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Egypt implemented about 34 projects in 2020 at $ 3.3 bn under SDG 5
Egypt carried out around 34 projects, worth $3.3 billion, to serve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) on gender equality, with the top targeted sectors, including Health (20 percent), Education (14 percent), and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) (15 percent).
The Ministry of International Cooperation’s current portfolio of projects that exclusively target SDG 5 include 13 projects amounting to $82 million. This is in addition to the other projects in the portfolio that achieve the same goal as a collateral effect to their development.
In 2020, the ministry secured a total of $7 million through bilateral cooperation with Spain and Canada to merge the socioeconomic gender gap.
For the first time in history, 25 percent of the Egyptian Parliament seats are allocated to women, with eight crucial ministries led by women in the Egyptian cabinet. Such a number of women in leading positions and with influential powers can encourage and inspire young ladies to achieve their potential, and push through the social barriers.
The annual report of the Ministry of International Cooperation 2020, issued under the title “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development”, revealed that empowering women and achieving equal opportunities comes as a priority and a sub-goal in many development projects that are being implemented within the ministry’s ongoing portfolio of $25 billion.
Gender equality is one of the first, and major, steps in achieving an inclusive society and for any country to realize its full economic potential. The participation of women in the economy is critical. “It is no longer lip service, all stakeholders are coming together to progress towards gender parity,” said International Cooperation Minister Dr. Rania al Mashat.
In July 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation, the National Council for Women (NCW), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator”; the first of its kind public-private collaboration model in Africa, and the Middle East, that aims to help governments and businesses take decisive action to close economic gender gaps.
The “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator” aims to increase women’s participation in the labor force, close gender gaps, advance women into leadership positions, and hardwire gender parity in the future of work. The accelerator’s launch highlights the Government of Egypt’s political will in committing to needed policies and structural reform that encompasses a gender agenda in empowering women and in economically including women in the public and private sectors.
One of the silver linings in COVID-19 was accelerated reforms, including closing the gender gap, to be able to build back better through inclusivity. Egypt was the first country to provide a women-specific response during COVID-19 launched by the National Council For Women.
The country scored 1st place in the Middle East and West Asia regions with 21 policy measures according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker.
Even during trying times, women were working through and around COVID-19. This year, Kemama, a community based initiative and in partnership with the UNDP and El Nidaa Foundation, engaged with Egyptian women in Upper Egypt to produce medical masks and they managed to produce over 3,000 masks daily.
The economic empowerment of women requires access to equal education. Investment in women’s education is a top priority. This is done not only by expanding their access to education, but also by improving the quality of their education, countering stereotypes in school curriculums and preparing them to contribute in sectors that are in most demand and lack female representation, such as STEM fields.
Access to education and jobs require safe transport. In the summer of 2020, Egypt won two Sustainability Awards granted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for its development in “Sustainable Energy” and “Gender and Inclusion”. One of those awards went to the Egyptian National Railways (ENR) for contributing to safe transport for women’s economic inclusion and providing access to education.
The active participation of women in the economy will pave the way for economic growth and poverty reduction in Egypt.
According to the annual report by the Ministry of International Cooperation in 2020, the ministry secured development financing agreements worth $9.8 billion during the year; $6.7 billion for financing sovereign projects, and $3.1 billion in support of the private sector.