Egypt's Participation in the 32nd EBRD Annual Meeting in Uzbekistan
Wednesday، 17 May 2023 - 12:00 AM
Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), heads the Egyptian delegation participating in in the 32nd EBRD Annual Meeting held 0n May 16-18, 2023, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, under the slogan "Investing in Resilience", where the meetings are held in the Central Asian region for the first time since 2011.
The annual meetings include the governors of the bank's member states, representatives of the private sector and CEOs of major companies from around the world, businessmen and civil society, as well as representatives of many international financing institutions.
The Arab Republic of Egypt has long-standing development cooperation relations with the EBRD, as it is a founding member and has become a full country of operations for the bank since 2012, which has strengthened the bank’s operations and investments in Egypt for the private and government sectors, to exceed €10 billion in 160 projects, where about 75% of these investments were directed to the private sector.
It is worth noting that the ministry launched the joint country strategy with the EBRD for the period 2022-2027, in early 2022, which works to enhance development efforts and stimulate the private sector, through three axes: Promoting a more inclusive economy for Egyptian businesses, women and youth, Accelerating Egypt’s green economy transition, and enhancing the country’s competitiveness by supporting private-sector growth and strengthening governance.
The Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, began her participation in the bank’s annual meetings in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, by holding a bilateral discussion with the EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso on the ongoing partnerships between Egypt and the Bank, and future steps to enhance joint cooperation with regard to the energy pillar within the Country Platform for NWFE program, and to stimulate private sector participation in development through technical support and investments.
The Minister referred to her physical participation for the first time in the annual meetings of the EBRD, pointing out the importance of the decisions that will be discussed by the Bank's Board of Governors in the current session of the meetings, especially the bank's endeavor to expand its operations to sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq, and to strengthen its role in addressing the repercussions of the war in Ukraine.
Al-Mashat noted Egypt's support for the decisions issued by the EBRD Board of Directors to amend its founding agreement to support the expansion of the scope of operations to include sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq, pointing to Egypt's distinguished location and its strong relations with the countries of the continent of Africa and the possibility that Egypt represents a gateway to the bank's expansions in the continent.
In another context, Al-Mashat discussed the steps implemented in cooperation with the EBRD and development partners so far to enhance technical support in an effort to implement projects included in the energy pillar within the "NWFE" program, through which Egypt aims to reduce carbon emissions. This includes the implementation of renewable energy projects with a capacity of 10 gigawatts, and the closure of a number of stations that operate on conventional fuels, where the EBRD is the main development partner to coordinate joint work between development partners to implement these projects.
Al-Mashat explored the mechanisms of cooperation with the bank to support the private sector in light of the state’s directions and the state ownership policy document, in light of the role that the bank plays in stimulating the private sector’s participation in development through financing of which the private sector acquires 75%, explaining that Egypt has many development experiences that can be transferred to the countries of the south through cooperation with development partners.
Recently, a financial agreement was signed for the project to establish a new wind farm - located near Ras Ghareb in the Gulf of Suez region - with a capacity of 500 megawatts, within the energy pillar of the "NWFE" program, with investments of $680 million. This is between the “Red Sea Wind Energy” alliance and a group of banks and international financing institutions. The EBRD contributes to financing the project at a value of $100 million for the Red Sea Wind Energy Company, with $50 million from the EBRD and $50 million from the Green Climate Fund.
Al-Mashat referred to the steps taken by the state in the field of green hydrogen during the past year, including the signing of a memorandum of understanding to launch the Mediterranean hydrogen partnership with the EU and the EBRD during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, to promote investments in renewable energy. This is in addition to signing a letter of intent with the European Union at a value of €35 million to enhance the energy pillar within the “NWFE” program, and reduce the use of conventional energy, as well as signing a number of contracts for green fuel projects within the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which reflects the advanced steps taken by Egypt in this field.
For her part, EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso applauded the role of the Ministry of International Cooperation in supporting development cooperation efforts, and the Government of Egypt’s vision to stimulate the private sector through international partnerships.
At the outset of her speech, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the World Bank, stressed the importance of the "Green Cities" initiative launched by the Bank and the importance of development partners and international institutions launching such innovative initiatives that enhance communication and stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth, pointing out that the concept of Green cities revolve around 3 main axes, which are government policies, citizens and the private sector, which are largely interrelated and complement each other.
Through the close partnership between Egypt and the EBRD, three Egyptian cities joined the Green Cities Program: Greater Cairo Governorate, Alexandria Governorate, and Sixth of October City, and during the visit of the President of the bank Odile Renaud-Basso to Egypt in April 2021, a memorandum of understanding was signed to include the governorates of Cairo and Alexandria in the program, in addition to the city of 6th of October.
The film, prepared by the EBRD, and broadcast during a panel discussion on the "Green Cities" program, attended by government officials and EBRD governors from dozens of countries, and representatives of international institutions, included 3 projects in particular: the dry port in the 6th of October City, and the Greater Cairo metro lines and the Abu Qir Metro in Alexandria. These are projects that reflect the importance of partnership between the government and private sectors to develop sustainable infrastructure and its impact on creating an investment climate.
The 1st Dry Port in Egypt
The dry port of 6th of October City is the first of its kind, as part of the Government of Egypt’s plan to expand dry port projects to enhance logistic centres in Egypt, and the first of its kind to be implemented in partnership between the government and private sectors. The EBRD had provided development financing in the amount of $25 million, for the first dry port in Egypt, which will serve as an extended gateway to seaports in the northern and eastern regions.
