ICEC

U.S. pledges over $100mn in cooperation agreements with Egypt

Egypt and the United States signed on Tuesday eight economic cooperation agreements worth $121.6 million to develop investment, education, health, agriculture, and water management in line with Egypt’s economic reform programme as well as the country’s 2030 development plan.

Egypt’s international cooperation and investment ministry said the agreements were signed between minister Sahar Nasr and director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Sherry Carlin at the ministry’s premises in Cairo.

The agreements include a grant of $29 million to be disbursed periodically by 2022, with an initial disbursal of $6 million, for improving family planning and reproductive health.

The second agreement is a grant worth $50.8 million for supporting integrated solutions for water with the housing ministry and the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater.

The water agreement aims to increase the availability of potable water and improve its quality. It also aims to improve sanitation services, especially in rural areas, by establishing water plants, improving the methods of water treatment, replacing damaged pipelines, and building sewage systems.

One of the agreements allocates $13 million to enhancing the country’s lower and higher education systems through support programmes, and allots $27 million for the US-Egypt Higher Education Initiative.

The agreement should help create more job opportunities for higher education graduates, as well as more scholarships for and partnerships with Egyptian higher educational institutions, according to the ministry.

The deal also sets $4 million to “broaden the scope of relations between scientific and technological communities in both countries, enhance scientific and technological cooperation for peaceful purposes and exchanging ideas, information, skills and technology of common interest,” according to the ministry.

The agreements also allot $12 million to raise incomes and job opportunities for farmers in targeted communities in Upper Egypt (Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, and Aswan) through increasing productivity, engaging farmers in global markets and focusing on new areas in agriculture.

A trade and investment promotion agreement worth $5.1 was signed to bolster the investment and trade environment, and specifically micro, small and medium enterprises.

Another agreement allocates $3.6 million for the ministries of justice and social solidarity as well as the National Council for Women and the National Council for Population to put into effect various initiatives in criminal justice, family justice and media development.

“These agreements reflect our strong and enduring partnership and the impact that our joint efforts have on the people of Egypt,” USAID’s Carlin said, according to a statement by the US Embassy in Cairo.

The statement added that through cooperation with the Egyptian international cooperation and investment ministry, the two countries are “strengthening the cornerstones of stability and prosperity in Egypt.”

Since 1978, the USAID programme has contributed nearly $30 billion in Egypt, according to the US envoy in Cairo.

According to investment minister Nasr, the agreement came as “an outcome of [President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s] meeting with his American counterpart Donald Trump in New York and what has been agreed upon regarding economic cooperation between both countries.”

Sisi’s meeting with Trump last week was the first between the two following an August decision by the US to withhold aid to Egypt, citing concerns over Cairo’s record on democracy and human rights.

Trump told reporters before the meeting that the US “will consider” resuming some of the suspended military assistance to Egypt.

Last month, Egypt described the US decision to reduce aid as a “misguided decision given the nature of the strategic relations” that have bound the two countries for four decades.

Egypt normally receives $1.3 billion annually in military assistance from the United States and nearly $250 million in economic aid.

Source: Ahram Online

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