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Monday, 17 May 2021

US-Egypt Business Council urges US administration to include Egypt in climate-focused discussions

The paper said Egypt has committed to adopting reforms that address climate change including diversifying clean energy resources by 2025 and producing 40% of its electricity from solar and wind energy by 2030

Doaa A.Moneim , Sunday 18 Apr 2021
US-Egypt Business Council
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US-Egypt Business Council (USEBC) urged US President Joe Biden to include the Egyptian government in future climate-focused forums and discussions given Egypt's history as a strategic ally and leader in the Middle East region.

The council, based in Washington DC, "encouraged the Biden Administration to include H.E. President Sisi in the ‘Leaders Summit on Climate’," which is scheduled to take place from 22-24 April in the US.

This call came in the context of a recently published paper that proposed four big ideas for the Biden Administration to boost US-Egypt economic ties.

The four ideas include focusing on growing bilateral energy and environmental partnerships, building a long-term US-Egypt health relationship, bolstering the growing US-Egypt digital economic relationship, and expanding education opportunities for Egyptians.

“As we turn the page and start writing a new chapter in our shared story with Egypt, the USEBC, in cooperation with our partners at the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), stands ready to work with the Biden Administration and the Government of Egypt on a range of issues and opportunities to deepen and expand bilateral economic ties. We believe our respective governments should embrace an agenda for a stronger, more dynamic US-Egypt economic partnership with the objectives of helping Egypt achieve an economic renaissance that creates needed new private sector jobs and inclusive growth across society while also generating American exports and jobs in the US," said the paper.

Egypt has committed to adopting reforms that address climate change and promote the application of clean energy forms through achieving diversity in clean energy resources by 2025 and to produce 40 percent of its electricity from solar and wind energy by 2030, according to the paper.

The paper pointed out that these ambitious goals present timely opportunities for increased collaboration between the private sector and both governments under the US-Egypt Strategic Energy Dialogue, founded in 2019, to harness the spirit of US innovation around new technologies in natural resource efficiency and clean energy production.

On Egypt’s energy sector, the paper pointed out that the sector has grown significantly in recent years and continues to be a major contributor to the country’s GDP growth, adding that the US companies play a dynamic role in this achievement, whether it be through their investments and activities in upstream projects, downstream projects, or related services technologies, as well as across new developments in the Red Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, and the Western Desert.

In support of Egypt’s aspirations to become a regional hub for energy, the USEBC said it is committed to supporting the continued growth of partnerships with companies broadly across the sector in traditional oil and gas activities, as well as in new innovations shaping the future of Egypt’s role as an energy leader, according to the paper.

It added that this issue remains at the forefront of the council’s work, which is led by the Apache Corporation, the largest US investor in Egypt and Chair of the USEBC.

In this regard, the USEBC announced that it will produce a comprehensive report emphasizing the future of Egypt as an energy hub, reviewing contributions to Egypt’s economy and growth, as well as profiling Egypt’s partnerships with several leading energy and related services companies.

“In this report, we will also examine Egypt’s leadership role in the multilateral Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum. Furthermore, taking a broad approach, the report will focus not only on oil and gas development, but also downstream projects and innovative technology initiatives in clean energy and sustainability. The report and subsequent discussion series will be a valuable tool to engage the Biden Administration, including stakeholders such as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate," the paper explained.

On the health sector, the paper proposed establishing a US-Egypt Health Solutions Working Group under the umbrella of the US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue to create a platform for the two governments to regularly discuss key issues and include business leaders as part of the solution.

This working group would be tasked with identifying priority issues in the health sector and collaborating to offer action-oriented recommendations to both governments to address the challenges outlined. The working group would also be positioned to help harmonize strategies, initiatives and policies and private sector engagement among the various health stakeholders in the Government of Egypt,” said the paper.

For digitalization area, the paper called for founding a US-Egypt Digital Economy Partnership to bring a whole-of-government approach and facilitate a sustained discussion between stakeholders from the two governments, business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors on the range of key issues and opportunities in the digital economy.

“This will ensure there is a high-level focus for this strategic pillar which should be central to the future of our bilateral relationship and impact our ties in security, health, finance, manufacturing, supply chains, education, and many other areas,” according to the paper.

The paper also touched upon the education sector, urging Biden Administration to commit to dedicating funding to ensuring an even more impactful future of the existing US- Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) by doubling the number of scholarships available over the life of the projects.

It added that the HEI should continue to ensure equality of opportunity for women and students with disabilities.

“More broadly than this specific program, the Biden Administration should return to a policy that not only welcomes but embraces students from Egypt and around the globe to pursue their education at the US colleges and universities and then have an option to remain in the United States to pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders," the paper illustrated. 

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