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Economic Growth and Trade

Overview

Image of Egyptian woman working while her young daughter looks on.
A micro-loan recipient has increased her income and now pays her children’s school fees from profits.
USAID

Over the past three decades, USAID has supported Egypt’s transformation to a more market-oriented economy, making Egypt a regional leader in economic reform. Past reforms lowered tax rates while increasing tax revenue, cut barriers to trade and opened industries to competition.

During Egypt’s transition to democracy, USAID has continued to support the goal of promoting a globally competitive, educated and innovative human resources-based economy that benefits all Egyptians equitably. This can be achieved through job creation, economic recovery and reform, private sector business growth and strengthening the environment for trade and investment.

Goals

USAID partners with Egyptian counterparts to:

  • Support the tourism sector through the conservation and restoration of historical sites and training to museum and site conservation staff;
  • Attract trade and investment through streamlining customs procedures, studying and eliminating non-tariff trade impediments and facilitating the movement of goods within the border; 
  • Encourage policy and financial reform through studying, proposing, and with the Government of Egypt, implementing improvements in systems to enable small business growth and increased trade;
  • Strengthen small and micro-enterprises through providing credit and related services; and 
  • Improve the skills and employability of labor in the private sector through education and training.

Project Areas

Tourism Development and Antiquities:  Egypt owns one-third of the world’s antiquities. As one of the country’s main tourist attractions, they are an important economic asset, creating jobs and income for Egyptians. Since 1993, USAID funded more than 70 conservation and training projects in partnership with the Egyptian antiquities sector. Projects have addressed sites covering a range of historical periods and include crucial efforts such as groundwater-lowering at the Giza Plateau and Luxor. USAID and Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities are working on a number of training programs to ensure Egypt has knowledgeable and skilled workers protecting these historic masterpieces. 

Trade and Investment:  USAID assessed trade impediments in Egypt, supported the Egyptian Customs Authority to streamline customs procedures and simplify and reduce tariff rates and established a Trade-Related Assistance Center. As a result of these efforts, release times for imports in major ports were reduced over the last four years from 22 days to 9 days and tariff rates were simplified.

Egypt also became a signatory of the Kyoto Convention, ensuring its customs procedures comply with international standards. USAID continues work to improve trade facilitation measures and strengthen domestic markets, thereby promoting job creation, the competiveness of small and medium firms and overall economic growth.

Policy and Financial Reform:  USAID supports restructuring the commercial registry system, and is strengthening the Egyptian Competition Authority’s ability to monitor business practices in the market. We helped develop a mortgage market resulting in the creation of ten mortgage finance companies, roughly $470 million in mortgage loans and an efficient and fully automated mortgage regulator.

Additionally, the Egyptian government is now able to electronically catalog the laws and regulations of 12 ministries and eliminate 1,300 decrees that impeded business. 

Small- and Micro-Enterprise Program:  USAID has mobilized prominent business leaders and leading financial institutions to oversee the delivery of credit and related services to low-income entrepreneurs. To date, more than 1.1 million borrowers have benefited from USAID’s microfinance programs. Over 65 percent of current borrowers are poor, female heads of household who receive micro oans to run small, often home-based businesses. 

Education Initiatives:  USAID contributes to increased educational opportunities for current and future Egyptian leaders and managers. USAID sponsors partnerships between Egyptian and American universities to develop degree programs and produce students that satisfy the demands of the Egyptian economy.

The Agency provides human resource development at Egyptian ministries by facilitating the participation of government workers in U.S. Department of Commerce study tours.

Last updated: May 21, 2014

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