A meeting with representatives of the world bank
General Mahmoud Sharawi, minister of local development, held a conference call with a number of world bank representatives to follow the latest developments of the local development programme in upper Egypt, chaired by Mr. Oliver Bradt, director of the sustainable development and infrastructure programme at the world bank office in Cairo, and Mr. Gad Salhab, senior private sector development officer of the bank. Dr. Mohammed Nada, senior urban development expert at the bank in charge of the programme's technical support team. Dr. Dr Hisham al-Helbawi, director of the local development programme in upper Egypt, Dr. Khaled Abdul Haleem, deputy programme manager.
At the beginning of the meeting, General Mahmoud Sharawi thanked the team and experts of the world bank for their efforts in the past and for providing every support to the local development programme. Commending the efforts of the world bank in supporting all projects which have been implemented in various sectors and fields in the Egyptian governorates.
The minister of local development stressed that the programme is one of the national projects through which the Egyptian political leadership and government are seeking to achieve a paradigm shift in the governorates of Suhag and Quena that supports development, pleases citizens, creates jobs and improves living standards . noted that the Egyptian government paid considerable attention to the programme as an integrated model of local development on a large scale and transferred it to a number of governorates.
General Mahmoud Sharawi noted the desire of the President and prime minister to make a significant progress in implementing the recommendations of the mid-term evaluation of the world bank, which were issued last January.
Sharawi said that the programme was able to achieve great success in the two governorates, as certified by the world bank during its most recent missions. And the number of beneficiaries of projects implemented has risen to 5 million out of 8 million in the two governorates. Further more the decline if the poverty rate and achieving the most important goal of the programme which is the development of a model for integrated development management in Quena and Suhag, the activation of community participation and the role of the private sector, and the development of performance by the two governorates in the planning process and implementation of projects which encouraged discussion on extending the programme's geographical framework to Assiut and Menia governorates .
The minister of local development referred to the ministry's coordination with the ministry of industry and trade and the provision of 6 billion pounds (4 billion pounds of local content and 2 billion pounds of loan) for the installation of industrial zones in the two governorates in addition to the coordination with gas companies in Quena and Suhag to solve the gas problems .
The minister of local development confirmed that the meeting with the world bank delegation came to review the results of the meetings and discussions that had taken place between the world bank mission and the relevant Egyptian ministries over the past few days.
He added that with regard to the required financial reforms, coordination had been undertaken with the ministry of finance to provide operating and maintenance expenses and financial allocations had been included to initiate project maintenance contracts, thus saving the state financial resources, It also coordinates with the ministry of planning and economic development for the local planning system and with the ministry of industry and trade to make the governorates models for making industry an engine for development.
Sharawi explained that the geographical extension of the programme in new governorates was being coordinated with the ministry of international cooperation, pointing that the President of the republic is constantly following up on the results of the programme and receives periodic reports on its results through the programme management committee chaired by the prime minister.
Major general Mahmoud Sharawi added that during the Coved 19 crisis, the political leadership and government of Egypt gave high priority to all groups and workers affected by the crisis and provided support to mitigate and support the impact of the virus on these groups. He added that a comprehensive cooperation protocol is currently being signed with the ministry of health to provide a package of urgent interventions and prepare a medium-term plan for contributions to the health sector by the local development programme in Upper Egypt. The protocol will be signed in August.
The minister of local development indicated that the two governorates Quena and Suhag intended to initiate the proposed emergency interventions to address the economic impact of the corona virus on the four economic clusters listed in the phase first plan, including environmental trades, handicrafts and furniture manufacturing, He noted the importance of opening up new markets such as electronic platforms, incentivizing governments to purchase products for those trades and providing lending systems commensurate with the nature of these trades.
The minister of local development stressed that the ministry had made some lending programmes available to the cartelists through (Mashroaak )programme and the local development fund with soft loans.
Oliver Bradat, programme manager for sustainable development at the world bank office in Cairo, said that Quena and Suhag governorates were a model for world bank projects and programmes. We look forward to their implementation in other countries. The compass of the programme has changed considerably over the past two years. He stressed the important role and involvement of the private sector in the programme in improving infrastructure in order to create more jobs and attract more investment.
The delegation of the world bank also commended the government of Egypt for dealing with the corona pandemic, establishing a clear plan to confront it and helping those affected by the negative effects of Corona.
Dr. Mohamed Nada thanked major general Mahmoud Sharawi for the efforts he has made to the international bank team and the coordination office of the ministry and the two governorates since assuming responsibility , and also his insist to resolve all the challenges and obstacles that have arisen during the past period and coordinating with the relevant government ministries, in particular with regard to finance, planning, industry and international cooperation, with a view to speedily overcoming and resolving them.
It is noteworthy that the local development program in upper Egypt is financed in part by an international bank loan of $500 million and an Egyptian government contribution of $457 million.
Translated by : Hanaa Mohamed Saleh