MoF-UNICEF High Level Discussion Towards Enhanced Government Spending for Children and Vulnerable Populations in Egypt

05 December 2023
MoF-UNICEF High Level Discussion Towards Enhanced Government Spending for Children and Vulnerable Populations in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2023

Cairo, 5 December 2023 – Today, the Egyptian Ministry of Finance, the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) and UNICEF Egypt, co-hosted a High-Level Policy Discussion titled “Open Budget Survey Results: Towards Enhanced Government Spending for Children and Vulnerable Populations in Egypt”.

The High-Level Policy Discussion aims to bring together different stakeholders working on Public Financing for Children in Egypt to discuss and identify key actions and strategies towards policy adoption, advocacy, and capacity development for adequate, efficient, equitable and transparent investments in children.

The analysis built on reviews of Egypt's 2021 Open Budget Survey (OBS), conducted by GIFT in collaboration with UNICEF Egypt which put forward actionable recommendations to Egypt on possible budget transparency improvements based on international best practices and examples.

The conference was attended by Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, Ahmed Kouchouk, Vice Minister at MoF, Sara Eid, Head of Fiscal Transparency Unit at MoF, Juan Pablo Guerrero, GIFT Network Director, Raquel Ferreira, GIFT Senior Technical Advisor, Dr. Sherifa Sherif Executive Director of The National Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (MoPED) and Fatma Ashmawy, Economist at the World Bank.

Jeremy Hopkins said: "While the strides made by the Ministry of Finance on the fiscal transparency front, we need to remember that transparency is only a steppingstone to improved outcomes for children in Egypt”.

Ahmed Kouchouk highlighted the main PFM reforms touching on program-based budgeting, medium-term budgeting and the change in the budgeting department’s organizational structure from administrative to functional. These reforms are meant for a more streamlined and effective budget management for better social and economic outcomes.

MoF-UNICEF High Level Discussion Towards Enhanced Government Spending for Children and Vulnerable Populations in Egypt
UNICEF/Egypt 2023/Basma Fathy

The policy discussion began by looking at Egypt’s General Fiscal Environment and policy institutional reform, followed by the budget transparency over time, as assessed by the OBS. It then delved into each budget related document that the Ministry of Finance is publishing, providing suggestions on how to enhance their transparency, along with examples from other countries that have achieved the requisite transparency standards in those areas.

The following were the key points of discussion:

  • Discuss the latest Public Financial Management reforms in the government
  • Identify key areas of improvement for enhanced OBS results and fiscal transparency
  • Highlight the importance of prioritizing children in the budget and ensuring adequate service delivery while maintaining a fiscal balance
  • Stressing on the importance of investing in fiscal transparency and paving the way for youth to be engaged throughout the public budget cycle

Amongst a host of insightful interventions, these are some of the key recommendations that emerged as a result of this discussion:

  • The budget needs to be linked to clear criteria and not only be constrained by fiscal targets, but service providers’ needs as well
  • There is a need for a public communication strategy for fiscal transparency and to have an intergovernmental network
  • There is a need to unify the efforts and institutionalize the exchange of data between ministries as the Ministry of Finance cannot carry fiscal transparency forward on it its own
  • There is a need to build ministerial institutional capacity to be able to do proper costing, M&E frameworks, data collection mechanism, medium-term budgeting and for better coordination.
  • Program-based budgeting and development indicators need to involve the civil society
  • The importance of having a continuous dialogue through frequent discussions and the establishment of a PFM council.

Media contacts

Fungma Fudong
Chief Advocacy & Communications
UNICEF Egypt
Hala Abu Khatwa
Advocacy & Communications Manager
UNICEF Egypt

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/egypt/