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Al Mashat Participates in IDA for Africa Heads of State Summit in Kenya

Mary Nady

On behalf of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, participated in the Summit of African Heads of State, which was held in Kenya on the sidelines of the International Development Association (IDA) program for Africa, to discuss the ambitions of the continent of Africa within the framework of cooperation with the World Bank Group’s IDA and the 21st Replenishment of IDA, the world’s largest institution that provides low-interest financing and grants to help countries invest in the future and improve lives. This included the participation of Dr. William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya, Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group, and heads of state and government.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s speech included an emphasis that the summit serves as a reminder of the common destiny of the African continent, and it also works to chart a new path for development by taking advantage of the unlimited potential of the people of Africa and their resource.

The speech stressed that moving forward on this path of development requires a concerted effort to confront the intertwined challenges facing our continent, especially those faced by sub-Saharan countries, adding that the multiple crises facing the continent, especially at the level of climate change, the spread of epidemics and conflicts, have hampered development efforts and undermined path of economic growth, and also contributed to high debt levels.

The speech stated that in light of a world facing continuous challenges and shocks that have become the new normal, countries must be ready to address those challenges, pointing to the crises facing the sub-Saharan African region, which has about 462 million people suffering from extreme poverty, and these crises are worsening. This is also due to shrinking fiscal space, debt problems and low liquidity, which half of the countries of the continent suffer from.

Her speech indicated that despite these challenges, hope exists, as Africa has a wealth of natural resources waiting to be utilized, which heralds economic development, job creation, and financial stability. However, inclusive growth can only be achieved by investing in our people and creating quality jobs.

The speech highlighted that the continent’s greatest asset lies in its growing youth population, especially as our share of the global workforce is expected to become the largest in the world. With two million people joining “on a monthly basis to our region’s workforce, and this number is expected to increase, the economic transformation and jobs agenda will remain our top priorities.”

In connection, she stressed that accelerating efforts to reduce poverty and enhance economic growth requires adopting multi-sectoral and integrated political solutions, explaining that investing in human capital, digital transformation, strengthening local institutions, expanding access to affordable energy, improving communication and trade, and supporting climate adaptation and attracting private sector investment, are all necessary steps towards benefiting youth and preparing them for a prosperous future. Women’s economic empowerment also holds enormous potential not only to reduce poverty but also to promote economic growth.

It also emphasized that enhancing domestic resource mobilization and addressing illicit financial flows are essential to restoring financial stability, addressing debt and directing resources towards public spending that supports growth.

At the level of regional integration, the President’s speech indicated that regional integration, and the implementation of regional trade agreements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and investment in more efficient and affordable transport corridors, energy connectivity and the African propulsion system, are a golden opportunity to expand markets and create job opportunities.

She stressed that Sub-Saharan Africa’s ability to finance its development agenda and restructure its debts requires more concessional financing, led by the IDA, as it plays a decisive role in promoting reforms, stimulating comprehensive economic growth, and supporting countries in achieving sustainable development goals.

She stressed the Government of Egypt’s appreciation for the role played by the IDA, explaining that the joint relationship between Egypt and the IDA is a success story, as Egypt moved from a beneficiary country of the association to a donor country, out of its belief in the importance of supporting the countries of the continent that share the same common fate.

The speech concluded by noting the importance of the role of the IDA in promoting development throughout the continent. It also stressed the need to unify the call on the countries of the continent to implement an ambitious process for the twenty-first replenishment of the resources of the International Development Association (IDA), which is a historic process that would support the efforts of a continent towards achieving sustainable and comprehensive development, enhances its orientation towards a brighter future, and supports progress towards shared prosperity

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