The port provides many advantages, the most important of which is reducing waiting time and enhancing work efficiency in seaports, reducing congestion in ports and on roads due to containers used in transporting containers, replacing them with railways, and reducing fuel use by providing 14 million litres of diesel fuel, used to transport containers every year, besides reducing CO2 emissions by about 40,000 tons.
Earlier, the 6th of October dry port project won the “IJ Global” award as the best and first transportation project within the framework of EBRD’s Green Cities program in the Middle East and North Africa region, which serves the industrial zones in Egypt.
The 2nd Line of the Greater Cairo Metro
Among the pioneering projects to which the EBRD contributes, to enhance the sustainability of infrastructure in Cairo, is the second line of the Greater Cairo Metro, which comes in light of the Government of Egypt’s vision to develop the sustainability of transportation infrastructure, through the expansion of electric-powered means.
The Greater Cairo Metro transports about 200 million passengers annually, with the possibility of increasing the capacity by about 50%, and reduces carbon dioxide emissions that pollute the air by about 31 thousand tons annually.
Abu Qir Electric Metro in Alexandria
The EBRD is financing the Abu Qir metro in Alexandria at a value of €250 million. The project provides many benefits, as it connects the city of Alexandria to Abu Qir through a 22-kilometer subway line, and contributes to removing traditional transit places that threaten the lives of citizens, as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 22 thousand tons per year.
The EBRD launched the Green Cities Program in late 2016, to support cities to transition to a green, low-carbon and more resilient future. It achieves this by helping cities identify their most pressing environmental priorities, and addressing them through targeted investment and public policy actions. To date, the program includes 50 cities globally, 80 projects are being implemented, saving 4.57 million tons of CO2 emissions, and mobilizing about €5 billion from the project's bilateral and multilateral development partners including the Green Climate Fund, the European Union, the European Bank Technical Support Instrument, South Korea and Japan.
More details about the program and the participating Egyptian cities
Within the framework of H.E.’s meetings at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Annual Meetings in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from May 16-18, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation and Governor of Egypt at the Bank, met ACWA Power Saudi Arabia’s CEO Marco Arcelli.
During the meeting, they discussed the company's investments in Egypt, and their interest to expand in the field of renewable energy, water desalination and green hydrogen.
The meeting also discussed the projects that the company is working on implementing in Egypt, and the role of international partnerships with the EBRD in promoting these investments through development finance and technical support. In this regard, company officials applauded the efforts made by the Ministry of International Cooperation to stimulate private sector participation. In development and encouraging private investments in the renewable energy sector and electricity generation through relations with development partners, especially through the implementation of Egypt’s Country Platform for the "NWFE" program.
Al-Mashat explained the Government of Egypt’s keenness on the effective participation of the private sector, as a major partner in development, in the implementation of projects in various fields, as well as the implementation of the "NWFE" program, the nexus of water, food and energy projects. H.E. added that the Ministry of International Cooperation works to coordinate with development partners and relevant entities to provide various financing mechanisms and blended finance that encourage the private sector to inject investments into the implementation of these projects.
It is worth noting that ACWA Power is working on the construction of a wind power plant in the Gulf of Suez with a capacity of 1100 megawatts as part of the projects being implemented within the framework of the energy pillar of the "NWFE" program, through which it aims to implement renewable energy stations with a capacity of 10 gigawatts to reduce harmful emissions and stimulate a just transition towards renewable energy in Egypt.
The company's officials affirmed their endeavour to expand investment inside Egypt through the implementation of renewable energy projects, as well as green hydrogen production and water desalination projects, in a way that enhances development efforts in the country.
The company had obtained $114 million in financing to inaugurate the largest solar power plant belonging to the private sector in Egypt, in the city of Kom Ombo in Aswan, with a capacity of 200 megawatts. Last April, the company obtained new financing of $123 million within the framework of the same project from the EBRD, the OPEC Fund for International Development, the African Development Bank, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa of the African Development Bank, the Green Climate Fund, the Arab Bank, and the Arab Company for Petroleum Investments "APICORP".
Walid Gamal El-Din, Head of the Suez Canal Economic Zone, participated in the 32nd EBRD Annual Meeting in Uzbekistan, through a panel discussion moderated by Heike Harmgart, Managing Director for Southern and Eastern Mediterranean at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
The discussion covered the latest economic forecasts for the regions where the EBRD invests.
According to Harmgart, the biggest opportunity is around the green energy transition, but also other manufacturing areas around transportation will become more competitive with a bit more diversification of the global value chain.
she highlighted that “Egypt was really positioning themselves to be the plus one. They want to be the company that produces wind plants because they will also have huge wind parks where these wind plants don't have to travel miles and miles.”
Harmgart concluded this point by saying that they do see a lot of opportunities around relocating some of the industrial base to countries with lower labour force costs but actually good connectivity through the Mediterranean and for example the Red Sea in the case of Egypt.
In his speech at the discussion session, Walid Gamal El-Din, Head of the Suez Canal Economic Zone, focused on the efforts made within the economic zone as one of the investment destinations that provide many investment opportunities in the clean fuel and green hydrogen production sector, as the economic zone is a regional centre for maritime transport, logistics services, an industrial centre, and a gateway for trade movement between the east and the west. This is in addition to the ship bunkering services at the ports of the authority, as the economic zone will officially launch this service within days in preparation for supplying ships with green fuel in the near future. international companies in this sector.