First Year of Operation
1. Brief History
The Egyptian President, H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah El Sisi, announced the establishment of the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) at the 23rd African Union Summit in Malabo in June 2014. The EAPD was formally launched on the first of July 2014 through the merger of the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa and the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with the Commonwealth States.
The creation of the Agency (through the decision of H.E. the Egyptian Prime Minister No. 959 for the year 2013) reflects the desire of the political leadership to maximize Egypt’s presence in African and Islamic countries, deepen and strengthen its ties with them, and support their efforts in achieving sustainable development.
2. Regulatory Framework
The overall policy of the EAPD is set by a board of directors chaired by the Foreign Minister and includes the Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs, as well as a number of Assistant Ministers, who take the decisions necessary to achieve the EAPD objectives.
The EAPD is administered by a Secretary General who is appointed by the Foreign Minister.
3. The Strategic Framework
The EAPD seeks to build on the achievements of the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa and the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with the Commonwealth States over the past decades. It also seeks to find innovative ways to engage with international and local partners to open new cooperation horizons which serve the Egyptian foreign policy, and support the efforts of African and Islamic countries to achieve development. The EAPD's work is based on the following principles and strategic objectives:
Strengthening South-South cooperation as a key means of support to developing countries, upon their request, on the basis of the respect for national sovereignty, unconditionality, the non-interference in internal affairs, as well as the achievement of mutual interests.
Supporting economic integration between Egypt and African countries, including through capitalizing on the outcomes of the Tripartite Summit of the three African economic blocs (COMESA; SADC; and EAC) which Egypt hosted on June 10th 2015, as a milestone in the establishment of a free trade zone comprising 26 countries, with a population of 632 million people, and an overall GDP of US $ 1.3 trillion. To achieve this goal, the EAPD promotes investment in African countries, and helps the Egyptian private sector in intensifying its activities in the continent through facilitating its contacts with officials, assisting the launch of its operations there, providing the necessary information, and organizing promotional tours in the continent.
Assisting African and Islamic countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that have not been accomplished yet. The Agency is also eager to support their efforts in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 adopted during the United Nations Summit for the Post-2015 Development Agenda (New York; September 2015); including achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those relating to the eradication of poverty and hunger, health, education, the empowerment of women, the promotion of economic growth, the establishment of peaceful and inclusive socities, in addition to the revitalization of the global partnership for sustainable development.
Establishing innovative partnerships at the international and national levels to exchange knowledge, expertise and modern technology, and mobilize additional funding from traditional and non-traditional sources, to enable the EAPD to expand its programs.
4. Major Initiatives Launched during EAPD’s 1st year
The organization of the first African Business, Investment and Trade Forum:
The EAPD initiated the idea of Egypt hosting an African Forum for the promotion of investment and trade opportunities in Africa, in coordination with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency. The Egyptian President announced during the Tripartite Summit of the three African economic blocs in June 10, 2015 that the Forum will be held in early 2016 under his the auspices.
The Forum is being organized in cooperation with the national concerned authorities (such as the Ministries of Investment, Trade and International Cooperation); and will address five main areas: energy, infrastructure, medicine and health, small and medium-sized enterprises, and food industries.
All African countries and their development partners will be invited, and a number of African Heads of State and Government who have a keen interest in the role of the private sector in promoting investment and economic integration in Africa.
Strengthening medical cooperation with Egyptian specialized centers of international excellence:
Dr. Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation: the EAPD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Foundation to annually provide five training opportunities lasting six months each, in the Aswan Heart Centre, as well as offer medical treatment free of charge to a number of Africans patients, send medical convoys under the leadership of Dr. Magdi Yacoub to conduct heart operations, train medical teams to perform heart surgery, and use modern equipment for heart disease offered as a grant by the EAPD.
Dr. Mohamed Ghoneim's Urology and Nephrology Center of Mansoura: The Centre has hosted a training program for African doctors in kidney and urinary tract surgery in June 2015 (under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the EAPD and the center), in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank. An agreement has been reached to organize four training programs annually for African cadres, with the possibility of sending specialists and technicians from the Center to conduct training courses in a number of African priority countries for Egypt.
The Children's Cancer Hospital 57357: the EAPD cooperates with the hospital, one of the largest children's hospitals in the world, through an ambitious program for training 600 African medical cadres in all areas, providing technical expertise to a number of hospitals in Africa, as well as offering free treatment to a number of children with cancer in African countries.
