This value includes supporting the national plan and strategy of the Ministry of Health and Population to combat and minimize health-related impacts of coronavirus in Egypt. This is made by strengthening health system response capacity, taking preventive measures, detecting cases to avoid the transmission of virus, and establishing a specific institutional infrastructure to coordinate and follow up the national health response plan. The sum of money will be disbursed in two tranches: the first tranche worth EUR 80 million and the second one estimated at EUR 9 million.
After the signing ceremony, Dr. Rania Al Mashat congratulated the attendants on the signing of the amendment to Health Sector Policy Support Program, expressing her appreciation to the long-standing historic relationships and robust economic partnership between Egypt and EU. This remarkable relationship is represented in cooperating in different significant economic and social sectors, at the top of which health, education, transportation, population, potable water and sanitation, irrigation, and energy through different cooperation mechanisms and programs.
Al Mashat said that through the ongoing coordination and communication between both parties, the current economic cooperation portfolio amounted to EUR 1.35 billion. This aimed at implementing development programs and projects to promote and improve the Egyptian people quality of life and living standards, invest in infrastructure, and achieve comprehensive social and economic development.
“Despite the economic and social challenges, accompanying coronavirus pandemic, faced during this year, Ministry of International Cooperation, through the activation of Egypt economic diplomacy principles, was capable of achieving further significant economic partnerships and communication,” she added.
The Minister stated that, at the outset of such crisis, coordination took place with EU, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and Population, and Ministry of Finance to achieve optimal use of resources in order to combat and minimize health-related impacts of coronavirus. In this framework, it has been agreed to re-allocate an amount of EUR 89 million from Health Sector Policy Support Program-II to support the national plan of Ministry of Health and Population so as to combat coronavirus, by strengthening health system response capacity, taking preventive measures, and detecting cases to avoid the transmission of virus.
She aslo affirmed that the Egyptian government efforts continued during 2020 towards furthering participatory work and cooperation with various international and regional partners in development, in order to provide emergency financing needs, basically targeting health sector together with a number of important economic sectors. This contributed to the provision of developmental funds, amounting to $7.3 billion since the beginning of 2020, $2.7 billion of which were in the form of private sector agreements.
Al Mashat also indicated that such funds serve Egyptian people rights and needs: combating poverty; achieving social justice; developing the neediest villages; overcoming economic challenges; upgrading infrastructure, facilities and means of transportation; creating modern and advanced system for healthcare and education; achieving women economic empowerment; providing job opportunities; enhancing innovative ideas to form new generations of excellent, creative and talented people.
“We are keen, through the developmental funds, on providing more investment opportunities for private sector, either by participating in major projects- such as the Metro project and Benban Solar Park- or offering credit lines for SMEs and private sector, in addition to loan and investment guarantees and other innovative financial tools,” she stated.
In the same context, Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al Mashat, emphasized that Egypt pays due attention to creating strong economic partnership with all bilateral and multilateral development partners. This is pursued via enhancing economic diplomacy principles based on three pillars, the first of which is the common coordinative cooperation platform with multilateral development partners, to ensure integration between economic cooperation programs and official developmental aids, in line with the developmental needs of Egyptian entities. Notably, EU was keen on participating in a number of such platforms, particularly in health, transportation, and women economic empowerment sectors.
The second pillar is demonstrating international forms of participation to highlight the success stories achieved in the framework of economic cooperation to push the common vision forward, thus prioritizing the investment in Egyptian people, believing that human capital is the foundation of comprehensive development process.
As for the third pillar, it is matching the developmental funding with UN SDGs to ensure moving toward the achievement of Egypt 2030 Vision and reaching people benefit.
“Considering the scale of this pandemic that is unfolding in several waves, I believe we can win the fight through close cooperation between the EU and Egypt. The EUR 89 million we are signing today will help strengthen the capacities of the health system to cope and respond to the pandemic. This is the result of close cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation as well as the Ministry of Health and Population on the best way forward,” said the Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, Ambassador Christian Berger.
“With today’s signature we are demonstrating how the EU-EG partnership is delivering for the benefit of the Egyptian people. In one word: solidarity and close cooperation, especially during challenging times,” he added.
The current economic cooperation portfolio with EU amounts to EUR 1.35 billion, in the form of grants only, in numerous economic sectors, including health, education, women economic empowerment, potable water and sanitation, transportation, agriculture, irrigation, and energy.
Egypt further benefits from other EU-funded projects in the framework of regional cooperation, such as Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) and EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). Through the previously mentioned programs, regional and Euro-Mediterranean projects are funded in different fields with neighboring and Mediterranean countries.