Five ministers convened with EU Envoy to Egypt Ivan Surkos on Monday, July 22 to discuss 2020 joint projects and launched a €110 million program to be implemented in 2020 in the sectors of energy, water, environment, trade, agriculture, and local development among others.
The upcoming projects come within the 2017-2020 Unified Support Framework worth €500 million by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EBRD and the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation coordinate future projects annually.
The talks included Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, Minister of Environment Yasmin Fouad, Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy and Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish.
That is in addition to representatives of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Areas; Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources; Ministry of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation; Ministry of Industry and Trade; and SCzone.
Minister Shaker stated that the main goal of the cooperation with the European Union is boosting the dependency on renewable energy and raising its share in the total energy generated in the country. The partnership is also aimed at the enhancement of the quality of production and distribution, and the establishment of grid distribution control centers.
Minister Nasr pointed out that the program supported by the EU is put by Egypt and that the priority within such partnership in the near future is securing grants for youth and human development projects.
Minister Nasr announced that an international conference will be held in collaboration with the EU in the Suez Canal Axis, with the target of attracting investments in the sector of renewable energy, and financing projects pertinent to local development, environment, and administrative and financial reform.
Minister Shaarawy said that four projects will be accomplished in collaboration with the EU. The projects are to provide training for workers in the local development sector, modernize IT centers in governorates, develop the local development center in Sakara and the institutional structure of the Local Development Fund, and empower women.
Minister Shaarawy said he looks forward to furthering cooperation with the EU to launch programs that would rationalize the use of water and electricity in public buildings. The minister also thanked the investment minister for her efforts in securing grant programs and coordination opportunities.
Minister Fouad said that the ministry and the EU place the efficient management of resources in the face of climate change risks as a priority. Both parties also examined the chances of executing small projects for communities most vulnerable to climate change, and youth projects aimed at recycling.
That is in addition to awareness campaigns in schools and universities, and the creation of a sustainable solid waste management system. Worth €1 million, such projects are expected to be launched within the EU Climate Change Response Program that starts in 2020.
Mamish highlighted that SCzone is not just a national mega project as it serves neighboring countries as well as European countries through the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal Authority chairman highlighted that cooperation involves supporting infrastructure and carrying out studies to put a general plan for some areas in SCzone. One of those areas is the Technology Valley. The cooperation also includes the establishment of complexes for industries that depend on silicon.
Mamish revealed that the authority implements plans to recycle waste at the ports and zones of the Suez Canal Axis, and to train workers. He clarified that the authority negotiates with the EU for the latter to offer capacity-building programs related to the management of infrastructure. That is because the authority is establishing a company for managing infrastructure networks in the SCzone.
“We are neighbors and we work together to achieve the interests of Egyptians and Europeans,” Surkos said, underlining that the 2017-2020 Unified Support Framework is compatible with Egypt’s sustainable development vision.
Surkos expressed his pleasure that the EU is Egypt’s largest development partner, affirming the union’s eagerness to grow such partnership and its commitment to supporting the private sector in the country.