Launching an initiative to establish an information mechanism to combat Ebola and other epidemics:
The EAPD has launched an initiative to create an information mechanism to combat Ebola and other epidemics in Africa, to bridge the information gap and help concerned parties to take necessary prevention and treatment measures. The aim is to establish a center for the communication and exchange of information and solutions in order to deal quickly and effectively with health emergencies in the continent. The initiative has been announced by the Egyptian President during the AU Summit in January 2015, and has been put presented by the Minister of Health before the Executive Board of the World Health Organization during the same month.
The EAPD had previously organized a workshop on the initiative in Cairo on December 15th - 16th 2014, in cooperation with the Ministries of Health and Communications, Microsoft, and the World Health Organization.
Strengthening cooperation with Egyptian and international institutions:
The EAPD has cooperated with the Social Fund for Development to share its experience with the largest possible number of African countries, and to explore ways of cooperating between the Fund and the corresponding bodies in African countries.
The Agency works on identifying new areas of cooperation with a number of specialized Egyptian training centers with a large absorptive capacity; such as the Central Metallurgical Research and Development Institute affiliated to the Ministry of Scientific Research, and the training department of the Ministry of Military Production. This opens up broad areas of cooperation to strengthen Egypt's role in Africa.
The EAPD has been keen to enhance contacts with leading Egyptian companies working in Africa, mainly the Arab Contractors, El-Nasr Export & Import Co, Qalaa Holdings, as well as NU-MED (a group of Egypt's largest pharmaceutical companies), to help them promote their activities and investments in Africa.
The Agency has also explored opportunities for cooperation in the fields of training and capacity building with two of the largest international companies in the field of information and communication technology; mainly Microsoft and IBM. The EAPD was able to establish a productive partnership with Microsoft to use information technology to combat Ebola in Africa.
Hosting senior officials and media personalities from Africa:
To present to African countries the reality of the situation in Egypt, far from any misinformation, the EAPD has arranged in February 2015 a visit to Egypt for a delegation comprising the editors of the 15 most important newspapers in the countries of the Nile Basin and SADC.
The Agency has also arranged a visit for the editors of the most important African newspapers in Central and Western Africa, Djibouti and South Africa in August 2015.
The two delegations had the honor to meet with the Egyptian President and the Foreign Minister. Moreover, the EAPD organized a number of meetings with the Egyptian media and senior Egyptian officials.
The Agency shared the expenses of hosting senior African officials in a bilateral framework as well as the participants in a number of international conferences and seminars held in Cairo, including, for example, hosting the Ethiopian popular delegation, which comprised 60 people, in December 2014.
Establishing an Alumni Association:
To maximize the benefits of the training courses it organizes, and to ensure a continued presence of Egypt in Africa, the EAPD established, in collaboration with Egyptian missions/embassies abroad, an Alumni Association open to those who benefited from trainings provided through the EAPD. The aim is to ensure continuous communication between the Agency and the trainees, respond to their queries, discuss issues of common interest.
Opening new horizons for cooperation in the field of security training:
The EAPD's first year has witnessed tremendous progress in the field of security training through increased cooperation with the Egyptian Military Academy and the Egyptian Police Academy, in organizing specialized training courses, in light of the increasing demand from African countries to benefit from their experiences in the areas of fighting terrorism, protecting VIPs, and securing elections.
5. The Agency’s Main Activities
The Agency attaches great importance to building the capacity of cadres from African and Islamic countries to help them achieve their potential. The Agency organizes in this regard training courses in many areas such as: diplomacy, law, agriculture, health, education, communication and information technology, as well as security. The Agency also cooperates with a number of Egyptian centers of excellence in these areas to organize training courses, including the Institute of Diplomatic Studies, the National Center for Judicial Studies, the Egyptian Military Academy, the Police Research Centre, and the Water Research Institute. Since its inception, the Agency has organized 70 training courses attended by more than 1500 trainees from African countries, and more than 260 trainees from Commonwealth countries.
The EAPD has reformed the process of dispatching experts. It has reviewed the needs of the African and Islamic countries to meet some of them. There are currently 61 experts in 21 countries, and the Agency plans to dispatch 8 experts to the Commonwealth countries, and 14 experts to African countries.
