AfDB President Kaberuka in Egypt - Proposes New Partnership for a Competitive Private Sector

09/08/2011
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African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka is on a two-day working visit to Egypt.

Meeting with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and members of cabinet in Cairo on Monday, 8 August, Mr. Kaberuka reaffirmed the Bank's continued support as the country goes through momentous changes.

"Egypt is going through a delicate and complex transition, and as one of the country's closest development partners, I am here to listen, consult and determine how best we can be of support,” he said. "Managing high social expectations at a time of economic shocks is a colossal task under any scenario, anywhere."

The African Development Bank president explained "balancing social needs while focusing on the longer-term imperatives of creating jobs requires a private sector that is competitive rather than rent seeking. But it is also absolutely essential for Egypt and other North African countries to put in place, in the medium term, robust social safety nets that are efficient and fiscally sustainable -- and which build on best practices elsewhere among middle income countries."

The African Development Bank, its sister international finance institutions, including those of the Arab world, and other partners are working with authorities in Egypt and other North African countries to build foundations for growth that are inclusive and sustainable.

Prime Minister Sharaf expressed full confidence in Egypt's economic recovery, a rebound in investments and a successful transition. He expressed his appreciation for the African Development Bank as one of Egypt's largest partners for infrastructure development. "We need to keep investing in infrastructure - including that which links Egypt seamlessly to other parts of Africa,” he said.

Prime Minister Sharaf said that Egypt was determined to strengthen cooperation under the Nile Basin initiative.

The African Development Bank and the Government of Egypt yesterday signed a USD550 million loan to finance the bulk of a new 650-megawatt power plant in Suez, 150 kilometres east of Cairo. The investment, the largest by the AfDB in Egypt, will tap the country’s abundant natural gas resources to produce clean energy.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Aboulnaga, who signed the Suez power plant loan agreement on behalf of the Egyptian government, said: "This agreement demonstrates the strong partnership between the Government of Egypt and the African Development Bank. The Bank has remained a steadfast supporter of Egypt, especially during these particularly challenging times."

The AfDB president is also meeting the business community, civil society, donors and the diplomatic corps in Cairo.