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  • Tuesday, 04 April 2023

H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Held Discussion Session with officials of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to discuss the Country Development Cooperation Strategy 2020-2025

● The Minister of International Cooperation applauded the ongoing cooperation with USAID and stressed the importance of continuous communication to maximize the return on development cooperation efforts.

● The climate initiative agreement is consistent with the state's priorities for implementing the green transition, and the private sector is a major axis of joint cooperation.

● The USAID Mission Director noted the Agency's commitment to supporting comprehensive and sustainable economic growth in Egypt.

● Development cooperation efforts with USAID are consistent with the "Haya Karima" initiative through the implementation of 7 projects in various fields of development in 17 governorates.

● 11 technical support programs and 41 projects are being implemented in various sectors in partnership with 14 agencies.

● Basic and higher education programs account for the largest proportion of development cooperation programs with USAID at 47%.

H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation held an expanded discussion session with the USAID mission in Egypt, headed by Leslie Reed, Mission Director of USAID Egypt, Margaret Sancho, Deputy Mission Director, and the USAID team, with the participation of Sherihan Bakheet, Assistant Minister of International Cooperation, alongside the ministry’s team to coordinate work between multilateral and bilateral development partners and national entities to maximize the return on development cooperation efforts.

At the outset of the meeting, Al-Mashat applauded the ongoing cooperation with USAID under the umbrella of the strategic partnership between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States of America, which extends over the past decades, the results of which are reflected in the programs and projects implemented in many vital sectors, including basic education, higher education, health, governance, support for small and medium enterprises, tourism and agriculture, and stimulating the private sector, explaining that in 2022, the grant signed was worth $160 million directed towards advanced development efforts by targeting several sectors, on top of which are education, health and a new climate initiative grant agreement of $15 million.

Al-Mashat also indicated the ministry's keenness on effective and continuous communication with all development partners, including USAID, to maximize effective development cooperation efforts and stimulate constructive partnerships, stressing the importance of continuity of coordination and communication between technical teams from both sides at all levels to ensure consistency of developmental work in line with the priorities of the state and to achieve the goals of development financing programs and technical support.

With regard to the climate initiative agreement, the Minister stressed its importance in light of the importance that the Egyptian state attaches to climate action and its presidency of COP27, to stimulate green transformation efforts, noting the importance of coordination between the ministry and USAID, and the relevant parties and executive agencies for the initiative to take effective steps towards its implementation and achieving its objectives. H.E 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, Reed stressed the importance of the joint strategic relations between the United States of America and the Arab Republic of Egypt, through the efforts undertaken 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 in 41 projects and programs in several fields, mainly education, economic development, health and governance, which is done in cooperation with 14 ministries and entities, where the projects are being implemented in light of strategic objectives: comprehensive economic development, promotion of social justice, support for economic reform, and improvement of governance, in a way that supports efforts to achieve sustainable development in Egypt.

Basic education and higher education programs account for the largest proportion of development cooperation programs with the USAID by 47%, as many projects are being implemented to launch applied schools in addition to the successful experience of schools for outstanding students in the fields of science, technology and mathematics, as well as scholarships in the field of higher education, while economic development programs come second with 33% of the development cooperation portfolio.

The projects that are being 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 Karima", where 7 projects are being implemented in 17 governorates, out of the 20 governorates targeted by the initiative, and the projects vary in the areas of water management solutions and the development of agricultural businesses in the Egyptian countryside, women empowerment and support for female entrepreneurs, the economic and social empowerment program for women, literacy support for children and mothers, and the family planning program.

In addition, the USAID team presented efforts to empower the private sector through the Workforce Egypt, which is one of the results of the trade and investment stimulus agreement, according to which memorandums of understanding were recently signed with 6 companies to establish schools in the field of international applied technology in engineering, marketing for financial services, modern trade, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing. In addition to cooperation with Google through the Maharat Min Google 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 Run 2022 start-up initiative, among other activities with university centers related to professional development.

It is worth noting that the development cooperation portfolio between the government and the USAID has amounted to about $1 billion dollars since 2014, within the scope of which many projects and programs are being implemented in the fields of basic education, higher education, small and medium enterprises, support for the private sector, tourism and agriculture.