Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation launched on Wednesday the first multi-stakeholder platform for the private sector with the aim of strengthening partnerships between multilateral and bilateral development partners and Egypt’s private sector.
On Tuesday, the ministry held the first session under the new platform titled ‘Digitalisation as an Enabler for the Private Sector’ as a part of a series of interactive meetings that the ministry aims to organise within the framework of joint cooperation to create interaction and complementarity between government efforts and the role played by the private sector, business community, civil society, and relevant entities, to achieve Egypt’s 2030 Vision.
The session included the participation of e-Finance and I-Score companies’ representatives, and over 70 multilateral and bilateral development partners that attended virtually and on the ground at the ministry’s headquarters.
The attendees include UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova; the World Bank’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, Marina Wes; the International Financial Corporation’s (IFC) Country Manager for Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, Walid Labadi; Country Manager at African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Malinne Blomberg; among many other development partners.
On her side, Minister of International Cooperation Raina Al-Mashat said that holding multi-stakeholder platforms is one of the principles of the economic diplomacy policy the ministry launched in early 2020.
“These interactive meetings are organised across various sectors to bring together state ministries and multilateral and bilateral development partners with the objective to create transparent dialogue and communication between relevant parties in a way that strengthens international partnerships to achieve sustainable development”, Al-Mashat explained.
She noted that the top priority for Egypt in 2021 revolves around private sector engagement and strengthening partnerships with multilateral and bilateral development partners, adding that Egypt is witnessing an unprecedented boom through increased investments in digital transformation, due to the private sector engagement in advancing the country’s development agenda in digitisation and technological solutions in the financial sector.
Egypt has achieved progress in the digital field and is seeking to strengthen its position as a regional centre for entrepreneurship and innovation, according to Al-Mashat.
She added that the ministry seeks to advance the country's development strategy by supporting international partnerships in the field of innovation, digitisation, and entrepreneurship. She explained that the multi-stakeholder platform on digitalisation aims to place guidelines for cooperation between development partners and the private sector that can be translated into tangible opportunities for joint cooperation.
e-finance Discusses its Experience with eAswaaq Misr and AGRIMISR
During the meeting, e-Finance presented its role in providing financial technology solutions to build customised and scalable solutions that support electronic payments for the private sector.
It showcased the success story of its subsidiary company eAswaaq, launched in July 2019, developing through the rise of the e-commerce market in Egypt that has expanded due to the increased internet usage in Egypt to 57 percent and an increase in mobile payment transactions to 4.8 million transactions per months, as well as a significant increase in ATMs by 83 percent between 2014 and 2019.
eAswaaq Misr provides many products, including the digitisation of the agricultural value chains, the empowerment of the people who work in handicrafts, the advancement of the financial inclusion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and the development of a virtual shopping center for B2B businesses.
The agricultural platform AGRIMISR, the first comprehensive agricultural e-commerce platform in Egypt, has an integrated approach to expand agricultural exports abroad, support economic growth by linking relevant parties in the agricultural sector, facilitate the supply system, and increase commercial transactions for agriculture.
To date, AGRIMISR provided its services to over 123 exhibiting companies, with 539 registered companies with 1,500 products displayed on the platform. It also provides financial services to beneficiaries from banks and financial institutions.
“The world around us is taking major steps in integrating technology in the day-to-day life of both individuals and companies. This is what e-finance, and its subsidiaries, are doing by providing digital services required by companies in this new and digital-led work environment”, said Chairman of e-Finance’s board of directors Ibrahim Sarhan.
I-Score representatives presented, during the meeting, the company's strategy to provide various products to the local market, including a credit rating system for the agricultural sector and a risk assessment program.
The company is also working currently on developing a new model that allows for more financing for the agricultural sector, while controlling risks. Mohamed Kafafy, Chairman of I-Score, elaborated that the I-Score database includes 930 thousand credit facilities for the agriculture sector, making up for EGP 35 billion.
Kafafy said that the company’s database includes about 20 million clients, including 422,000 SMEs, adding that the size of the facilities and guarantees within the database is about EGP 2 trillion; of which EGP 900 billion are retail banking facilities and EGP 350 billion are facilities for the clients of SMEs.
Representatives of international institutions applauded the national efforts in the field of digital transformation and in the development of technological infrastructure.
UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Panova said that digitisation and innovation are at the top of the UN Egypt Office’s agenda and that a working group has been launched to strengthen strategic cooperation between the government of Egypt and the private sector.
She suggested that discussions in this area need to be continued via the launch of specialised working groups with development partners headed by the UN in Egypt to continue conversations under the auspices of the Ministry of International Cooperation regarding how to use digitalisation to support development efforts and empower the private sector.