Ambassador David H. Thorne Remarks
Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
(US Green Trade Mission, May 15-16, 2022)
Cairo - May 16, 2022
Thank you to Prime Minister Madbouly for joining us today.
• As some of you may know, I have a long history of working with Egypt and the business community. I have the honor of having played a leadership role in the largest ever U.S. trade mission to Egypt and now am adding the honor of leading the U.S. government delegation to what might be the largest U.S. green business trade mission ever. It's also the first green business trade mission ever...
• We greatly appreciated your announcements yesterday you are sending a clear signal with Egypt’s intentions to have the sector account for 65% of all investments in the country within 3 years, more than double the present amount.
• The incentives you announced yesterday, which I hope you will speak more to today, signify real progress in Egypt’s transition and highlight the importance of the private sector’s contributions to Egypt’s green transition.
• We are in Cairo today to strengthen the close partnership between the United States and Egypt in confronting the global climate crisis, especially as Egypt prepares to host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.
• When Secretary Kerry and I met with President Sisi in February, it was clear that he was committed to a successful COP and a green future for Egypt.
• We are united both in recognizing the great urgency of addressing this crisis, and in understanding that climate solutions represent a tremendous economic opportunity – an opportunity to put our economies on truly sustainable pathways.
• Mr. Prime Minister, I’d like to begin by thanking and congratulating Egypt for its leadership on this issue, both here in Egypt and internationally.
• The strong representation from your Cabinet during the last two days is a testament to Egypt’s commitment to turning the climate crisis into economic solutions for your country and your people.
• We understand the government is now updating Egypt’s NDC – its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement. We look forward to a meaningful NDC in line with the Paris temperature goal.
• In assuming the Presidency of COP27, Egypt is also helping to strengthen climate commitment and climate action across the African region, and across the globe.
• COP27 comes at a pivotal moment. We made a lot of progress in Glasgow – the IEA concluded that if all the commitments made in Glasgow are implemented, we should limit warming to 1.8 degrees C by the end of the century. We must meet our commitments and do more – implementation plus.
• The challenge this year is to urgently implement the commitments we’ve already undertaken (“implementation”), while mobilizing the additional ambition needed to keep the promise of 1.5 degrees alive. We call this Implementation Plus.
• Please know that the United States is a committed partner in strengthening Egypt’s domestic climate effort; in strengthening the climate capacity of the entire African region, and in ensuring the success of COP27.
• When Secretary Kerry was here in February, we launched the U.S.-Egypt Climate Working Group to focus our joint efforts on advancing our COP27 priorities and on bilateral collaboration on mitigation and adaptation action in Egypt.
• We know that progress in each of these areas requires not just strong, steady government leadership, but also close partnership with the private sector, which brings essential investment, expertise, and entrepreneurship.
• During COP26, Secretary Kerry made working with the private sector a top priority because we cannot achieve our ambitious goals without the private sector. In fact, in Glasgow, there was an unprecedented level of private sector engagement. With this Green Business Delegation, we believe we are off to strong start in making private sector engagement a cornerstone for a successful COP27.
• We also learned that the private sector’s ability to deliver climate solutions depends on governments creating a supportive investment environment.
• That’s why your announcements yesterday are such a big step forward.
• I’m confident that if we on the government side get it right, the private sector will be our essential partner.
• Together we can
o Forge new energy pathways that also strengthen our energy and climate security;
o Put our economies on a path to net zero;
o Support green innovation and investment;
o Strengthen our climate resilience; and
o Protect those most vulnerable to climate change.
• Which is why I am pleased to be in Cairo today as part of this GreenTech Business Delegation. I’d like to thank the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AmCham Egypt for all they have done to assemble this extraordinary group of government and business leaders.
• The companies participating in this GreenTech Business Delegation are here because they understand the opportunities presented by the climate crisis. And because they are looking for opportunities here in Egypt to apply their investment know-how to deliver green growth and climate solutions.
• Last year $86 billion USD was invested in U.S. climate start-ups. Green investment is an enormous business opportunity. Those who get in early will enjoy huge investment benefits.
• I’m also very pleased to be joined by colleagues from other U.S. agencies with tools and resources to help U.S. companies do green business in Egypt. Their presence here today reflects a broad commitment across the Biden-Harris Administration to engage the private sector in combatting the climate crisis and to support Egypt on its green growth pathways.
• We aim through these partnerships – the partnership between the United States and Egypt, and the partnership between the public and private sector – to produce concrete results that can be highlighted at COP 27. Results that illustrate to the world what we can accomplish when we work together.
• The world will be watching what happens in Sharm El Sheikh to see if we create an important milestone in the green transition.
• We know we need the private sector. We need green investment, innovation, and enabling environments that allow us to further raise our climate ambition and keep 1.5 alive.
• The challenges are enormous – but so, too, are the rewards. I look forward to our continued work with your government, Mr. Prime Minister, to meet the challenges by seizing the opportunities.
Speech of H.E Dr. Mostafa Madbouly
Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt
(US Green Trade Mission, May 15-16, 2022)
Cairo - May 16, 2022
Ambassador David Thorne, Senior Advisor to the US Presidential Envoy for Climate,
Mr. Marty Durbin - Vice President of American Chamber of Commerce for Policy and President of the Global Energy Institute,
Honorable Members of the US Green Trade Mission,
Distinguished Members of the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Egyptian- American Chamber of Commerce,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome your current visit to Egypt, a visit that coincides with the centennial celebration of bilateral relations between our two countries. We reiterate our belief that the United States is a main strategic partner to Egypt, and we remain committed to fostering our partnership. This celebration reflects our common commitment to work on developing and deepening our bilateral cooperation, at various levels.
