Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 6 February 2022 - The evolving relations between the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Arab Republic of Egypt, the upcoming Annual Meetings of IsDB Group in Egypt next June, the official launching of the Bank's Regional Hub in Cairo in addition to developing the country’s private sector were among the main topics of discussion between H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank, and H.E. Dr. Hala El-Said, Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development who is also the current Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IsDB.
During the meeting, which took place at the Bank's headquarters in Jeddah, Dr. Al Jasser praised the constructive cooperation between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Bank in various fields of development and the continuous development in the relations between the two sides, which was reflected in the volume of the Bank’s portfolio in the country.
He also praised Egypt’s hosting for the upcoming Annual Meetings of the Bank’s Group and the ongoing coordination between representatives of both sides regarding the preparations for this important event. Dr. Al Jasser also thanked the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for agreeing to subscribe to the sixth increase in the Bank's capital..
On her part, Dr. El-Said affirmed her country’s keenness to further develop relations with the Bank in a way that enhances and achieves the common goals of the two sides.
She, once again, welcomed her country’s hosting of the IsDB Group Annual Meetings, considering this as an indication of the strength of the partnership between the two sides. Dr. Hala El-Said then welcomed the establishment of the Bank’s Regional Hub in Egypt, stressing that it will support the developing relations between the two sides.
She also gave a presentation on the economic development that Egypt has begun to achieve since 2014, noting that the state spent large sums in the last years amounting to an equivalent of US$ 400 billion, and directed them towards infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, electricity, means of transportation, etc.
The Minister, furthermore, stated that she was looking forward to cooperating with the IsDB Group in developing the private sector, and in that she touched on some important projects aimed at empowering women and providing job opportunities for the youth.
Elsewhere in the meeting, IsDB President, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, highlighted the economic successes achieved by Egypt in recent years and the size of the infrastructure that it has accomplished. He said: “At IsDB meetings in Cairo we look forward to a partnership aimed at putting forward practical projects for the private sector and investors so that they will be implemented on the ground in the interest of economic and social development in Egypt.
He then praised Egypt's support for the IsDB Group at all stages of its development, including its commitment to the sixth increase in the bank's capital. Dr. Al Jasser also stressed the bank's interest in developing the private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises that create job opportunities for a large number of citizens in the country.
During her official visit to the IsDB Group headquarters in Jeddah, Dr. El-Said also met separately with the CEOs of the Bank Group to discuss her country's relations with their institutions.
In her meeting with Eng. Hani Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), several topics were discussed, the most important of which is the proposal to establish an export academy to be the first of its kind in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The Minister also suggested, considering the priority of SMEs sector in Egypt which is in need for developing a program to qualify Egyptian women, especially business owners, to allow them to export their products.
The two parties also agreed to continue cooperation within the framework of the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program (AATB), where the third meeting of the Program’s Board of Governors will be organized and chaired by her Excellency in Cairo on 14-15 March 2022. The event is expected to witness a ministerial presence from Arab and African countries and the signing of important agreements that enhance trade and investment opportunities between the Arab and African regions..
In another meeting, Dr. El-Said met with Mr. Osama Al-Qaisi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), where the two sides reviewed the Corporation’s plan and its interest in supporting exporters and securing investment for the benefit of Egypt. They also discussed the private sector forum which coincides with the Annual Meetings of the Bank’s Group, identifying institutions and bodies inside Egypt that can benefit from the efforts of the Corporation to attract investors.
The Minister also met with Mr. Ayman Sejini, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), where they reviewed the progress by ICD in some of its activities in Egypt. The two sides conferred on the Corporation's role in supporting the Egyptian private sector, and the importance attached to the partnership with Egypt, which represents a large market for ICD. Dr. Hala, meanwhile, praised the efforts by ICD in the context of its relations with Egypt.
The total interventions of the IsDB Group in favor of Egypt to date amount to US$ 16.00 billion, of which US$ 2.20 are projects financed by the Islamic Development Bank and US$ 0.23 billion are operations for financing the private sector by ICD, US$ 11.75 billion have been provided through ITFC, as well as US$ 1.82 billion from other Bank Group funds and programs.
In addition, ICIEC has so far provided approximately US$ 7.3 billion in insurance coverage for trade operations and investments for the benefit of Egypt (including US$ 2.3 billion to support exports, US$ 2.9 billion for strategic imports, US$ 1.7 billion to attract foreign investments to Egypt, and US$ 0.4 billion to support Egyptian investments in Sub-Saharan Africa). Consequently, Egypt is one of the member countries that benefited most from the Corporation's services.
Regarding the efforts of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) to meet the growing demand for insuring export and investment credit in the Egyptian market, the Corporation has prepared a strategic plan for expansion in the Egyptian market.
The plan is based on several pilars, including providing insurance support for infrastructure projects in the Egyptian market and providing insurance support to the Egyptian government to insure its strategic goods. This is in addition to supporting the Egyptian relations with the African market and encouraging the flow of foreign direct investments to the Egyptian market, in addition to developing the relationship with Egyptian banks in the field of trade financing.
In the field of trade finance by ITFC, the corporation has contributed to enhancing trade finance in the Arab Republic of Egypt by supporting imports of crude oil, oil derivatives, food commodities, and other products. Egypt is also one of the member countries that has benefited the most from ITFC financing. In the field of trade development, since its inception, the Corporation has been implementing many technical assistance programs and projects related to foreign trade and institutional support in the Republic of Egypt within the framework of the main programs and integrated trade solutions it provides.
In this context, the Republic of Egypt joined the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program (AATB) and the Assistance for Trade Initiative Program for Arab Countries (AFTIAS) in order to benefit from the projects that are approved under their umbrellas. ITFC is also working to support Egyptian women in global trade through the “She Trades” project, which has been implemented since 2020 under the supervision of the Corporation and co-financed by the AFTIAS Program and the Islamic Development Bank.
In the field of scholarships, this year 14 Egyptian students have benefited from the programs offered by the Bank, and the number of Egyptian students who have benefited from the Bank’s scholarships program so far has reached 107 (33 for Ph.D., 22 for post-doctoral research, 11 for master’s degrees, and 41 for undergraduate degrees), where the majority of graduate students have been sent to European and U.S. universities.
The Egyptian universities also hosted 48 students from the Bank, for scholarships in several Egyptian universities (29 male and female students) from member countries, and from Muslim communities around the world (19 male and female students). IsDB’s Scholarships Department has also embarked on an initiative to sign a scholarship agreement between the Bank and the Ministry of Higher Education in Egypt in cooperation with the Bank's Regional Hub in Cairo.
In the field of supporting women’s empowerment, and in consultation between the Islamic Development Bank, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Egyptian government, the Bank agreed to appoint a consultant in the field of human resources development to assist the Women Development Organization.of the OIC, hosted by Egypt, in building the human resources system.
Additionally, the Bank has approved a technical assistance project for institutional support to the organization with a US$ 150,000 grant. The Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) meanwhile, supports capacity building and women's economic empowerment by holding training courses in the field of financial inclusion in Egypt.
In the field of private sector support, the IsDB Group, through ICD, has pursued a two-pronged strategy:
- Direct investments in large projects, such as the establishment of the Eastern Sugar Project.
- Investing in local funds, leasing companies, and Islamic banks, where the Foundation established the Enmaa Leasing Company, which finances various types of assets for large companies and small and medium enterprises.
In the field of public-private partnership (PPP) support, the IsDB Group has provided a total of US$ 99 million to finance solar fields for power generation and implementation through private companies.