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For over three decades, the American people have helped to improve the quality of life for all Egyptians. Thirty-five years ago, Egypt was a low-income country with a stagnant economy. Today, Egypt has one of the most diversified economies in the Middle East. Per capita income and exports have increased, infant mortality has decreased, youth literacy has increased and utility services have expanded. USAID’s program in Egypt, totaling $29 billion since 1975, has directly and fundamentally supported these gains. USAID is now focused on helping Egypt realize its goal of creating a prosperous and democratic economy that benefits all Egyptians as the country continues its transition to democracy.
Since January 2011, USAID has focused its assistance on programs that respond to demands of the thousands of Egyptians who protested for better job opportunities and a representative government. In the wake of Egypt’s historic 2011 revolution, USAID provided support to non-governmental organizations and the private sector to support Egypt’s economic and political transition. USAID’s assistance helps Egypt provide opportunities for its large youth population as it enters higher education and the workforce. USAID also support the role of civil society and political participation among all groups in Egyptian society – including women and minorities.
Since the revolution, unemployment has increased, investment has fallen off, and many of the economic gains Egypt had realized through years of USAID support have eroded. USAID is increasing its attention to supporting more equitable economic growth through job creation and strengthening the private sector – especially in the high-employing agriculture and tourism sectors. USAID works with the people of Egypt and private sector partners to encourage entrepreneurship; improve the employability of Egypt’s youth through job skills training; and provide support and financing for small and medium enterprises, in particular through capitalizing initially a $60 million Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund. In agriculture, USAID is forming strategic business alliances to increase the production of sustainable, higher value products and linking poor, small-holder farmers to high-value commercial markets, with a particular focus on increased water use efficiency and high participation by women. In tourism, USAID works with local organizations to conserve Egypt’s rich cultural and natural heritage; these efforts also increase skills development and employment. Conservation work at some 70 sites throughout the country has included groundwater lowering at the Giza Plateau, protecting the Sphinx and other internationally and historically significant cultural treasures.
Governing Justly and Democratically
USAID continues to support free and fair elections in the wake of the revolution, including Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Through activities that focus on transparent and competitive electoral processes, including voter education, election management and election observation, USAID is supporting Egypt in its transition to an inclusive, representative democracy. Programs strengthen the administration of and access to justice, promote decentralized governance and build the capacity of dozens of civil society groups to advocate for improved services and human rights.
Investing in People: Education
USAID’s support for improving children’s ability to read and their mastery of basic math skills has led to significant improvements in achievement for Egyptian students. Activities focus on innovative training for teachers, decentralization of the education system, policy reform, reading instruction and strengthening math, science, and technology education. USAID is increasingly focused on higher education, strengthening the sector and the skills of graduates to align with market needs. USAID continues to increase scholarship assistance for a diverse range of Egyptians, including women and economically disadvantaged students and supports partnerships between higher education institutions in Egypt and the U.S. along with the private sector. This aims to improve the value and relevance of academic programs in Egypt to labor market needs, as well as joint U.S. and Egypt fellowships and research grants to promote advanced science and technology development.
Investing in People: Health
USAID’s support has contributed to a significant reduction in the infant, child, and maternal mortality rates and a major increase in immunization coverage against major diseases for all Egyptian children-the percentage of fully immunized children increased from 35 percent in 1988 to 92 percent in 2008. USAID’s strategy is focused on improving health behaviors among target populations, improving technical capacity of targeted health services and improving management capacity within the health sector. USAID uses the Global Health Initiative’s principles to implement evidence-based programs to strengthen the capacity of the Egyptian health systems in improving the health of Egyptians. USAID’s programs address key technical areas, including maternal neonatal and child health, nutrition, Avian Influenza and infection control.
Last updated: April 13, 2014