Egypt’s House of Representatives approved three development financing agreements this week worth a total of $1 billion, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat announced on Thursday.
The approved agreements were signed with the World Bank Group (WBG) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to finance Egypt’s Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS) and support the transportation sector through developing the railway network.
“These agreements come within the framework of the role played by the Ministry of International Cooperation to consolidate economic cooperation and partnerships with multilateral and bilateral development partners based on the principles of economic diplomacy and to support the state’s development priorities and implement Egypt’s Vision 2030; consistent with the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDGs),” said Al-Mashat.
The minister also elaborated that through presidential directive no. 190 for 2021, the House approved the development financing agreement between Egypt and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the lending arm of the WBG, regarding a project to support the UHIS with development financing worth $400 million.
Moreover, the House approved presidential directive no. 250 for 2021 regarding the agreement inked between Egypt and IBRD for the development of safe and secure railways, amounting to €362.9 million ($430 million).
Meanwhile, it also approved presidential directive no. 265 for 2021, which concerns the development financing agreements between Egypt and the AfDB aiming to modernise the country’s railway network, amounting to €145 million ($172 million).
Al-Mashat asserted the importance of soft development financing in supporting the Egyptian government’s efforts towards achieving the SDGs, explaining that the conditions of soft loans include a 1.5 percent to 2 percent interest level with long-term grace and repayment periods.
“Despite a high demand for development financing globally, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt was able to secure necessary financing through its cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners, and through its clear and ambitious reform programme and development plans,” according to Al-Mashat.
On Tuesday, Al-Mashat launched a book that documents Egypt’s experience in cooperative development titled ‘Stakeholder Engagement through Economic Diplomacy’ that was published by the London School of Economics.
The book showcases Egypt’s experience in international cooperation, sharing with neighbouring countries a replicable template on how to utilise multilateralism to foster impactful partnerships. The book also explains how Egypt’s experience was carried out through international standards and how it was implemented on the ground by national efforts.
During 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation held two multi-stakeholder platforms in the transportation and health sectors, which brought together national entities and all multilateral and bilateral partners to present financing needs.
This contributed to the provision of development funds worth $1.8 billion to develop the infrastructure of transportation and $477 million for the health sector.