A three-day visit to Egypt by a US green tech business delegation aimed to explore the opportunities available to US companied to increase investment in renewable energy and green technologies.
In his address to the delegation, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli said the government is committed to prioritising “renewable energy, green hydrogen, sustainable transport, de-carbonisation of sectors like oil and gas, steel and cement, sustainable agriculture and water management” and that investments in these areas will receive full cabinet support.
He highlighted that the government was targeting an increase in private sector investment in green energy projects to 65 per cent of the total rather than the current 30 per cent.
Delegation head David Thorne, a senior adviser to the Special Envoy of Climate said during a press conference on Monday that Madbouli’s announcement represented real progress in Egypt’s green transition, and that a major element of the success of last year’s COP26, hosted by the UK and held in Glasgow, was the wide private sector participation.
He expressed the hope that the delegation will return to Egypt within three months.
During the same press conference Hisham Fahmi, CEO of AmCham Egypt, a co-organiser of the US mission, said AmCham had worked hard to reach out to the US administration, think tanks, media, and Congress members in order to promote the Egyptian private sector’s perspectives on green energy.
Meeting with the Green Tech delegation on Sunday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri highlighted investment opportunities in Egypt and said that the visit represented a step in the right direction in efforts to transform climate pledges into a reality on the ground.
The delegation’s visit, he continued, is part of joint Egyptian-US effort to strengthen bilateral relations and build on the strategic dialogue between Cairo and Washington.
On COP27, Shoukri said the conference will see the participation of all parties concerned with climate action, including representatives of the private sector, and give them room to present their views.
The delegation also met with Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Said who said COP27 will actively engage civil society, the private sector, academia, and think tanks in facilitating sustainable development.
Meanwhile, at a ministerial meeting held last week in Copenhagen in preparation for COP27, Shoukri stressed the importance of accelerating implementation of the climate pledges reached in Glasgow in order to keep the goal of reducing the rise in global temperatures to under 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
The meeting, attended by more than 40 countries, aimed to assess the actions needed to deliver on key commitments made at COP26. It was co-chaired by Egypt, as the host of COP27, and the UK, which hosted COP26.
Shoukri told the meeting that Egypt will issue a new national climate target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions within weeks, becoming one of the first countries to do so.
More than 40 US companies took part in the three-day green tech delegation visit which was jointly organised by AmCham and the US Chamber of Commerce and saw the signing of two agreements, the first covering waste management and renewable energy, the second environmental safety, as well as intensive networking which Thorne says will lead to yet more agreements.
The challenges are enormous — but so, too, are the rewards, said Thorne, who concluded by saying he “looked forward to our continued work with the Egyptian government to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities”.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 May, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.