The Italian-Egyptian Debt for Development Swap (IEDS) Programme represents a joint impressive commitment resulting from the longstanding Italian-Egyptian partnership. In line with the Debt-Swap principles and policies that contribute to the reduction of Egypt’s foreign debt to be converted for financing development initiatives, the Programme’s actions have been prioritized in order to be socially and economically equitable and sustainable across all sectors of interventions.
Italy and Egypt have been cooperating in the field of development through the debt swap mechanism since 2001, the year of the signature of the bilateral Agreement of the IEDS for the first phase which was successfully concluded in 2008. The amount of this agreement was approximately USD 149 million, which funded 53 initiatives promoted by governmental entities and the civil society.
Leveraging on the positive experience of IEDS phase I, the second phase Agreement of the IEDS was signed in 2007 and it covers a period of 10 years to be concluded in December 2017. Under this Agreement, 31 initiatives have been financed for a total of USD 100 million, promoted by Egyptian governmental entities and the civil society.
The third phase Agreement was signed in 2012 and will be completed in 2023 for an amount of USD 100 million, allocated into main sectors of intervention and beneficiaries as follows:
- Food security and nutrition: 45% of the total agreement value allocated to the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade;
- Education: 13% to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education;
- Agriculture: 15% to the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation;
- Environment and cultural heritage: 15% to the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Antiquities;
- Civil society: 10% to the Italian and Egyptian civil society;
- Technical assistance: 2% of the total value of the Agreement.
The signed Agreements contemplate the establishment of the Management Committee (MC), a decision-making and monitoring body co-shared by H.E. the Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation and H.E. the Ambassador of Italy to Egypt, or their respective delegates.
Under the second Agreement, a Technical Support Unit (TSU) has been established; a body acting as the MC Secretariat, with the aim of monitoring the implementation of the agreement, the financial and technical aspects of all projects financed. In addition, the TSU also provides technical support to the MC for the selection of projects, supports the MC in its decisions, prepares annual and semi-annual reports based on those received from applicants and implementing agencies, evaluates new proposed initiatives, and ensures the visibility of the initiatives financed. The TSU, through a formal request of the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation and Investment, has been entrusted to perform the same tasks for the third phase of the IEDS.