Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat has revealed that her ministry has allocated funds worth $5bn, with EU backing, to 43 projects to develop clean water and sanitation in the country.

Minister Al-Mashat said that the fiscal injection represented over 19.4% of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s development financing to develop the sustainable development goal (SDG) 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation.

Speaking at the EU – Africa green talk webinar on Water Sustainability and Clean Oceans, held on Monday, the minister also said, “We look at the details we find that the whole world is collaborating with us in these projects, and the projects cover a wide away of strategies in approaches of ester saving, wastewater treatment and management plants and water desalination plants.”

The minister added that the Egyptian Government continues to support sustainability and spread awareness about how even the smallest elements and consumption and production behaviour helps Egypt to progress towards the SDGs.

“Water replenishes our people, transports our trade, and is key to any industry,” Minister Al-Mashat said, “It is the foundation for all development growth and economic stability, and through our international partnerships for sustainable development, Egypt is dedicated to supporting green growth and responsible consumption of all natural resources.”

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation has laid out a set of regulations for using water under the 2050 strategy for water sustainability use and consumption. The strategy aims to improve water quality, develop new water resources, preserve water through restrained consumption, and create enabling environment sustainable development. 

This strategy falls in line with Egypt’s 2030 agenda, which focuses on achieving green growth and aims to capitalise on reforms to promote sustainable consumption and diversification of resources across the country, Minister Al-Mashat said.

She disclosed that her ministry focuses on the development of all natural resources and limiting waste.  

“Through our economic diplomacy and our international partnerships for sustainable development, we continue work with multilateral and bilateral development partners to support green growth to sustainable future for the country,” the minister said, “Accordingly, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Egypt share a development portfolio of $2.5bn, focusing on projects on energy, pollution compact, water management and transportation.” 

The Kitchener Drain quality improvement project showcases the magnitude and importance of water sustainability which directly affects the lives of people. 

The drain spreads across seven cities in the delta area cutting through a hundred and 82 villages and supporting more than 11 million people, Minister Al-Mashat said. 

Christian Berger, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Egypt, noted that all countries in the Mediterranean region are concerned with the conservation and fair distribution of water. 

“We need to work together to face the shared challenges of water resource management and ensure these are effectively addressed,” Berger said, “We are working together with our Egyptian partners to this end, and today’s event is a cornerstone to remind ourselves that sustainable management of water resources, at both local and regional levels, requires global action.”

The Ambassador also said that the benefits of strong international cooperation will extend well beyond the water sector. 

“Everyone will have to play a part to enhance safe, secure, resilient, ecologically sustainable and inclusive access to water and sanitation, as this is a shared responsibility while offering an opportunity for our economies and societies,” he disclosed. 

Alfredo Abad, Head of the EIB’s regional office in Cairo, said, “The European Investment Bank is the climate bank of the European Union, and supports high-impact investment across Africa and around the world.” 

He noted that the objective of the Cairo green talk is to foster a mutually beneficial exchange of views and lessons from successful sustainable investment experiences with partners. 

The water sector is an important area of the EIB’s investment where the Bank has been investing heavily, Abad added. 

“The Clean Oceans Initiative will support projects that reduce pollution in the oceans, with a particular focus on plastics,” he said, “The initiative was launched in October 2018 by the EIB in partnership with French Development Agency (AFD) and its German counterpart, the KfW.”

Abad added that, together, the three banks will provide up to €2bn in lending in the 2018-2023 period, noting that the EIB, KfW, and AFD have signed 22 projects for a total of €1.29bn. This represents 65% of the clean oceans initiative goal, with the aim that it will reach €2bn by 2023.

The EU has been responding to these challenges since 2007, with more than €500m in grants, leveraging concessional funds of nearly €3bn in the sector, with other European Financial Institutions. 

The EU’s existing co-funded programmes extends over 14 Egyptian Governorates providing nearly 20,000 permanent job opportunities, and nearly 600,000 short-term job opportunities mainly in rural areas. 

This shall help in improving the quality of life for nearly 18.5 million inhabitants across Egypt by the year 2024.

The webinar is part of the EU-Africa 30 days of dialogue on green transition and green investment between African and European partners. It is a series of events and virtual meetings organised across Africa and Europe beginning on 24 March and culminating on 23 April, with the High-level EU-Africa Green Investment Forum, being held in Lisbon.

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