Promoting Economic Integration in Africa through South-South and Triangular Cooperation

May 26, 2023 | News

In the presence of 50 development partners and heads of international organizations and United Nations agencies, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, and Executive Director of the African Union Development Agency (NEPAD) chaired a high-level panel discussion on promoting economic integration in Africa through South-South and Triangular Cooperation

During the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Sharm El-Sheikh, the Minister of International Cooperation, H.E.  Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, and Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Executive Director NEPAD, chaired a high-level panel discussion on promoting economic integration in Africa through South-South and Triangular cooperation, to present Egypt’s efforts and strategy to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation in Africa. The meeting also highlighted the South-South and Triangular Cooperation Academy (SSTC) that the Ministry relaunched with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2021, and to discuss efforts to enhance Triangular cooperation in Africa to advance development efforts and enhance comprehensive partnerships to meet development challenges.

The session was held with the participation of Abdullah Al-Dardari, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Office for the Arab States at the UNDP, Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Heiki Harmgart, Regional Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Region of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Alessandro Fracassetti, Director of the UNDP in Egypt, Dima Al-Khatib, Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Hanan Morsi, UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist, Jay Collins, Vice President of Citibank, and representatives of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (IFTC-IDB), the World Food Programme, the French Development Agency (AFD), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United States Agency for Development (USAID), the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and others.

During the session, Mengisteab Haile, Regional Director of the WFP, announced the provision of $100,000 to the countries of the Southern African Development Group, which includes 16 countries, with the aim of enhancing knowledge exchange efforts with Egypt within the framework of South-South cooperation, and benefiting from development experiences represented in the Presidential Initiative for the development of rural areas under  “Haya Karima”.

In her speech, Al-Mashat emphasized that South-South cooperation is one of the important pillars on which development efforts can be built, pointing out that Egypt cooperates with all multilateral and bilateral development partners and has a development cooperation portfolio worth $26 billion, in all development sectors, and all of these projects can be transferred to Africa in the light of efforts to exchange expertise and experiences, pointing out that the Ministry of International Cooperation, with the UNDP, in 2021 re-launched the SSTC, to enhance efforts to exchange knowledge and experiences, enhance technical support projects in Africa and build on the experience sharing process that the country is already undertaking in various sectors.

During the meeting, Al-Mashat presented the international context of South-South cooperation and Triangular cooperation and their importance at this time when the world is witnessing escalating crises affecting development efforts, and the need to advance development efforts by benefiting from the experiences already implemented. H.E. added that South-South cooperation and Triangular  cooperation promotes the achievement of Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “Partnership for the Goals”, without which none of the remaining UN SDGs will be achieved, and it has become a basic concept and a pivotal factor in all strategies of international institutions, especially the UN.

Al-Mashat also discussed the role of the Ministry of International Cooperation in advancing South-South cooperation, by renewing the launch of the SSTC in 2021, and strengthening its role during the years 2020 and 2021 to push South-South cooperation to become a key player in this framework, as the first framework Institutional integrated in the Middle East and Africa within the framework of the SSTC to support development efforts in the region.

Al-Mashat drew attention to the activities organized by the Ministry of International Cooperation during the years 2020 and 2021 to enhance South-South cooperation efforts, including the organization of a workshop on adapting to climate changes in development cooperation policies, and hosting the Egypt – International Cooperation Forum, which worked to advance South-South cooperation and Triangular cooperation through discussions, training events and workshops, as well as the launch of the “Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing”, and participation in the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Qatar.

H.E. also referred to the pioneering development experiences, including the interventions implemented by the UN in the villages of the “Haya Karima” initiative, investing in human capital, which amounted to about 400 interventions, benefiting about 1.5 million citizens, and could represent an important model for partnership between the countries of the South.

The Minister continued: “We have development cooperation programs and accumulated experiences with all partners, and they can represent a strong base for strengthening the role of these institutions in Africa by transferring development experiences through South-South cooperation, as Egypt is a gateway to the African continent.”

Bekele-Thomas thanked Al-Mashat for the efforts made in this field, stressing that South-South cooperation is an important focus for African Union agencies and regional institutions.

Al-Dardari affirmed the UNDP’s commitment to moving forward in joint cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation on the SSTC, stressing that any development plans to achieve green transformation, reduce poverty rates and climate action will not be achieved without South-South cooperation, an essential part to achieving development.

He stressed the importance of plans and joint work with Egypt, which is a key partner of the UNDP, to enhance cooperation at the regional level, stimulate south-south cooperation, and create replicable economic models, adding that the program harnesses all its capabilities to support ambitious and promising Egyptian initiatives to stimulate the green transition, especially in light of inportant initiatives implemented, foremost of which is the Haya Karima initiative.

Harmgart said that the EBRD is cooperating with Egypt in many pioneering projects in the water desalination and renewable energy sectors, as well as the energy pillar within the “NWFE” program, explaining the importance of benefiting from the expertise of the private sector, in implementing development projects in different countries and countries of the South, which contributes to strengthening South-South cooperation. H.E. also referred to the decision taken by the bank’s board of directors to expand in Sub-Saharan Africa, which enhances the bank’s efforts in the continent and provides a greater opportunity to replicate the development experiences implemented with Egypt in the countries of the continent.

In her intervention Panova indicated the importance of South-South cooperation, and that it comes within the partnership framework between Egypt and the UN for the next five years 2023-2027, stressing the determination of the United Nations and its agencies to direct full support in stimulating sustainable development efforts in the continent of Africa.

Al-Khatib referred to the close cooperation between the UNOSSC and the Arab Republic of Egypt through the “South-South Galaxy” platform and stressed the office’s intention to continue cooperation with Egypt in the field of capacity building.

For her part, Morsi referred to the experiences and initiatives that the commission is working on in promoting south-south cooperation between several African countries such as Kenya and Sudan in the tax field, and also referred to the partnership to promote climate finance in Africa and the importance of concerted efforts to mobilize more concessional financing with better financing terms, in addition to promoting ways of blended financing for the climate.

Collins expressed Citibank’s intention to expand capacity-building efforts in the financial markets in the countries of the south, and to provide technical support to countries in this field. He pointed to the importance of enhancing regional trade between the countries of the South and benefiting from the experiences of Asian countries in the dynamics of trade. He also confirmed Citibank’s intention to establish partnerships to support South-South cooperation and enhance the capacity of the financial markets of those countries.

Officials of the IFTC-IDB also confirmed their intention to consolidate south-south cooperation with Egypt, especially in the field of digital transformation, and officials of the AfDB highlighted their intention to partner in order to support capacity building.

Originally posted by the Ministry of International Affairs of Egypt. To read the original article, please click here.