Egypt, USAID sign MoU for workforce enhancement project

Egypt’s Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy and International Cooperation Minister Rania al-Mashat witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Local Development and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to implement the “Workforce Improvement and Skills Enhancement (WISE)” project in Egypt.

The goal of the MoU is to create practical prospects on the ground to complete the local economic development program, increase the efficiency of the labor market, and form a social economic council to participate in setting the development vision, strategic plan and employment policies, Shaarawy said.

It also aims to improve employment conditions and create sustainable local job opportunities in two new governorates, he added.

Shaarawy said that his ministry has recently formulated economic development strategies for the governorates of Fayoum, Sohag, Minya and Ismailia.

Strategies for local economic development were prepared for the economic sectors that characterize the Beni Suef Governorate, he added.

The ministry endeavors to generalize the application of a local economic development program in many governorates, he stressed, as part of a comprehensive economic development program launched by the Egyptian government to create a conducive environment to improve service provision, identify the needs of the governorates and categorize it according to priorities.

The successful implementation of the local economic development program in Beni Suef drew fruitful and constructive cooperation between the Ministry of Local Development and the Workforce Improvement and Skills Enhancement (WISE), funded by the USAID, aiming to support productivity and employment, Shaarawy said.

He praised the fruitful, constructive and lasting cooperation with the Ministry of International Cooperation to achieve economic development in all governorates, and the cooperation between the Egyptian government and USAID which showcases Egypt’s clear strategy for economic development.

According to Shaarawy, the government is developing a clear strategy to involve the private sector, adding that joint work with international partners and the Ministry of International Cooperation helped with reducing unemployment rates in Upper Egypt and decreasing immigration from Upper Egypt governorates.

Mashat on her end touched on the importance of joint relations with the US across various fields.

She said that MoUs and agreements signed with the USAID stimulates the country’s development efforts in the fields of education, higher education, science and technology, agriculture, health, economic governance, trade and investment.

The strategic partnership with the US is integrated with the national efforts exerted in various fields of development to achieve economic and social development, she added.

She referred to the launch of the Ministry of International Cooperation in cooperation with the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum a catalyst for decreasing the gender gap – the first of its kind in the MENA region, aiming to take institutional measures to improve the work environment for women in the private sector and promote financial inclusion for women.

The Ministry of International Cooperation seeks to agree on a new partnership with the USAID to achieve the goals of the catalyst, according to Mashat.

The ministry is cooperating with the USAID to engage the private sector in development through projects supporting small and medium sized companies, entrepreneurship, and promoting business, Mashat said.

She announced the signing of seven grant agreements in November, with USAID worth US$125 million, within the framework of Egypt-US joint economic relations.

The USAID seeks to strengthen relations between Egypt and the US through partnerships in multiple areas, in line with the economic reform packages undertaken by the Egyptian government and the sustainable development plan “Egypt Vision 2030”, Leslie Reid, head of the USAID in Egypt, said.

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