Egypt, USAID sign six assistance agreements worth $90m covering eight sectors

Doaa A.Moneim , Thursday 9 Jul 2020

The sectors include basic and higher education, scientific research, technology, health, agriculture, and trade and investment

Minister Rania Al-Mashat and US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen

Egypt and USAID have inked six assistance agreements worth $90 million, aiming to implement development projects in eight priority sectors including basic education, higher education, scientific research, technology, health, agriculture, and trade and investment.

The two parties announced the signing of agreements in a webinar held Thursday in the attendance of US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen, Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat and USAID mission director in Egypt Sherry Carlin.

Ambassador Cohen said that USAID has played a key role in Egypt for over 40 years, providing over $30 billion in development assistance to empower the US partnership with Egypt, adding that this is one of the longest and most substantial assistance commitments of the United States to any country in the world.

Cohen also highlighted a number of projects that USAID implements in Egypt, including modernising the Aswan High Dam, upgrading Egyptian businesses and infrastructure, and reducing hepatitis C infections and other projects in the education sector.

He also highlighted the Egypt-US partnership in fighting Covid-19 and the supplies Egypt sent to the US to help manage the crisis.

USAID’s Sherry Carlin said that in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy, the agreements promote inclusive, enterprise-driven development.

Through the basic education agreement, Carlin said that USAID programmes improve access to quality education for Egyptian youth and will continue working with the Ministry of Education to support teacher professional development programmes, to strengthen licensing and certification, and improve students’ critical thinking and practical skills.

For higher education assistance, USAID will continue to fund scholarships for qualified students living in underserved communities to attend premier universities in Egypt.

“This agreement includes a brand new scholarship programme that will provide 700 university scholarships over the next 10 years. We’ll also continue to fund three Centres of Excellence to increase the capacity of Egypt’s higher education institutions to drive innovation, share best practices, and create linkages between research and the public and private sectors in the areas of agriculture, water, and energy," according to Carlin.

She also added that USAID maintains its commitment to joint research in science and technology between US and Egyptian scientists through continuing to address development challenges and promote economic growth, particularly in applied scientific research and technology commercialisation.

Meanwhile, the health agreement enhances USAID's partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population through improving healthy behaviours, enhancing the quality of health services, and helping the Egyptian government to guide policy and programme design supporting research, monitoring, and training in key areas such as voluntary family planning and infectious disease prevention, including helping the fight against Covid-19, according to Carlin.

The trade and investment agreement targets partnership with the Egyptian government to create an environment in which businesses can grow and become more competitive.

In this regard, Carlin clarified that USAID promotes inclusiveness for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises by focusing on small businesses that specifically provide jobs for youth and women, in addition to promoting programmes to transform technical education and vocational training to produce the skills needed for a globally competitive Egyptian market, and to support the export capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises, to promote greater trade opportunities.

The agribusiness assistance agreement will help farmers in Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta become more self-reliant and grow marketable crops that meet international standards for export, through increasing access to finance, adherence to food and safety practices, and developing connections with domestic and international markets, helping to increase productivity, yields and incomes of Egyptian farmers and food processing businesses.

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