US-Egypt Business Council recommends ‘4 Big Ideas’ on bilateral economic ties

Nehal Samir
6 Min Read

The US-Egypt Business Council has put forward four objectives and recommendations to the administration of President Joe Biden to consider in a paper recently released. 

The paper said, As we turn the page and start writing a new chapter in our shared story with Egypt, the US-Egypt Business Council, in cooperation with our partners at the American Chamber of Commerce (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.” 

It added, “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.” 

The paper outlined the four ideas 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.

The paper said that Egypt’s energy sector has seen tremendous development in recent years and continues to be a major contributor to GDP growth. US companies are playing a pivotal role in upstream expansion in the Western Desert, Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as a number of significant downstream projects. 

At the same time, Egypt is investing in projects and embracing reforms to mitigate climate change and promote clean energy.

In that context, the council recommended that to sustain the increasing cooperation, the Biden administration should build on the US-Egypt Strategic Energy Dialogue launched in 2019. This would strengthen partnerships in the energy sector, while also ensuring that there is a mutual focus on the challenge of climate change.

“On this last point, we encourage including President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the ‘Leaders Summit on Climate’ and the Egyptian Government in future climate-focused forums,” the paper said.

Concerning the second objective which is building a long-term US-Egypt Health Relationship, the paper noted that a productive collaboration in healthcare between Egypt and the US already exists. It added, however, that there is more work to be done in locking in long-term cooperation, driving innovation, and harmonising efforts with the private sector. 

It added that this is especially true as there are a number of key stakeholders in the Egyptian Government involved in healthcare policies, purchasing, and services and strategies. This includes: the Ministry of Health and Population; the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA); the Unified Procurement Authority; and General Authority for Universal Health Insurance.

It recommended for a US-Egypt Health Solutions Working Group to be established to create a platform for the governments to regularly discuss key issues and include business leaders as part of the solutions. 

Talking about the objective of bolstering the growing US-Egypt digital economic relationship, the paper said that Egypt’s digital economy has seen an accelerated adoption of technologies and magnitudes of growth during the pandemic. 

This was even true before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as the ICT sector’s contribution to Egypt’s GDP had steadily been increasing. There has been valuable engagement on data privacy regulations and other related areas. However, there is going to be so much more work ahead to ensure alignment and to take full advantage of the innovations and technologies of today and tomorrow.

The paper said that, as digital trade and investment grows between Egypt and the US, it is crucial to advance the technology partnership as global competitors seek to do the same in Egypt. 

It added that the Biden Administration should establish a US-Egypt Digital Economy Partnership to facilitate a sustained discussion between stakeholders from both governments, business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. This would focus on the range of key issues and opportunities in the digital economy. 

Since these technologies have many applications, this can positively impact the two countries’ ties in security, health, finance, manufacturing, supply chains, education, and numerous other areas.   

The existing US-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) is an investment in Egypt’s future that provides scholarships to talented men and women from underserved communities throughout Egypt to study at premier Egyptian and American universities in fields critical to Egypt’s sustained economic growth and development,” the council noted. 

It added that with the lifecycle of current HEI projects soon coming to a conclusion, the Biden Administration should commit to dedicating funding to ensuring an even more impactful future of the US-Egypt Higher Education Initiative. This would take place by doubling the number of scholarships available over the life of the projects.

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