Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat concluded her fruitful participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF2020), held in Davos, Switzerland from 21 to 24 January.
Al-Mashat met with several international financial institutions’ representatives, including Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); and Bandar Al Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
Al-Mashat also met Karan Bhatia, vice president, Government Affairs & Public Policy at Google, in addition to representatives of other high-profile companies. Daily News Egypt highlights main sides of Al-Mashat’s trip to Davos to shed the light on the future of Egypt’s international cooperation with development partners and the private sector.
EBRD continues its support for economic reform programme
Al-Mashat and EBRD’s Chakrabarti discussed the situation of the bank’s projects underway in the local market as well as potential projects in the coming period as Egypt tops the list of the EBRD’s annual investments with new commitments of €1.2bn in 26 projects in 2019, after €1.1bn in 2018.
The bank’s investments in Egypt are estimated at €5.3bn in 99 projects in the sectors of transportation, electricity, renewable energy, housing, and sanitation, which contributed to the successful transition of Egypt’s economy to a green one.
One of the EBRD’s main projects is Benban Solar Park in Aswan. The private sector represents 58% of the EBRD’s total investments, while Egypt accounts for more than 50% of the bank’s total investments in Africa.
The Egyptian government aims at boosting cooperation with the EBRD in several sectors, especially private sector’s funds due to its role in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), Al-Mashat said, while Chakrabarti asserted the bank’s interest in developmental projects and its support to the economic reform programme.
IFAD keen on quick response of government’s priorities
Al-Mashat met with IFAD’s Houngbo, where both sides discussed deepening cooperation in light of the fund’s opening of a regional office in Cairo, as Egypt is their biggest operational country in the Far East and North Africa.
Houngbo asserted the fund’s quick response to the Egyptian government’s priorities in the field of integrated agricultural development, specifically in low-income areas, start-ups, youth empowerment, and innovative projects.
ILO’s new framework programme to focus on developing youth’s skills
Al-Mashat sat with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Director-General Guy Ryder to discuss the new framework programme for cooperation in accordance with the priorities of the Egyptian government, to achieve SDGs, encourage decent work opportunities for youth, especially in low-income areas, support innovation and entrepreneurship, and provide youth with the necessary training and needed skills for the job market.
Egypt and Switzerland discuss 2021-2024 Cooperation Strategy
Al-Mashat discussed with Manuel Sager, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which became a major player in the Cooperation Strategy between Egypt and Switzerland from 2021 to 2024 in line with the Egyptian government’s priorities.
Additionally, with the 2017-2020 Cooperation Strategy, Switzerland continued to support Egypt’s comprehensive reform agenda as set out in the Egypt 2030 Vision. The Cooperation Strategy is implemented by the Swiss embassy’s office for international cooperation.
Al-Mashat and El-Molla discuss potential projects with IsDB
Al-Mashat and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla met with IsDB’s Al Hajjar to explore potential cooperation opportunities.
IsDB’s portfolio in Egypt reached $12.8bn in various sectors, including electricity, petroleum, agriculture, irrigation, health, education, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Al Hajjar affirmed the bank’s interest in supporting Egypt’s efforts in achieving economic growth, noting that the North African nation is one of the top five countries benefiting from IsDB’s programmes.
The two sides discussed deepening cooperation within the framework of the strategic partnership signed between Egypt and the Bank until 2021 with a value of $3bn. This specific cooperation aims to harmonise the strategic plans of the Egyptian government and their development priorities in accordance with the sustainable development strategy 2030.
Google offers skills development training in Egypt
Al-Mashat also met Google’s Bhatia and discussed cooperation between the two sides in digital transformation and empowering youth and women through providing skills development training in the country, to keep pace with the fourth industrial revolution and achieve the goals of sustainable development.
Al-Mashat was the first Egyptian woman to be hosted at “Talks at Google” last year, among other prominent leaders who have professional and personal success stories, to shed light on their success and life experiences as a source of inspiration for millions of followers of Google around the world.
“It is imperative that efforts to regulate digital currencies are well-informed”
The release of digital currencies will have far-reaching implications, from domestic financial stability to international trade, said Al-Mashat, during her participation in a session last Friday to announce Global Consortium for Digital Currency Governance.
“As such, it is imperative that efforts to regulate digital currencies are well-informed, collaborative, and global in nature,” Al-Mashat mentioned.
This is the first initiative to bring together leading companies, financial institutions, government representatives, technical experts, academics, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and members of the WEF’s communities on a global level.
To tackle the challenge ahead, an international, multi stakeholder approach with the public and private sectors working alongside civil society is needed. This consortium will focus on solutions for a fragmented regulatory system, according to the WEF.
“Digital currency, a cross-cutting topic that requires input across sectors, functions, and geographies, is a key area of interest for the Forum,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairperson of the WEF. “Building on our long history of public-private cooperation, we hope that hosting this consortium will catalyse the conversations necessary to inform a robust framework of governance for global digital currencies.”
WEF2020 took place from 21 to 24 January 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The meeting brought together more than 3,000 global leaders from politics, government, civil society, academia, the arts and culture as well as the media. Convening under the theme, Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World, participants focused on defining new models for building sustainable and inclusive societies in a plurilateral world.