AmCham MENA Council

The 11th Annual AmCham MENA Regional Council Conference
“Accelerating Green Investments in the MENA Region: U.S. and Regional Partnerships for Growth” Cairo-Egypt

February 26, 2023

On February 26th, the inauguration of the 11th Annual AmCham MENA Regional Council Conference commenced at 9:00 a.m., welcoming AmCham MENA members and regional guests across the region.

The Plenary Session delved deeply in to the critical importance of Mitigation and adaptation policies, and the follow through from global leaders after COP27. H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Moheildin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27, served as the keynote speaker for the session. He emphasized the importance of financing global mitigation and adaptation efforts. Highlighting that “despite all of the agreements since Paris, and the pledges and promises made, it is not likely we will meet the net-zero targets of the 2030 agenda unless more effort is done in allocating financing to climate efforts, advancing green technology, and proactive leadership”.

Further in the conference, session II boasted energy leaders and innovators in the region. The session elaborated on the need of renewable energy and energy security due to economic and political turbulence globally. AmCham Jordan Chairman and guest panellist, Mr. Sameh Judeh, addressed the need for countries to utilize its natural resources in the most efficient way to develop energy and power that is sustainable and in the long-term economically more viable. Additionally, panellists discussed the technology and innovation needed to support a green transition from non-renewable energy to renewable sources. Yellow Door CEO, Mr. Jeremy Crane, highlighted that there is a significant change in technology and the intention behind it, with a shift from conventional centralized generation to decentralized generation, creating an emphasis of “providing clean, affordable energy, and reliability of power is becoming a global priority for consumers and producers.”

Session III tackled the critical topic of green transition in the oil & gas industry. Panellists shared efforts taken from the oil & gas industry at improving their decarbonization strategies and explored how regional and global oil & gas leaders are leveraging technologies to improve efficiencies and decrease environmental impacts in their operations at every stage of the supply chain. Similarly, to the previous session, panellists spoke on the importance of tackling both energy security and energy transition, as focusing on one over other would create significant challenges going forward. Secretary General of EMGF, Mr. Osama Mobarez, remarked on the difficulties of energy security becoming a growing concern before the events of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In addition, panellists emphasized the need to reduce gas methane, with close to 140 billion Cubic Meters of gas produced globally during flaring. AmCham Executive Vice President, and Country Manager of Apache Corporation in Egypt, Mr. David Chi, highlighted strategies Apache has taken by mitigating flaring procedures. “Due to the size of our operations and infrastructure in Egypt, our first step was identifying the largest points of emissions in our operations. We followed by investing in technology that aids in mitigation and creating actionable items that can be achieved in an efficient manner, lastly, we took into account the importance of public-private partnerships, by partnering with the ministry of Petroleum and Resources for initiatives to support carbon reduction”

For the conference key-note Speakers, the conference welcomed Ambassador Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s Climate Lead Negotiator in COP27 and the Honourable Helaina Matza, Deputy Special Presidential Coordinator for the Partnerships on Global Infrastructure Investment in the U.S. Department of State. Both speakers emphasized the added importance of technological advancement going hand in hand with climate mitigation and adaptation policies. The Hon. Matza shared the importance of clean energy and its impact not only in the region, but globally as well. “The clean energy potential in the MENA region, goes well beyond the region itself and its relationship with Europe. Many countries are set to export green hydrogen products to Asia, and [MENA] governments, Sovereign wealth funds, and private sector companies are looking into green energy investments in Africa”. Amb. Nasr tackled Egypt’s role in COP27 indicating that climate change does not only impact environmental policymaking but also political and economical decisions. He further highlighted Egypt’s main objectives during COP27 being three main pillars focused on “enhancing the livelihoods of communities and putting them at the centre of climate action, bridging the gap between ambition and actual implementation on the ground, considering all sectors and all potential stakeholders, and the crucial role of involving the private sector in the conversation and ensuring the transition is being sustained in an equitable fashion”.

Session IV, gathered high-level stakeholders in the private and public sector to discuss financing the green transition in the MENA Region. The panellists shared their concerns regarding the obstacles that can be faced in the financing process, indicating market regulations and government transparency as well as involvement in projects plays a major role in developing an efficient financing structure for all stakeholders involved. Mr. Gianpiero Nacci, Director, Sustainable Business and Infrastructure, EBRD-Climate Strategy and Delivery, added that “the world overall is ready to finance only 10% of sustainable projects, creating a significant gap between investment capability and green projects in need of investment. Additionally, another aspect of financing environmental projects is identifying the correct projects.” The panellists continued to share different solutions to enhance financing green projects, recognizing the significance of clarifying project objectives and creating a clear project framework for different stakeholders to engage in different phases of the project.

The conference concluded with final session tackling advancing innovation in agriculture, water resources management, and environmental sustainability. Throughout the session, panellists articulated the importance of creating a circular economy that promotes better waste management at every level of the agricultural cycle, including production of agricultural goods to its consumption. Mr. Mohamed El Dabaa AmCham Dubai Member of the Board, and Board Director, UAE Circular Packaging Association (UAE) presented “the value of diverting 75% of plastics in the UAE from landfills, and cycling approximately 60% of it, resulted in 1.3 billion UAE Dirhams of value to the UAE economy. This emphasizes the importance of involving civil society, private sector, and public sector in the process of efficient waste management.” Furthermore, the panellists highlighted the importance of viewing all aspects of agriculture such as; water, food, energy and ecology as factors that impact one another with an intersectional lens. Lastly, Panellists also shed light on the importance of gender equity in the agricultural sector. Mr. Tarek Abdel Monem Environment & Climate Officer, IFAD remarked on the fact that “a majority of landowners in the region are male, however women have a strong presence in the labour force presenting a large opportunity of integrating women and a younger population who do not have access to these lands through adaptive policies and blended finance approach that empowers disenfranchised members of the community”.