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History

Image of man doing restoration work in a tomb in Egypt.

The United States has a long history of helping to improve the quality of life for Egyptians.  

The U.S.-Egypt assistance partnership began in the mid-1970s. At that time, Egypt was a low-income country with a stagnant economy, crumbling infrastructure, and a growing, impoverished population. Annual, per capita income was $260; exports totaled $2 billion; foreign direct investment (FDI) amounted to $800 million; and the economy was dominated by the public sector. Urban neighborhoods periodically flooded with raw sewage, electricity supply was sporadic, if available, and the telephone system was overloaded and unreliable. Infant death rates were high and twice as many boys as girls attended school.

USAID's work in the 1970s focused on rehabilitating the country’s deteriorating infrastructure, including ports and canals, water and sewage, power, telecommunications, and grain storage systems. The Agency has since expanded into many different sectors in partnership with the Egyptian people – including agriculture, health, education, and economic growth. 

Today, Egypt has one of the more improved and diversified economies in the Middle East. Annual per capita income has reached $2,070 and Egypt is recognized as a lower-middle income country by the World Bank. 

Exports have increased a thousand-fold to nearly $24 billion and FDI inflows are now $6.7 billion per year. Infant mortality has dropped, youth literacy has increased and utilities have expanded to serve more of the Egyptian population. 

USAID’s program in Egypt has directly and fundamentally supported these gains. To ensure that Egypt’s gains continue in the future and are more broadly shared, USAID works with Egyptians to strengthen the economy, improve the health and education systems, and encourage representative systems of governance. 

Last updated: July 22, 2014

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