The Agency has also reviewed and modified the nomination and selection procedures of experts, to be more transparent; it has also reviewed the structure of their salaries, and adjusted them to match the countries’ standards of living, and to be consistent with the financial structure of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
Providing Aid and Assistance:
The Assistance provided during the current fiscal year included the provision of medical aid and equipment to a number of African countries, as well as aid provided to the African countries which suffered from the Ebola outbreak.
The agency developed and equipped a number of African hospitals and Egyptian medical centers in a number of African countries. It also provided medical equipment to the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation to equip the specialized medical units in a number of Africa’s hospitals (such as Uganda, Ethiopia, and Burundi), under the memorandum of understanding signed between the Agency and the Foundation.
Promoting Triangular Cooperation:
The Agency's promotes triangular cooperation through 2 axes:
1. Seeking to update and maximize the benefit from existing agreements (previously concluded between the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa and donor countries and institutions).
2. Exploring cooperation with new development partners. As such, the Agency has sought to maximize triangular cooperation with a number of donor countries and institutions, mainly:
The African Development Bank: is one of the oldest African institutions that supported the African Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa. The EAPD has worked to find new opportunities for cooperation with the Bank in the health sector in Africa and through the support of the activities of the Egyptian private sector there.
The Islamic Development Bank: the Agency has paid special attention to the Bank, being one of the most flexible financial institutions in promoting development in Africa, and one of the oldest partners of the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa. The Agency has begun to cooperate with the Bank to establish a permanent Egyptian presence in the health sector in some African countries members of the Bank that are of strategic importance to Egypt. The Agency has also sought to take advantage of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (affiliated to the IDB) to cover the risks of exporting Egyptian products to Africa.
The Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to African Countries: The Agency reached an agreement with the Fund on the expansion of cooperation activities in the coming period. The Fund has agreed in principle to participate in the organization of training courses during 2015 and 2016.
Japan: Egypt has signed a framework agreement for triangular cooperation in Africa with Japan in 1998. Activities of cooperation have throughout the past years been implemented by the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa, and now by the EAPD, in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), especially in the field of organizing training courses for Africans (JICA and EAPD have organized 11 training sessions in the fields of agriculture, electricity, trade, and health). Moreover, new prospects of cooperation proposed by the Agency to JICA are being explored.
The Agency is engaged in various contacts to explore the prospects of triangular cooperation with many countries of the world with a keen interest in Africa, such as a number of Gulf Arab states, China, India, South Korea, Mexico, and Argentina.
A Special Focus on Health, Education, and Women's Empowerment:
The scope of the Agency's work includes many sectors and issues; yet, it pays special attention to health, education and women issues given their crucial role in achieving and sustaining development efforts in Africa. The Agency’s initiatives in these areas included the following:
Improving the system of dispatching medical convoys to the countries of the continent, by diversifying their medical activities to include awareness raising, training, capacity building, and the establishment of partnerships to increase the number of convoys and their influence in important African events. In this context, a convoy was dispatched to help Equatorial Guinea to set up a quarantine system during the Africa Cup of Nations 2015.
Four medical convoys were dispatched over the last year. The Agency seeks during the coming period to dispatch convoys to help the displaced and refugees in African countries of priority to Egypt; as well as mobilize additional resources from national partners to fund convoys without creating additional burdens on the EAPD's budget.
The Agency has succeeded in obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Higher Education to allow private and non-governmental universities to accept African students in medical and engineering faculties with grades of only 65% and in theoretical faculties with grades of only 55%. This would enable African students to take advantage of scholarship opportunities in Egypt without the previous requirements of obtaining very high grades comparable to their Egyptian peers.
The Agency attaches special importance to women’s empowerment in Africa as it believes in the crucial role of women in developing African societies. The Agency organized in this context training courses for women, in collaboration with various distinguished centers and institutes. Women’s participation in the Agency's programs during 2014-2015 represented about (20%); and the Agency is seeking to increase this percentage during the current fiscal year.
The Agency organized, in cooperation with the Police Research Center, a training course in the field of human rights for female police cadres of African countries in December 2014. It also organized training programs for African women in the areas of health and agriculture, in cooperation with the Faculty of Nursing at Cairo University, the Egyptian International Center for Agriculture, and the Alexandria Regional Centre for Women’s Health and Development.