USAID's 'three C's' and shaping the next decade
USAID Egypt Mission Director Leslie Reed; Jason Taylor, director of the Office of Democracy and Governance; Wick Powers, director of the Office of Education and Health; and Laura Gonzalez, director of the Office of Economic Growth, spoke to AmCham members on Dec. 9 about Egypt's private sector potential.
Reed highlighted the stark contrast between her first visit to Egypt as a student in the 1980s and now. She was struck by "how controlled the economy was" and how "there was no private sector to speak of." Now, however, Egypt "has a thriving private sector."
However, there remains untapped potential, she said. "Women are mostly sitting on the sidelines, access to opportunities and services is uneven, and nearly one-third of Egyptians live below the poverty line," noted Gonzales. Acknowledging those are global problems, she highlighted the role of the private sector in bridging that gap.
While the "three Cs" (COVID, climate change, and corruption) are factors in inequality, the private sector can help. Reed said the 'three Cs' will also "shape [USAID's] work over the coming years."
While USAID's Egypt budget has decreased over the years, this means "USAID dollars [target] opportunities where we can either effect systemic change or leverage the funds and expertise of others." That includes government systems, laws, policies, the private sector, and universities.
To work toward a "more inclusive and globally competitive economy," USAID outlined three key areas it will work on: effective institutions, social equity, and economic empowerment.
USAID highlighted its interest in working with Egypt's business community in this "decisive decade for our planet and our future."