Egypt and the United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), signed four bilateral assistance agreements worth $59 million on Sunday.
The US embassy in Cairo said in a statement that the agreements are meant to support Egypt’s development priorities in health, higher education, trade, investment, science and technology, as well as boost inclusive, enterprise-driven development in line with Egypt's Vision 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy.
Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said in a statement that the agreements are in line with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's initiative to invest in human capital through donations that are dedicated to boosting higher education and scientific research, healthcare, family planning, and offering job opportunities for youth and training them to meet the local business market demands.
The minister added that “these agreements will increase American investments in the domestic market in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce."
Minister Nasr also said that the agreements will be used to support SMEs and entrepreneurship, improve technical and vocational education and to boost the work force, adding that there is cooperation between Egypt and the US in transportation.
"USAID has been an economic partner with Egypt's government for many years, introducing a total of $30 billion so far, while American investments in Egypt hit $22 billion by the end of 2018. Some American companies have injected new investments and expanded in others by about $1 billion during FY 2017/18," Nasr said.
Mission Director to Egypt at USAID Sherry F. Carlin said that "these agreements in health; education; trade and investment; and science and technology reflect our strong and enduring partnership with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and our continuing commitment to economic and social inclusion for the Egyptian people.”
According to the US embassy’s statement, the healthcare agreement builds on USAID’s longstanding support for Egypt’s health priorities through the development agency’s partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population.
Together, the focus will be on improving healthy behaviours, enhancing the quality of health services, and supporting research, monitoring, and training in key areas such as voluntary family planning.
"Through the higher education agreement, the US is supporting Egypt’s priority in aligning the skills of graduates with market needs. USAID’s work in this new agreement will also help increase the capacity of Egypt’s higher education institutions to contribute solutions to solve Egypt's development challenges,” the statement said.
"The trade and investment agreement facilitates USAID’s ongoing partnership with the government of Egypt in creating a business environment in which the private sector can grow and become more competitive. This partnership is especially focused on promoting inclusiveness and sustainability for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises by focusing on small businesses that specifically provide jobs for youth and women.
"The science and technology agreement maintains US commitment to joint research between US and Egyptian scientists. USAID’s work in this area addresses development challenges and promotes economic growth, with a focus on applied scientific research and technology commercialization."