Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met with Leslie Reid —Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Egypt — as part of discussions to approve the Economic and Social Empowerment Programme for Women between the government and USAID.
The programme aims to enhance cooperation in the field of women’s empowerment and revitalise their role in achieving development as per the country’s development vision and the 2030 National Strategy for Women Empowerment.
Al-Mashat said that empowering women is a key focus in many strategies for joint action with multilateral and bilateral development partners, as the government is endeavouring to enhance the role of women in society and empower them economically and socially, improving their access to economic opportunities, and changing the traditional image of the role played by women, which will be reflected in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.
The minister explained that the economic and social empowerment programme for women that will be implemented aims to improve the work environment for women in the private sector, increase the percentage of financial inclusion, reduce unhealthy practices towards women, stimulate high-growth sectors to provide greater job opportunities for women, and support equality between the sexes, thus reducing the gap in the labour market.
Al-Mashat emphasised the value of the strategic relationship between the government and USAID, noting that Egypt signed grant agreements worth $125m with the organisation last November, including $17m for the basic education sector, $31m for the Egyptian-American Higher Education Initiative, $13m for improving health outcomes, and $5m for agricultural and rural development businesses.
She continued that these agreements aim to open horizons for women’s participation in various fields to enhance the inclusive economy, increase growth rates, and achieve sustainable development.
For her part, Reid said that USAID appreciates its partnership with the Egyptian government in various areas of development through ongoing programmes and projects, stressing that empowering women is one of the main goals being worked on between the two sides.
It is worth noting that during the past two years, Egyptian-American relations witnessed several developments, as in 2020, seven grant agreements were signed with USAID worth $112m, in addition to seven new grant agreements that were signed in November 2021 worth $125m in various fields such as education, higher education, science and technology, agriculture, health, economic governance, trade, and investment.
USAID’s historical cooperation portfolio in Egypt has recorded more than $30bn since 1978 in various sectors, most notably health, population, and education, while the portfolio of projects signed since 2014 has reached about $1bn.