OTTAWA, Canada – Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of international development and minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, has concluded a visit to Egypt that focused on the environment, climate change and food security.
While in Egypt, minister Sajjan met with several government officials and development partners. He spoke with Sameh Shoukry, minister of foreign affairs of Egypt; Rania Al Mashat, minister of international cooperation; Yasmine Fouad, minister of environment; Al-Sayed El-Quseir, minister of agriculture and land reclamation; and Nevine al-Qabbaj, minister of social solidarity, to learn more about the challenges faced by Egypt and how Canada can best support sustainable development, food security, climate action, gender equality, and social services and social safety networks for the vulnerable in Egypt.
The minister visited a farmers’ field school of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to observe climate-smart agriculture activities with maize crops. He spoke with FAO representatives, national and local government officials, and Egyptian farmers participating in the program about challenges related to climate change and food security. Minister Sajjan announced that Canada intends to work with Egypt to contribute $10 million to the FAO’s new climate-finance initiative in Upper (south) and Lower (north) Egypt.
Minister Sajjan met with Hanan El Guindy, the Chief Executive Officer of the Om Habibeh Foundation, a partner of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, and H.E. Ashraf Attia, the Governor of Aswan to discuss the results of the Canada-funded Aswan Skills Development Program project in Aswan, Upper Egypt. Technical assistance provided by the project supported the development of Aswan governorate’s climate change strategy.
The minister visited one of the sites of the Women’s Economic Empowerment for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth project, implemented by UN Women and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. This project aims to reduce the barriers women face to secure decent work, create jobs and promote a culture of entrepreneurship for Egyptian women. Minister Sajjan met with H.E. General Hisham Amna, the Governor of Beheira, H.E. Gamal Nour Eldin, Governor of Kafr ElSheikh, UN representatives and beneficiaries to talk about the project’s results to date.
The minister toured the Abassiya Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department to learn how the use of the CT scanner, procured for Egypt through Canada’s partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, is supporting the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19. He thanked the staff for their efforts in responding to high screening needs for over 20 million inhabitants of the Giza and Cairo Governorates and 40 percent of the country’s COVID-19 cases. He reinforced Canada’s commitment to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and address the pandemic’s devastating impacts on people around the world, especially on the most vulnerable.
Minister Sajjan also witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Canada-funded Opportunities for Women in Agribusiness project, implemented by Alinea International, and the Egyptian Chamber of Food Industries. This project aims to advance women’s economic empowerment by working with men and women to reverse stereotypes that have limited women’s opportunities in rural areas to be leaders and owners of businesses.
“By working together with our partners in Egypt, we can support Egyptians in their efforts to become more inclusive, sustainable and resilient. We can help support local solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change and to increase food security. Canada intends to work with Egypt and the FAO to offer new climate financing for Egyptians as part of Canada’s climate finance program,” said minister Sajjan.