Egypt’s Social Solidarity Minister Nevine El-Qabbaj said on Monday that the ministry's vision for the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) goes beyond granting them licenses and involves dealing with them as partners in the implementation of national projects.
Egypt is looking to have an "effective and transparent" channel of communication with civil society via the new NGO law to achieve the desired sustainable development, said Minister El-Qabbaj.
The minister's remarks were made during a meeting named ‘Dialogue with International Partners ... New Horizons for Civil Society in Egypt,’ which was held on Monday to discuss the NGO law.
The event was attended by close to 130 international bodies and NGOS, according to a statement by the social solidarity ministry.
El-Qabbaj underscored that the articles of the NGO law represent a "leap" for civil society organisations.
The new law is also “a reflection of the ministry’s keenness to build a strong and sustainable partnership with [NGOs] under the principles of transparency and respecting human rights,” she added.
The minister praised “the prompt response of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to the requests by civil society to amend the law, which was first approved in 2016.”
In November 2018, during the second World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh, President El-Sisi voiced his support for amending the NGO law.
The House of Representatives approved a host of amendments to the law in July 2019. The Egyptian government ratified the articles of the amended NGO law in November 2020.
During Monday's meeting, the social solidarity minister vowed to provide all means of support for civil society and contribute to strengthening their organisational and financial capabilities.
She added that the recently ratified bylaws allow the NGOs to tap into the country's digital transformation plan by registering the associations and fundraising online.
The minister added that according to the new law, the associations cannot be dissolved without a court ruling.
The law also includes a number of penalties against entities and organisations that do not comply with the rules and instructions and those involved in crimes.
During the event, El-Qabbaj referred to mechanisms by which NGOs can be frozen or suspended as well as means for reconciliation.
Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat, who attended the meeting, said that civil society has played a strong role in the ministry’s international partnerships with multilateral and bilateral development partners over the past year to support the country's efforts in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
Al-Mashat affirmed the international cooperation ministry's keenness to strengthen economic cooperation ties with international partners through the principles of economic diplomacy.