Egypt has set itself ambitious development goals. The National Sustainable Development Agenda is largely aligned with Africa’s Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve these goals, Egypt is determined to invest in several key sectors namely education, health, social protection, water and sanitation, and transportation. Across all these areas, women’s empowerment is critical. Some of these sectors are SDG accelerators as identified in the UN-supported SDGs Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) engagement (2018-2019).
To realize the SDGs by 2030, the financing needed surpass the current development financing flows. The identified SDG investments require approaching new financing sources, attracting additional financing from existing sources and using current flows more efficiently. While Egypt’s strategic development objectives are clearly identified, a strategy for financing the development objectives has not yet been precisely defined. Estimating financing needs, mapping the available finance, and the tools to match both are only partially available to policymakers.
Under the coordination of the UN Resident Coordinators Office (UNRCO) and UNDP in Egypt, with the collaboration of UNCTAD, UNWOMEN, UNICEF and ILO, and in partnership with the Egypt Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MPED), this project aims to help Egypt fulfil its National Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 with a realistic financing strategy.
For this purpose, the UN intends to estimate the costing of SDGs and relevant targets/indicators. By comparing its current expenditure on SDG-related realms and the projected investment requirements, Egypt can better prioritise their financing resources to ensure the successful landing of Agenda 2030.
Thus, the joint programme is expected to catalyze high level dialogues on key aspects of SDG financing in Egypt between the Government and the UN system involving other key stakeholders such as the international financial institutions and the private sector.
This project aims to produce Egypt-specific knowledge product and develop relevant Government capacities to answer three questions:
- How much does it cost to achieve Key SDGs? (SDGs sector costing).
- What are the current flows financing SDGs and how are they allocated? (Mapping of key financing flows & Budgeting).
- What opportunities are there to increase & better allocate financing flows towards SDGs?
UNCTAD will contribute to this project on two aspects, SDGs costing and financing with the focus on illicit financial flows (IFFs), as following:
SDGs costing: The global SDGs costing experiences so far has shown that there is no ‘best approach’ to SDGs costing and relying on any single approach can result in distortions. Multiple approaches to costing are available for each of the SDG targets and indicators, each with its own merits and limitations. Data availability, national context and preferences play an important role in selection of specific costing approach. The UN’s costing offer for Egypt includes a mix of methodologies and options for costing. This is with a view to give the primary stakeholder- the Government of Egypt, a menu of costing options. At the same time, alternate costing approaches, when adopted on similar SDG targets, will also allow for comparison of results.
In this context, UNCTAD assesses Egypt's financial gaps by gathering Egypt's hitherto investment data and implementing reliable methodologies to predict the cost of achieving the respective SDGs. Based on its expertise, UNCTAD works on two approaches: (1) Cross-sectoral Approach: using Translog specification to quantify the cost to achieve 2030 targets of SDG indicators and evaluate the gap. This approach allows the inclusion of multiple fiscal inputs (per capita expenditure by sector) as well as the terms of their interactions. (2) Approach based on SDGs Investment trend monitor: UNCTAD is working to adapt its signature global SDG investment gap analysis (World Investment Report – WIR) for Egypt. Based on 2014, 2019, and 2020 editions of the WIR and SDGs investment trend monitor launched in 2019, UNCTAD will explore how this approach might be adapted to conduct SDG investment gap analysis for Egypt. UNCTAD can obtain a comprehensive financial gap analysis for Egypt, which provides guidance for further financial strategies.
SDGs financing: Illicit Financial Flows: Special emphasis is given by UNCTAD to analyzing the magnitude of IFFs to and from Egypt. UNCTAD will offer practical policies and statistical capacities to measure and reduce tax and commercial Illicit financial flows, including, tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing, profit shifting of multinational enterprises. When required, UNCTAD will liaise with UNODC to address other illegal IFFs, among others from drug smuggling, trafficking of persons, corruption. This project is set out to measure IFFs and provide an evidence base for policy formulation curbing IFFs and allocating them to financing SDGs, here specifically with making some IFFs licit and taxable (next to other opportunities, e.g., increasing tax base and efficiency of taxation system).
- Conduct research on methodological approaches to the costing of SDGs.
- Compile the appropriate SDGs costing model for four sectors (health, education, transportation, and water and sanitation); and evaluate the results.
- Draft a final report for the model development, collection, harmonization and processing of data required for the costing of SDGs, as well as the interpretation of the results.
- Draft a technical report on the SDGs costing based on the investment approach.
- Organize training in Egypt, with the collaboration of UNDP, to build statistical and econometric capacities to cost the SDGs.
- Support governmental expert group meetings to discuss and agree on the appropriate methodologies for the measurement of IFFs in Egypt (based on the UNCTAD/UNODC guidelines).
- Organize UN/government workshops to discuss challenges, relevant types of IFFs and options to assess them at the Egyptian national level.
- Organize workshops and training to build technical capacities for IFF data collection, compilation and dissemination, and to follow up on the results achieved.
- Suggest ways to refine the methods based on the results of pilot testing UNCTAD/UNODC methodological guidelines.
- Formulate a national action plan for further statistical measurement of IFFs in Egypt, outlining required activities to be undertaken within and among national stakeholders to support compiling and disseminating statistics to report on SDG indicator 16.4.1.
- Share the findings and results at statistical and policy fora to promote the measurement of IFFs and evidence-based policy action in support of the 2030 Agenda, target 16.4.
- Increased capacity of national statistical authorities, the ministry of finance and involved policymakers to apply tested methodological approaches to the costing of SDGs.
- Enhanced mechanisms for countries to monitor and prioritise mobilized financial resources to achieve SDGs.
- Enhanced capacity of statisticians and policymakers to assess, compile and disseminate IFFs, and to develop policy actions to achieve Target 16.4.
Link to the SDGs:
Expected SDG impact: The project will support Egypt to put a cost on Agenda 2030 and develop suitable financing strategies to accelerate the implementation of national SDGs priorities, based on the current situation and expected trends in development financing. A realistic strategy to finance SDGs, together with the capacity, outreach, and pilot testing will guarantee fuller implementation and acceleration toward Agenda 2030 achievement.
The project is directly aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): mainly 17 as well as 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 and 16. More specifically, 17.1, 17. 3, 17.4.12, 17.18.33, 1.a, 1.b, 1.3, 3.b, 5.c, 6.a, 9.a, 10.4, 11.2, 16.4.1.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
The project will be thoroughly evaluated during the course of the project based on the following criteria:
This project builds on a pre-existing project to statistically measure IFFs, pilot testing methodological guidelines to measure IFFs that were developed under that project (UN Development Account project 1819Y by UNCTAD and UNECA, supported by UNODC and ECLA.
- Gender and human rights focus
The national development plans and associated SDGs targets are costed in a gender-responsive manner, piloting several methodologies and addressing in particular priority sectors including additional costs attributable to COVID-19.
The last planned activity for the IFF element of the project is to provide Egypt with a clear action plan. Which serves for future improvement of data and statistics and goals to measure other types of IFFs in Egypt. UNCTAD will discuss the findings within the IFF expert group (governmental institutions) and other stakeholders and agree together on this action plan.
Regarding the SDGs cost element, UNCTAD will provide Egypt and leading partner, UNDP, with the costing tool and will train statisticians to use the model for future costing exercises and other indicators costing tests