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HomeAfricaEgypt, Italy review progress on $100m debt swap programme - Dailynewsegypt

Egypt, Italy review progress on $100m debt swap programme – Dailynewsegypt

Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, and Michele Quaroni, the Italian Ambassador to Cairo, convened the management committee for the Egyptian-Italian debt swap programme at the Ministry’s headquarters in the New Administrative Capital.

The Sunday meeting focused on the progress of the program’s third phase, valued at $100m, and discussed the potential scope of a fourth phase.

The third phase is funding a range of development projects in food security, agriculture, higher education, civil society, environmental conservation, cultural heritage preservation, women’s empowerment, wheat storage infrastructure, and child protection.

Al-Mashat commended the debt swap mechanism, noting that it serves as a model for other development partners. The program aims to alleviate Egypt’s external debt burden while supporting projects aligned with national priorities.

The committee emphasized the importance of regular meetings to ensure efficient implementation and maximum impact.

The meeting addressed the status of various projects within the third phase, including strategies to overcome obstacles and maximize the use of available funds. Al-Mashat underscored the Ministry’s commitment to coordinating with relevant ministries and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive vision for utilizing the remaining funds to complete ongoing projects by the end of the year.

Discussions also touched upon the potential for Italian participation in the “Hub for Advisory, Finance & Investment for Enterprises” platform, launched by the Ministry to streamline financial and technical services offered to the private sector by development partners.

Both parties agreed to initiate negotiations for a fourth phase of the debt swap program. The Italian ambassador emphasized Italy’s keen interest in supporting Egypt’s “NWFE” program, focusing on water, food, and energy. Potential areas of cooperation for the new phase include the agricultural food sector, support for marginalized groups affected by climate change and food insecurity, investment in human capital, and the establishment of agricultural technical schools.

Egypt and Italy have a longstanding partnership dating back to the 1970s. The first phase of the debt swap program, launched in 2001, saw the implementation of 54 projects, while the second phase, initiated in 2007, supported 32 projects. The current third phase, signed in 2012, is ongoing, bringing the total value of the three phases to approximately $350m.

Previous phases have funded a wide array of projects, from rural development and educational initiatives to green transformation projects and water supply system rehabilitation. The second phase focused on poverty reduction, job creation, waste management, industrial school modernization, and technical education complexes.