Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, held an expanded discussion session with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Egypt, headed by Leslie Reed, Mission Director; Margaret Sancho, Deputy Mission Director, and the USAID team, with the participation of Sherihan Bakhit, Associate Minister of International Cooperation to supervise the file of cooperation with the Americas and Europe, and the work team of the Ministry of International Cooperation.
The meeting included a discussion of the developments of the implementation of the national strategy for development cooperation of USAID in Egypt for the period from 2020-2025, in light of the role played by the Ministry of International Cooperation to coordinate work between multilateral and bilateral development partners and national agencies to maximize the return from development cooperation efforts.
At the outset of the meeting, the Minister of International Cooperation praised the ongoing cooperation with USAID, under the umbrella of the strategic partnership between Egypt and the U.S over the past decades, and whose results are reflected in the programs and projects implemented in many vital sectors. The most important of which were in basic education and higher education, as well as health, governance, SMEs support, tourism and agriculture, and stimulating the private sector.
The Minister explained that in 2022 grant agreements worth $160m were signed to boost development efforts by targeting several sectors, on top of which are education and health, in addition to the climate initiative grant agreement of $15m.
With regard to the climate initiative agreement, the Minister of International Cooperation stressed its importance as Egypt has been making efforts to stimulate green transformation efforts. She also noted the importance of coordination between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the US Agency for International Development, and the relevant parties and executive agencies.
The Minister of International Cooperation also spoke about the importance of stimulating joint efforts with USAID in order to stimulate the participation of the private sector in development efforts, and the Ministry’s keenness to coordinate the efforts made by development partners to expand support mechanisms and provide development funds and technical support to the private sector.
For her part, the Director of the USAID Mission in Egypt stressed the importance of the joint strategic relations between the United States of America and the Arab Republic of Egypt, through the efforts made by the USAID in supporting areas of economic growth and achieving comprehensive and sustainable development.
During the meeting, the USAID team reviewed a presentation on the status of ongoing projects and partnerships between the agency and the various national agencies and relevant parties from civil society and the private sector. The ongoing development cooperation efforts include 11 ongoing technical support projects in various sectors, and implementation is also underway for 41 projects and programs in several fields, mainly education, economic development, health and governance, in cooperation with 14 ministries and destinations.
The projects implemented in cooperation between the concerned authorities and the US Agency were also discussed and are consistent with the presidential initiative for the integrated development of the Egyptian countryside, “Haya Kareema”. Seven projects are implemented in 17 governorates, out of the 20 governorates targeted by the initiative. The projects vary in the areas of water management solutions, developing agricultural businesses in the Egyptian countryside, empowering women and supporting female entrepreneurs, the economic and social empowerment program for women, supporting literacy for children and mothers, and the family planning program.
In addition, the USAID team presented efforts to empower the private sector through the Egypt Manpower Project, which is one of the results of the trade and investment stimulus agreement, according to which memorandums of understanding were recently signed with six companies to establish schools in the field of applied technology in engineering and marketing for financial services, modern trade, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing. There was also cooperation with Google through the Google Skills Program to enhance the skills of beneficiaries in digital marketing, partnership with Visa in the She’s Next initiative to support women-owned startups, and the launch of the Climatech Run2022 start-up initiative, among others. of activities with university centers related to professional development.
It is noteworthy that the development cooperation portfolio between the government and the US Agency for International Development amounts to about $1bn since 2014, and covered many projects and programs implemented in the fields of basic education, higher education, small and medium enterprises, support for the private sector, tourism and agriculture.