CAIRO: Egypt has signed three agreements worth around $885 million with Arab funds since the start of the year to finance the Sinai Peninsula Development Program.
Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said on Tuesday that the agreements would finance the program, support structural reform and improve the efficiency of the government's public financial management, as well as strengthen the Ministry of Health's capacity to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The agreements are part of the International Cooperation Ministry's efforts, through economic diplomacy, to provide financing for development projects in accordance with the priorities of the National Development Agenda 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and to enhance cooperation with development partners and strengthen economic relations with international and regional organizations.
Al-Mashat said in a statement that an agreement worth $637.9 million was signed with the Arab Monetary Fund to support structural and institutional reform to raise the efficiency of public financial management in line with the country’s economic reform program.
She added that this agreement falls within the framework of the economic reform program begun in 2016 to protect the economy and has five main objectives: To enhance the preparation and implementation of the state budget; develop tax administration; strengthen government procurement management; improve the social protection system; and enhance general debt management.
The minister highlighted another agreement worth about $243.2 million with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, which will be used to establish a clean-water system for the Bahr Al-Baqar drain, within the Sinai Peninsula Development Plan.
She emphasized that the project will increase agricultural production, link the Sinai Peninsula with the Delta region, and provide job opportunities and improved services. A navigation channel of 20 square kilometers will be established, as will pumping stations to transport Bahr Al-Baqar sewage water from the west of the Suez Canal to the east; a treatment plant; farms; facilities for agricultural processing and preparing studies, designs and tenders; and consultancy services to oversee the project.
The estimated cost of the project to establish the Bahr Al-Baqar drainage system is about $1 billion. The Ministry of International Cooperation had previously signed three agreements in the same framework, one with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development worth $238 million and two with the Kuwait Fund for Development worth $255 million.
Al-Mashat added that a grant agreement worth $3.3 million had been signed with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development to support efforts to combat COVID-19.
Egypt’s cooperation with Arab funds began in 1974, since when deals worth a total of roughly $12.5 billion have been signed, including a current portfolio of $6.9 billion, which includes the Kuwait Fund for Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for development, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development.