Egypt Inaugurates New Strategy with World Bank  

Ferid Belhaj, the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank Group, (right), and Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat (left).
Ferid Belhaj, the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank Group, (right), and Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat (left).
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Egypt Inaugurates New Strategy with World Bank  

Ferid Belhaj, the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank Group, (right), and Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat (left).
Ferid Belhaj, the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank Group, (right), and Egypt’s International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat (left).

Ferid Belhaj, the Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region at the World Bank Group, stressed that the World Bank has confidence in the Egyptian economy.

On the sidelines of the launch of the Country Partnership Framework between Egypt and the World Bank Belhaj said the new framework supports the state’s development needs and focuses granting opportunities to the private sector, the green economy, and women empowerment in the economy.

Held on Sunday, the launch was attended by Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Asharq Al-Awsat.

The new partnership between Egypt and the World Bank for 2023-2027 supports future cooperation programs and projects.

It was approved on March 21 by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group, in order to support efforts to achieve comprehensive and sustainable growth, based on national priorities in various sectors and the development vision over the next five years.

The partnership with the Bank is consistent with the Egyptian government strategy for sustainable development and Egypt's Vision 2030, and its National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) 2050.

The partnership aims to support Cairo in building innovative paths and sustainable solutions to address development challenges in various sectors, foremost among which is the eradication of poverty, the promotion of comprehensive prosperity for all segments of society, and the creation of conditions conducive to achieving comprehensive, sustainable and resilient green development.

The new CPF places the citizen at the core by striving to achieve three main objectives, which are more and better private sector jobs, reinforcing investment in human capital, as well as improving resilience to shocks.

International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat held a meeting with Belhaj on the sidelines of the event.

She stressed the strong ties between Egypt and World Bank and underscored the Egyptian state's keenness on opening new prospects through this new strategy and focusing on cooperation fields of priority to the state.

The minister noted that this new strategy is being launched at a significant time amid the international and regional challenges facing developing countries and emerging economies.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is funding 15 projects valued at $7.33 billion across various sectors in Egypt. They include social protection, health, nutrition, population, education, environment, food security, and urban development.

Egypt and the World Bank have partnered up to implement several projects, including support to entrepreneurs and SMEs and tackling air pollution and climate change in Greater Cairo and local development in Upper Egypt.



Lebanon Tourism Season Revives Economic Outlook

People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Lebanon Tourism Season Revives Economic Outlook

People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The surge in visitors to Lebanon during Eid al-Adha and high demand for summer concert bookings are boosting hopes for a revival in tourism.

This sector is crucial for reigniting positive economic growth after about nine months of challenging conditions due to the Gaza war and subsequent border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon.

Contrary to earlier fears this month of possible Israeli strikes inside Lebanon, Ali Hamieh, caretaker Minister of Public Works and Transport, reported a daily average of 14,000 arrivals at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, with numbers on the rise.

Jean Abboud, President of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agents, confirmed that despite initial concerns, booking rates have bounced back to 90-95% after Israeli threats of a mid-month strike. Most arrivals are Lebanese expatriates and foreign workers.

Before the summer season’s anticipated surge, Lebanon saw a 5.37% decrease in arrivals, with air traffic down by 9.34% and passenger numbers at Beirut International Airport dropping by 6.84% in the first five months of this year, totaling 2.29 million travelers compared to 2.46 million last year.

These declines were linked to the border clashes.

Lebanon’s tourism sector, generating over $5 billion annually in recent years, ranks as the country’s second most vital revenue stream after expatriate remittances, which officially approach $7 billion.

Together, they contribute more than half of Lebanon’s national income, which has dropped sharply from about $55 billion to under $22 billion due to the ongoing financial and currency crises that erupted five years ago.

Despite significant losses during peak tourism seasons like Christmas, Easter, and Eid al-Fitr, a report by Bank Audi indicated that Lebanon’s tourism revenues lost over $1 billion in the first six months of the Gaza conflict, driven by a 24% drop in tourist arrivals.

On average, tourists spend around $3,000 during their stay in Lebanon.