The inauguration of the Green Trade Mission is one of the important outcomes of the last round of Strategic Dialogue that was held between Egypt and the United States last November in Washington DC, aiming to explore potential investment opportunities offered by Egypt in the green economy and renewable energy. The Strategic Dialogue succeeded in setting an ambitious perspective to boost our bilateral relations in all fields, with a particular emphasis on strengthening the economic relations and trade ties with the United States and American companies.
Another important outcome of the Strategic Dialogue is the formation of the Egypt- U.S. Working Group on Climate, which was launched during the visit of Mr. John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for climate, to Cairo last February. We also look forward to the upcoming high-level joint economic commission between Egypt and the United States, which will be convened in the near future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Taking a quick glimpse at our multifaceted relations, we see that the United States continues to be among Egypt's top trading partners, ranking as the third-largest investor, with a trade exchange rate exceeding $9 billion in 2021, and a cumulative US investment of $24 billion in 2022 in the energy sectors; petrochemicals, infrastructure, manufacturing industries, tourism, and agriculture.
The Egyptian government and the USAID are also jointly implementing projects in the fields of education, health, tourism, heritage protection, agriculture, governance, and the private sector support in Egypt, estimated at $600 million. As the Egyptian economy continues to expand and enhance the business environment, we look forward to broadening US investments in different sectors.
Having said that, it is quite important to stress that through our vision of comprehensive development, Egypt opted to upgrade most sectors in parallel, in order to achieve development goals. Accordingly, we were able to achieve a positive GDP growth rate of about 9% during the first half of this fiscal year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and the repercussions of the Ukrainian Crisis. The growth rate is expected to be 4.5% next year. We have heavily invested in our infrastructure; in addition, we gave priority to investments in the energy sector, telecommunication sector, and tourism sector. The efforts exerted in these sectors started to pay off.
We have the great pleasure and honor this year to host, on behalf of Africa, the 27th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) next November, in Sharm El Sheikh.
We, in Egypt, are particularly aware of the threats posed by Climate Change, due to the currently experienced impacts on our development. As an emerging economy with a growing population, we are in need of stable and predictable sources of energy, and hence, we have moved rapidly towards an increased reliance on renewable energy sources within our energy mix. To date, renewables represent 20% of our energy production, with a strong outlook to become a regional energy hub by producing and exporting clean energy directly or through green hydrogen, ammonia, and others.
I would like to highlight here that we are working on tangible plans with a number of major companies to produce green hydrogen and are expecting the growth of this kind of cooperation in the near future.
On the adaptation and resilience front, the picture is less encouraging, as we are bearing the negative impacts of sea-level rise spanning the Nile Delta, and its densely populated areas are feeling the repercussions on all areas of economic activity, particularly agriculture and managing water scarcity.
Egypt assumes the incoming Presidency of COP 27 with a clear realization of the importance of global efforts on climate change, including the indispensable role of the private sector and other stakeholders. We believe that this juncture is seen not as a challenge but rather as a real opportunity for universal green economic growth.
Therefore, Egypt is looking into exploring new horizons for green projects by pushing and encouraging more innovative ideas to ensure the sustainability of our resources, and we strongly believe that the US Green mission, with all the prominent companies it is composed of, can have a great role and opportunity towards achieving this objective.
As we embark on the first exploratory meeting, we are looking forward to hearing from you on how you can be part of what we intend to achieve. I believe that the roundtables meetings taking place during your visit with the different Ministers will be a great opportunity to exchange insights in depth on all proposed projects from our side, and learn about potential projects/ideas that you might be carrying with you. There is indeed an immense potential that we can unlock together. I would like to state that the government has recently issued incentives to encourage investment related to the green economy and artificial intelligence; we are fully supporting private sector participation for more sustainable economic growth.
Let me share with you some of our clear goals and targets in the coming months and years, we already issued our sustainable development strategy as “Vision 2030”, and finalized Egypt’s first comprehensive national climate change strategy – 2050, which lays down the directions, policies, and programs to be adopted in order to fulfill the ambitions for our climate action.
On mitigation, we have a clear target to increase the share of renewable energy to 42% by 2035. We are also implementing ambitious sustainable transport projects, and an integrated national solid waste management program.
On adaptation, we are already implementing ambitious programs for water management and canal linings, and coastal zones management and protection, expanding on desalination and water treatment projects, and aiming at enhancing resilient agriculture.
We are glad that during this mission, two documents for potential projects were signed as an active involvement from your side to mitigate climate change through the production of plastic alternatives and the construction of a waste-to-energy facility in Fayoum.
On finance, Egypt had a pioneering presence in the green financing market by being the first country in the region to issue sovereign green bonds in 2020, and last month I witnessed the signing of a first of a kind investment grade green bond issuance in the Middle East and Africa to refinance the plants of a Norwegian company in Benban solar energy park that is considered one of the world's largest parks to generate electricity from solar energy.
Looking forward, we consider that areas of renewable energy, green hydrogen, sustainable transport, de-carbonization of sectors like oil and gas, steel and cement, sustainable agriculture, and water management are priorities for Egypt.
Proceeding from the role of ensuring intellectual property rights (IPRs) in encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, a governmental committee was assigned to set an integrated national IPRs strategy, it will also study establishing a national authority especially dedicated to that purpose and find ways to deal with the economic exploitation of the results of the Egyptian research. In addition, all legislations related to IPRs are being currently reviewed.
To ensure the effectiveness of the previous efforts, we are working on raising public awareness of IPRs. This will hopefully improve our local & global ranking in the global IPR index.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the conclusion of my remarks, I would like to stress on the full support you will receive from my Cabinet members, and I am confident that you will engage in fruitful consultations that will lead to more US investments in Egypt given the wide array of opportunities we offer in all different fields.
I hope you will enjoy your business trip in Cairo, and I will be closely following up on the outcomes.
I Thank you All.