The First Regional Meeting “Social Development Banks and Institutions in the Arab Countries”
Wednesday، 24 May 2023 - 12:00 AM
Under the auspices of Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Egypt, represented by the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Nasser Social Bank, organized the first regional meeting “Social Development Banks and Institutions in the Arab Countries” on 23-24 May, 2023 in Sharm El-Sheikh, under the slogan "Supporting the first groups with social care".
The meeting was held in coordination with the Social Affairs Sector "Department of Development and Social Policies - Technical Secretariat of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs" of the League of Arab States.
Delegations from 14 Arab countries are set to participate in the conference, in addition to the leaders of banks, social development institutions, financing institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the Arab countries, representatives of United Nations agencies and international organizations, and representatives of ministries and partner agencies in implementing the social protection system in Egypt.
The participants discussed a very important issue related to ways to mobilize regional efforts to finance policies and programs for social protection and economic empowerment at the Arab level, especially in light of a regional and global environment rife with challenges and crises.
Minister of Social Solidarity and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nasser Social Bank Nevin Al-Qabbaj, inaugurated, on 23-5-2023, the activities of the first regional meeting “Social Development Banks and Institutions in the Arab Countries.”
The opening session was attended by Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar Gomaa, Minister of Awqaf, Major General Muhammad Amin, Advisor to the President of the Republic, Dr. Shawqi Allam, the Mufti of the Republic, and Dr. Nazir Ayyad, President of Islamic Research, part Academy representing Al-Azhar, and Anba Bishoy Charles, representing the Orthodox Church, in addition to the participation of official delegations from 14 sister Arab countries, heads of banks, social development institutions, financial institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the Arab countries, as well as representatives of United Nations organizations and international organizations.
Dr. Nevin Al-Qabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity, addressed the opening session of the meeting on behalf of Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister, wishing the success of the joint Arab endeavors in strengthening the bonds of cooperation and integration between our countries to achieve the aspirations of our Arab peoples for glory, dignity and a decent life that befits the history of our ancient region, praying to God to help us all in overcoming the challenges that we are experiencing at this stage of time, and together we look forward to a bright future for future generations that we invest In them as much as we can, and that the course of our cooperation be crowned with payment for the support of our country, the renaissance of our Arab peoples and all humanity.
Dr. Nevin Al-Kabbaj, in the Prime Minister’s speech, stated: “We all know the extent of the social, economic and political challenges that many of our Arab countries are going through due to political instability, which intertwines with negative repercussions of successive global crises in the last fifteen years, including waves of terrorism, the repercussions of the Corona virus pandemic, and successive economic crises that led to the presence of nearly From 130 million people below the poverty line, and the increase in the number of persons with disabilities to about 71 million people, besided other social and economic challenges, in addition to the size of refugees and displaced persons in the Arab region, which amounted to about 67:53% of the total refugees and displaced persons worldwide, respectively. We feel it strongly inside the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
Dr. Nevin Al-Kabbaj, in the Prime Minister’s speech, stressed that the Arab Republic of Egypt is one of the first countries to realize the importance of strengthening social protection networks and their role in achieving social development, adding that the President of the Republic has directed funding and development of all social protection programs to improve the standard of living of citizens and the relentless pursuit of investing in people in order to achieve a decent life for everyone who lives on the land of Egypt. This was reflected in the increase in the percentage of social expenditure in 2022, to represent about 9.5% of the gross domestic product. And likewise, Egypt was one of the fastest Arab countries in adopting social protection policies by adopting the in-kind support system that began in the 1940’s, from which about 64 million citizens currently benefit. Egypt has pre-empted the implementation of an integrated social insurance system after the July Revolution of 1952, with the aim of covering workers and their families against the risks of income interruption upon retirement, death, injury or disability. Social insurance and pension systems are being developed at the present time to maximize the value of the insurance pension and enhance the quality of life of pensioners. In 2015, the largest conditional cash support program "Takaful and Karama" was launched to care for breadwinner women, the poorest families, and people with disabilities, which covers about 22 million citizens, in addition to the health insurance system, which witnessed a leap during the era of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, as it became comprehensive health insurance for all citizens.
The Prime Minister explained that achieving comprehensive social development requires the provision of basic services for all, such as education, health, water and sanitation, energy, housing, transport and effective gender equality in the Arab world, as well as limiting the informal or irregular sector, and therefore the government, since taking office in 2017, has been working to achieve social development goals, the most important of which are: reducing population growth, reducing illiteracy, providing food, etc. them in all outlets to reduce the poverty rate and reduce the economic and social inequalities between the different regions of the Republic and to increase the labor force participation of women and youth in order to reduce the gender and age gaps in unemployment rates.
He pointed out that these challenges not only pose great risks for the stability of the Arab region, but also offer opportunities for more Arab cooperation and solidarity, because our common history and centuries-long experiences have shown that we can emerge from crises and Being able to master challenges. This is a governing principle for the policies and directions of the new republic.
The Prime Minister wishes for this meeting to come up with joint and mutual recommendations and projects that enhance the spirit of cooperation in all areas of social and economic development, the development of social financing and the diversification of its sources, and the technological development to improve the governance of social protection programs, especially as we look forward to more joint Arab cooperation in many fields. The first is enhancing the effectiveness of financial resources in financing protection programs in Arab countries, the second is caring for refugees economically and socially, and the third is strengthening insurance and health protection for families of migrant workers through bilateral and collective agreements that guarantee the rights of these workers in the host country. The Prime Minister concluded his speech by saying: "I extend my thanks and appreciation to the League of Arab States and the Executive Council of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs for the efforts made by them and for their valuable experiences in supporting Arab integration and developing a common Arab socio-economic vision, which calls for seeing diverse and integrated financing methods in order to implement policies Social protection and economic empowerment programs and their contribution towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.