"The cooperation between Egypt and the IsDB Group has been strengthened by the bank's selection of a regional headquarters in Cairo, [which enriches] the outstanding development role played by the IsDB and opens up new horizons for cooperation between the two parties,” Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Development and the country’s governor at the IsDB Hala El-Said.
The minister added that the headquarters will “manage and follow up on projects and cooperation with all stakeholders in Egypt and neighbouring countries, which will hence fortify cooperation between the various financial institutions of the Bank Group and the business community. Egyptian, Arab, and African nations will benefit from the services provided by these institutions.”
During the second day of the meetings, President of the IsDB Group Muhammed Al-Jasser said that supporting the private sector is key for the bank’s operations in Egypt, adding that integration between the public and private sectors is essential to achieve economic growth in all the IsDB’s member countries amid the ongoing challenges.
Al-Jasser also noted that the IsDB eyes seizing the investment opportunities the Suez Canal Economic Zone provides, adding that the Suez Canal’s new extension has enhanced Egypt’s trade position in the global market.
Al-Jasser added that the total project portfolio between the IsDB Group and Egypt has amounted to $17.8 billion since its inception in 1974.
This portfolio covers energy (60 percent), agriculture (18 percent), real estate (11 percent) and mining (9 percent).
On a wider level, Al-Jasser said that the Bank’s Group extended over $162 billion for 11,000 projects to its 57 member countries.
He also revealed that the Group will expand the lending process to help member countries navigate the ongoing crisis and its serious repercussions.
Minister El-Said noted that Egypt is the largest contributor to the IsDB’s capital, with $17 billion invested through the end of March 2022, including 303 projects that have been completed with a total value of $10.5 billion, in addition to 64 ongoing projects.
She added that the government’s priority is to support the private sector to play a greater role in the country’s economy, asserting that it is the key partner to the country’s economic development and the main creator of job opportunities.
To that end, Egypt has so far invested EGP 6 trillion in infrastructure projects over the past six years to create a suitable business climate for the private sector, according to El-Said.
“Moreover, the COVID-19 shock followed by the war in Ukraine and its severe implications have pushed the government to prioritise agriculture, industry and information technology sectors to be the main areas the second wave of reforms is focused on. Developing these sectors is essential for Egypt to address the external shocks,” El-Said explained.
Meanwhile, El-Said revealed that 13 agreements and MoUs will be signed during the IsDB annual meetings, which target supporting export, developing the country’s infrastructure and financing, as well as enhancing the private sector.
The minister urged the international and regional community to expand in providing concessional and blended finance, not loans, to help the countries growing and developing, especially amid the climate change crisis.
In addition to IsDB, the Group includes the E.E. Bank Institute for Development, which is mandated to lead the development of innovative knowledge-based solutions to support the sustainable economy and Islamic finance; the Islamic Investment Insurance and Export Credit Foundation, which represents the group's insurance arm against political risks and export credit; the Peace Foundation for Private Sector Development; the Islamic International Trade Finance Corporation; and the Peace Solidarity Fund for Development, which works to reduce poverty by improving health care and education services, as well as financial support to enhance production capacity, including job financing.