Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Monday attended the inauguration of the eighth Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Sharm el-Sheikh and spoke to a thematic dialogue session on ways to promote private sector investment in infrastructure projects.
“Sustainable Growth in a Challenging World” is the theme for the AIIB’s current session in Sharm e-Sheikh, reflecting the bank’s continued commitment to supporting the key infrastructure requirements of its members in the midst of the climate-centred global agenda and the compounding challenges faced by its members.
In remarks at a dialogue session on “The Role of Development Banks in Mobilising Capital to the Private Sector to Invest in Infrastructure,” President Sisi stressed the need for emerging countries for more low-cost financing in light of the economic circumstances that the world has experienced since the coronavirus pandemic and which continued with the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
Multilateral financial institutions are therefore required to help emerging and weak countries in light of the challenges the world is currently witnessing, the president said.
President Sisi also expressed Egypt’s appreciation for the AIIB for the support and financing of infrastructure projects, adding, “We look forward to more financing in the field of infrastructure and Egypt has a special experience in this context, as it had a large gap that the state tried to overcome during the past eight years, through an ambitious investment plan in order to reach better horizons, and we encourage the private sector to move with us.”
On the sidelines of the meetings of the Bank’s Board of Governors, President Sisi met AIIB chief Jin Liqun and expressed Egypt’s appreciation for the distinguished relations with the Asian bank, especially in light of the important role it played during the past years as a partner of Egypt in the development process, Presidency Spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said.
Noting that such partnership was reflected in Egypt hosting for the first time the AIIB meetings, President Sisi said Egypt is looking forward to exploring more areas of co-operation with the bank, especially in the areas of transportation, clean energy, and supporting the transition to a green economy.
For his part, Liqun expressed gratification over the opportunity of meeting President Sisi and thanked Egypt for the successful hosting of the meetings of the Bank’s Board of Governors, which are held for the first time in Africa, stressing the bank’s pride in the close co-operation relations with Egypt and its various financial institutions.
He also praised the Egyptian experience to achieve comprehensive economic and social development; hence the Asian bank’s keenness to continue strengthening the investment portfolio in Egypt, especially with regard to financing infrastructure projects in various vital sectors.
Addressing the opening session of the annual meetings of AIIB, AIIB President Liqun said Egypt witnessed a big leap in growth of infrastructure under President Sisi.
Egypt’s infrastructure has a special position in the world, citing the example of building the Pyramids and Suez Canal that allows the crossing of 12 per cent of the international trade.
He also praised Egypt’s achievements in establishing the New Administrative Capital, which he viewed as the best projects carried out by the state.
The AIIB president underlined the necessity of attaching special importance to infrastructure projects across the world in order to be able to absorb the natural catastrophes similar to what happened in Morocco and Libya.
Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said many developing countries, including the emerging ones, need a variety of fundamental resources to recover their economies in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
She called on the developed countries, multilateral credit banks, including the AIIB, to fulfill their commitments to offer more incentives and privileges to member countries to face the impact of current economic crisis.
She also affirmed backing for the AIIB’s commitment to allocate a portion of budget to climate finance and support the countries willing to achieve its climate agendas to comply with the international agenda of reaching zero-carbon emissions.
Finance Minister Mohamed Maeet, for his part, said the eighth annual meetings of AIIB affirmed Egypt’s leading role at the regional and international arenas through holding a number of vital events.
He shed light on Egypt’s efforts to reinforce its international co-operation among the region’s states and across the continents.
Maeet reiterated Cairo’s backing for the comprehensive and sustainable development axes that could bring about prosperity and wellbeing for all peoples of the world.
A documentary was displayed on co-operation between the AIIB and Egypt in light of current challenges of climate change, population increase, among others.
The film also shed light on Egypt’s weight and its political and economic position as a founding member of AIIB, in addition to being the biggest supporter in Africa and the Middle East with a funding share of $650 million.
It also reviewed the projects that have been implemented by Egypt since 2014, citing the examples of the New Suez Canal, the upgrading of roads and harbours, land and transportation projects in the Sinai, the “Decent Life” Initiative and the New Administrative Capital, as well as other mega projects.
Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, Finance Minister Mohammed Maeet and a galaxy of state officials are attending the two-day meetings, along with participants from 106 countries, partners, business leaders, civil society organisations and experts on a range of fields from all around the world.