The Government of Egypt has developed a specialized financing framework to enhance coherence in its national development financing decisions. This landmark initiative, supported financially by the UN Joint SDG Fund, will strengthen planning processes and help overcome obstacles to financing sustainable development.
Egypt’s vision for a prosperous future is embodied in "Hayah Karima" (Decent Life), a national flagship initiative aimed at improving the well-being of Egyptians across the country. The initiative strives to alleviate multidimensional poverty, reduce unemployment rates, and enhance economic, social, and environmental standards. While significant investments have been made over the past five years through Hayah Karima, achieving the nation's aspirations requires additional resources. The Egyptian Presidency recently estimated this need to be around 70 trillion EGP.
However, global instability, domestic socio-economic challenges, and competing development priorities underscore the need for strategic and targeted funding more than ever before. To tackle this challenge, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development collaborated with the UN family in Egypt—led by UNDP, ILO, UNCTAD, UNICEF and UN Women with coordination from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office—to develop Egypt's first Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF).
Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs): Advancing Multi-Dimensional Sustainable Development and Whole of Society Partnerships
INFFs are not just jargon; they are key to a country’s journey towards sustainable development. What makes them special? They are a voluntary- and country-led process. With an INFF, Egypt can not only mobilize financing but also make sure it is aligned with sustainability from every angle. It is like weaving a sustainable tapestry that covers everything, from the environment to society and the economy.
But the magic doesn't stop there. The process of developing the INFF in Egypt is also inclusive, inviting everyone to the table – from policymakers to everyday citizens. This means that decisions about financing are made collectively, ensuring that everyone's voice is heard.
And the best part? Egypt is not only looking at the present; they are planning for the future. Through the INFF, Egypt calculates the cost of their Sustainable Development Strategy goals and SDG targets. It also assesses the current financial landscape, identifies gaps, and figures out how to bridge them, whether through public funds or private investments.
In essence, INFFs are a country’s compass on their sustainable development journey. They aren't just financial tools; they are the roadmap to lead Egypt towards a brighter and more sustainable future.
Everyone has a seat at the table
The essence of Egypt's INFF journey lies in its exceptional high-level strategic coordination, involving multiple counterparts and sectors, and placing people and the planet at the center of development. One of the few initiatives that follows a “whole of government approach”, the process of developing the INFF saw several ministries collaborating with UN agencies toward a shared goal—accelerating SDG achievement in Egypt. A total of 18 ministries, national entities, civil society organizations and the private sector, with the participation of over 600 officials and representatives, along with the UN Country Team, have come together to foster synergies, build coherence, lay out a roadmap of financing options, and enhance national capacities to expedite the realization of Egypt's development goals. This inclusive process ensures that a wider range of stakeholders, including youth, children, women, workers and employers' organizations, actively participate in creating awareness and promoting accountability regarding SDG-aligned budgeting and financing.
Fostering a Comprehensive Understanding of Financing Needs and Flows
“Such Endeavor comes at a time when every effort geared towards the mobilization and governance of development financing is vital.” – H.E. Dr. Hala El Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development at the launch of the INFF Facility
The partnership between the UN and the Government of Egypt on the INFF resulted in critical progress across dimensions of SDG financing. Collaborative efforts have not only facilitated the creation of a realistic integrated development financing strategy but have also mapped key financing flows and budgeting practices. Opportunities to increase and better allocate financing resources towards the SDGs have been identified by comparing current expenditure on SDG-related areas with projected investment requirements. This will enable Egypt to prioritize financing resources effectively to ensure the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Moreover, through joint work with UNDP, ILO, and UNCTAD, several costing methodologies were identified and tested, and relevant Government capacities have been strengthened.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the ILO collaborated on the design of an emergency fund to extend social protection to informal workers, resulting in adjustments to align with international standards. Additionally, UNCTAD conducted capacity development sessions on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) statistical measurement tools, leading to the establishment of a specialized unit in a government agency to enhance data information for other entities and to deal with the measurement of IFFs, which will give needed support for activities to compile robust and reliable national statistics on IFFs.
Ensuring Finance Reaches Those Who Need It Most
To ensure inclusive finance reaches those who need it most, a strong emphasis was placed on the institutionalization of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) within the Ministry of Finance and other line ministries through technical support from UN Women. Capacities and tools have been strengthened on GRB within governmental institutions including the Ministry of Finance and the National Council for Women to ensure that programme plans and budgets are gender-responsive, considering women’s needs. Notably, provisions on GRB have been included and published in the 2023/2024 Ministry of Finance's budget circular, in addition to the development of a procedural manual on programme-based GRB to be used as a guiding framework for 30 ministries.
UNICEF and the Ministry of Finance meanwhile collaborated to enhance fiscal transparency and youth public participation. An SDG tagging methodology was developed resulting in the establishment of an internal working group to implement the tagging methodology developed across three budgetary programs for further use across government programmes.
The collaborative efforts of government ministries, UN agencies, and diverse stakeholders have kindled a flame of determination, igniting the path towards a more promising future. Aligning Egypt's financing strategies with the SDGs is a significant step towards achieving a better, more sustainable future. While this collective effort highlights the urgency of the situation, it also serves as a beacon of hope during challenging times.
For more information about INFFs, please visit www.inff.org
The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.