31 March 2021, Amsterdam.
H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Managing Director of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), met officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and MSMEDA. The meeting was initiated by H.E. Mr. Hatem Elsayed, Ambassador of Egypt in The Hague, and took place online on 31 March 2021. During the meeting Ambassador Belal was accompanied by Mr. Axel Gruber, Chief Operations Officer of the CFC, and Mr. Andrey Kuleshov, Strategy and Development Advisor of the CFC.
After exchange of usual greetings and pleasantries, Ambassador Hatem inaugurated the meeting involving participants from The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation/MSMEDA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo and high officials from the Embassy of The Hague. In his inaugural statement, Excellency Hatem felicitated CFC for its innovative work and dedication for the SMEs and Smallholder farmers. Ambassador Hatem, building on his earlier visit to CFC on December 3rd, 2020, wish to see implementation of CFC projects in Egypt in the not-too-distant future. In the course of the discussion, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation identified few priorities for the agricultural sector and SMEs in Egypt: water management, reclamation of new land and sustainable development for SMEs and Smallholder farmers. Among others, the following points were discussed in the meeting:
A. The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation/MSMEDA requested to share with them the Call for proposals for their information so it could be made available further down the line to project proponents.
B. Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation/MSMEDA showed their interests in participating the Call for proposals and would like to receive more guidance on requirements.
C. Egypt government would actively consider apply for projects with sovereign guarantee so that implementation of the projects could be expedited. Accordingly, they have shown their interests to build up institutional between CFC and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation/MSMEDA and/or the Embassy of Egypt, The Hague.
In response, Ambassador Belal assured them of doing all CFC can to share as well as scaling up its experiences as an impact fund for almost last thirty years. While appreciating significant economic development in Egypt, Ambassador Belal desired to know from Egypt’s success stories as well. Ambassador Belal also assured participants of sharing the CFC’s Call for proposals with the hope of more participation from Egypt. He also mentioned that CFC would be happy to consider any request for institutional partnership.
The meeting further touched upon the Commodities Impact Investment Fund (CIIF), the establishment of which is currently being considered in a Working Group of the Governing Bodies of the CFC. The Government of Egypt expressed its support and interest and was looking forward to its establishment so that CIIF could complement the financing options currently available to the CFC. The meeting was concluded by Excellency Hatem with the assurances of remaining engaged and do the necessary follow up in the days to come.