The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director in Egypt Sherry Carlin said USAID supported all efforts that helped Egypt's growth and improvement, adding that US-Egypt ties depended on trust, respect, and value.
The USAID programme in Egypt, totalling over $30 billion since 1978, was seeking to enhance the contribution of government officials, civil society, communications, and individuals to build and strengthen institutions that meet the political and economic needs for Egyptians, Carlin said in her address during a discussion panel held on Thursday by the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo titled “USAID and Egypt’s strategic partnership."
She also revealed that USAID was allocated about $6.6 million as a portfolio for each sector it covered, adding the Egypt’s government was paying attention and commitment to its cooperation with the USAID especially during the past four years.
Carlin said the agricultural sector was a major component of the Egyptian economy, contributing 14.5 percent of its GDP, and that the USAID had provided more than $1.4 billion to the sector since 1978.
“Currently, USAID is working on three projects in this sector with a total of $64.8 million in various governorates,” she said.
As far as the trade and investment sectors were concerned, Carlin clarified that the USAID was directed by the US administration to boost the economic reforms Egypt adopted to meet the International Monetary Fund benchmarks, and to spur its trade and investment.
The USAID was boosting Egypt's economic reforms through macroeconomic, stability, trade, enterprise, and work force development activities, she added.
Director of Economic Growth Office at the USAID Briton Bohling stated that the USAID had worked on an initiative over the past two years to boost Egypt’s exports environment to be completed by 2020.
“A key priority for the USAID is increasing the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to generate employment and promote trade and investment. MSMEs constitute more than 95 percent of private enterprises and generate over 80 percent of private sector employment in Egypt,” Carlin said.
She added that the USAID was working on five basic projects with a total of $1.345 billion all over Egypt.
Carlin said that the USAID had provided more than $100 million since the mid-1990s to the tourism sector, adding that the USAID focused on boosting the sector’s role as an engine of economic growth and employment. The USAID is adopting three tourism projects with a total of $13.7 million in various governorates.
The USAID is also working on number of projects in the water and sanitation, education, and health sectors and governance area.
Answering one of Ahram Online's questions about the major obstacle the USAID faced during its work in Egypt, Carlin said "the lack of official data".
She added that data was a key components that helped the USAID evaluate processes, thus the lack of data affected the USAID's work.
While the Private Sector Engagement Programme Officer at USAID Sarah Atwood said in response to Ahram Online's question about the role of private sector in Egypt’s economic reform that it was playing a role in improving economic growth in an effective manner.
Atwood added the USAID welcomed the private sector in Egypt to cooperate and find solutions for problems they face in their line of work.