FILE – Sahar Nasr
CAIRO – 4 August 2019:Egypt and the United States of America signed on August 4 four grant agreements worth $60 million in fields of higher education, science, technology, health, trade and investment.
The grants were signed by Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, and U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) Director in Cairo Sherry Carlin, in the presence of Egypt’s Assistant Minister ShreihanBakhit.
According to an official statement, the agreements are the second phase of the health improvement agreement, which aims to strengthen Egypt's current family planning and reproductive health program to make it more effective and sustainable by improving the quality of family planning and reproductive health services.
They also include the fourth phase of the Egyptian-American higher education initiative which aims at creating an educated workforce that meets the needs of the labor market, increasing employment opportunities for graduates of higher education, enhancing the institutional capacity of Egyptian higher education institutions through partnerships and increasing scholarships.
“It includes a partnership between Egyptian and American higher education institutions, scholarships for American colleges and universities, the National Scholarship Program, the University Center for Professional Development program, the School Enhancement Program, and the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers,” the statement added.
According to the statement, they also include the fourth phase of the Egyptian-American science and technology cooperation agreement which targets to expand the relations between the scientific and technological communities of the two countries, promote scientific and technological cooperation for peaceful purposes, exchange ideas, information, skills and techniques of mutual interest between the two countries.
It further elaborated that part of the agreements went to the third phase of the trade and investment promotion agreement in Egypt, which aims to achieve economic growth by improving the trade and investment environment, improving labor productivity, increasing the growth of SMEs, and improving SME access to business development, entrepreneurship and non-financial services. "The agreement includes supporting the development of medium, small and micro enterprises, entrepreneurship, vocational technical education, training and manpower development."
For her part,Nasr stressed that these agreements confirm the strategic and historical relationship between Egypt and America and the economic cooperation between the two countries, pointing out that these agreements come in support of the initiative of President Abdel Fatah al Sisi, to invest in the human element through grants directed to higher education, scientific research, health care and family planning, creating jobs for young people and training them on the needs of the labor market.
“The agreements will help the ministries of higher education and health in the implementation of their programs.The trade and investment agreement will help increase US investments to Egypt in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce,” Nasr added.
Nasrnoted that the scholarships will be used to support development plans, increase employment opportunities for university graduates, provide scholarships for universities, develop medium-, small- and micro-enterprises, as well as entrepreneurship, develop technical vocational education, training and manpower development, highlighting that there is cooperation with America in the transport sector and networking.
The minister stressed that cooperation with America is based on the priorities and needs of the Egyptian people. She said that USAID has been an economic partner of the Egyptian government for decades, as it provided Egypt with about $30 billion.
“US investments in Egypt reached about $22 billion by the end of December 2018, taking into account the fact that some American companies pumped new investments and expanded in Egypt by about $1 billion during the fiscal year 2017/2018,” Nasr stated.
As per Carlin, she stated that these agreements in the areas of health, education, trade, investment, science and technology reflect a strong and lasting partnership with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and her agency’s continued commitment to working with the Egyptian government towards a more prosperous economic and social future for the people.
She stressed that these agreements support the work of the private sector, especially in the field of renewable energy, praising the partnership with Egypt and efforts to improve the investment climate and work to empower women.