions Egypt has taken and those it will execute are extremely good and they can be attained with the collaboration with the international partners,” he explained.
In a speech on the first day of the meeting, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi highlighted the actions Egypt has taken to attract investors.
He pointed to the State Ownership Policy, which aims to level the playing field between the public and private sectors by eliminating the latter’s advantages.
El-Sisi also urged international institutions and multilateral development banks (MDBs) to provide African countries with low-cost finance to tackle climate change, especially amid the burdens imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war.
AAIB investment in Egypt
Egypt is a founding member of the AIIB among the non-regional member countries at the bank.
The AIIB has provided $1.3 billion in funding to the public and private sector infrastructure projects in Egypt to promote sustainable and comprehensive economic development.
Egypt’s Benban Solar Power Plant was the first energy project the bank invested in outside Asia.
“As one of the greatest civilizations of human history, Egyptian infrastructure has long occupied a special place in the world’s imagination. From the truly timeless marvel of the Pyramids of Giza to the Suez Canal through which 12 percent of global trade flows, Egypt has long been a home for grand visions and dreams of a new tomorrow,” said the president of the AIIB.
Liqun singled out the New Suez Canal project, highlighting that it was built in record time thanks to the keen attention of President El-Sisi. It exemplifies the transformative impact of well-planned and executed infrastructure projects, he added.
“The development impact of this and other Egyptian infrastructure investments like the New Administrative Capital is all too palpable,” he stressed.
Also on Monday, Egypt’s Minister of Finance and Governor at the AIIB Mohamed Maait stated that Egypt supports the bank’s strategies and goals. He pointed out that it is one of the largest contributors to the bank's capital, with a share valued at $650 million.
In a panel discussion held right after the opening ceremony, global private sector leaders called on MDBs and international financial institutions to help low and middle-income countries set the balance between foreign and local currencies, which were hit by a huge wave of devaluations
They also asked for financing guarantees and incentives that encourage investors to take the risk of investing in climate projects.