A high-level government delegation from Egypt seeks greater cooperation with AfDB
A high-level Egyptian delegation led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab briefed Executive Directors of the African Development Bank Group on Friday, March 20 in Abidjan, urging support to the government’s ongoing economic reforms and to its ambitious development and investment programme.
Opening the discussions, Prime Minister Mahlab said that the aim of the visit was to reinforce the long-standing relations between the Bank and Egypt, which, he said, have made huge positive impacts in the country.
“There is no way we could have visited Côte d’Ivoire without calling on you because the Bank has done great things for Egypt and Africa,” he said, adding that projects financed by the Bank especially in the areas of energy, water and irrigation have improved living conditions for people in all segments of Egyptian society.
Egypt is the AfDB’s second-largest African shareholder accounting for 5.4% of its regional member countries’ share capital and ranks fourth among the Bank’s 69 global country membership. It is also the Bank’s biggest client, having received US $5.64 billion in project and programme loan approvals from 1974 to 2015.
According to the Prime Minister, this exemplary relationship explains why Egypt is urging the Bank to “double” its funding to enable the country accomplish its ambitious economic and investment programmes.
AfDB supported and participated from March 13-15 in the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, which served as the launch pad for the country’s economic and investment programme, which purveys a new Egyptian model designed to deliver democratic governance, high economic growth and robust social benefits.
Sharm el-Sheikh’s key message is that Egypt is back in business, striving hard to reposition itself on the global investment map through law reforms to speed up investments in all economic and social sectors, notably agriculture, education, mining, micro-finance and capital markets.
At the gathering (which received up to US $60 billion in support pledges), the Government advertised a number of projects, including a plan to develop industrial zones around the Suez Canal. A new capital would be built to the southeast of Cairo, to relieve congestion in the mega-city of some 18 million people.
The Egyptian delegation made a good case for the Bank’s involvement in these projects, which, they said, would promote inclusive economic development and help to strengthen Egypt as a regional force and a bulwark against Islamic militancy.
AfDB support would be most helpful in the country’s efforts to devote more resources to the social and private sectors as well as in facilitating trade with other African countries.
After fielding questions from Executive Directors, Board Dean Shahid Khan thanked the delegation, noting that the visit was a clear indication of Egypt’s unwavering support to the Bank, in its contribution to the African Development Fund as well as its involvement in the Bank’s policy debate.
“We are comforted by your focus on social well-being. It is in line with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy focus on inclusive growth,” he added.
Key members of the 15-member delegation included the Ministers of Housing and Urban Community Services, Mostafa Madbouly; International Cooperation, Naglaa El-Ahwany; and Deputy Foreign and African Affairs Minister, Sabry Magdy.