THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
Joint Statement Following Meeting of Vice President Gore and President Mubarak
President Mubarak and Vice President Gore met March 28 in the context of the US-Egypt Partnership for Economic Growth. The President and Vice President found the meeting a valuable opportunity to consult in detail about the Partnership. They reviewed the success of the Partnership in focusing US-Egypt cooperation on Egypt's development, discussed progress since their last meeting in July, 1999, and identified the next steps needed to continue the Partnership's achievements.
President Mubarak and Vice President Gore established the Partnership in 1994 to enhance efforts to achieve market-oriented economic growth in Egypt. The Partnership consists of the US-Egypt Presidents' Council of private sector advisors; the Joint Science and Technology Board which coordinates joint scientific projects, and four policy subcommittees: Economy, Finance and Trade; Technology; Environment; and Education.
The President and Vice President noted that as the US-Egypt relationship continues to mature, our economic ties will continue to assume a higher profile. Vice President Gore congratulated Egypt on its record of consistent growth with low inflation and low budget deficits, and noted that American investment has almost doubled over the past five years. To achieve its goal of attracting $5 billion in annual foreign direct investment, he urged Egypt to continue to make its economic reform efforts a high priority. He noted that the US was cooperating with Egypt on implementation of Egypt's privatization plans in the telecommunications and banking sectors and with tax and customs reforms. The two agreed that the private sector must continue to play the role of a full partner with government in Egypt's development, and welcomed the continuing input of the U.S.-Egypt Presidents' Council.
President Mubarak and Vice President Gore welcomed the Partnership's efforts in recent months to respond to President Mubarak's desire that Egypt's development strategy focus on technology and human resources. In this regard they noted especially USAID's new 10-year strategy, which links grants and programs to Egypt's own long-term goals.
They also welcomed the contributions of the Partnership's Subcommittee on Technology, which has launched an ambitious program, in conjunction with the private sector, to foster the growth of information technology business in Egypt. The two noted that information technology growth is primarily driven by the private sector, but that governments also have a role to play in creating a pro-competitive policy and regulatory environment that encourages private sector investment, technological innovation, education and training.
Vice President Gore briefed President Mubarak about US ideas on using information technology to more fully integrate developing countries into the global economy. They noted the information technology plan recently formulated by Egypt's Ministry of Information Technology. The US will work with the Ministry as recently agreed by the Subcommittee on Technology.
The President and Vice President also noted the contributions of the U.S.-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Board, which develops and implements science policy and programs in fields that include information technology and the environment. The Board's activities have engaged and benefited both Egypt's private sector and its institutions of higher education.
President Mubarak and Vice President Gore agreed on the importance of intellectual property rights to growth in key sectors of the economy, including information technology. They discussed initiatives for better communicating the potential of Egypt's economy to a wider range of U.S. businesses. Additionally, both remarked on the consultations between the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Government of Egypt on the financing available to support future American investment.
The President and Vice President noted initiation of the Egyptian Environmental Policy Program to support the efforts of the Environment, Tourism, and Petroleum Ministries to address environmental challenges. They also remarked on cooperation between U.S. and Egyptian environmental agencies, and USAID assistance aimed at improving the environment in Egypt.
Vice President Gore congratulated President Mubarak for his leadership in the areas of education and human resource development and his commitment to education for all children in Egypt, and noted that the U.S. government has been pleased to support this effort. They remarked on the partnership that is developing between government and the private sector in Egypt to support the strengthening of workforce development and management skills. They also noted the key role that education plays in strengthening economic growth, social equity and the vitality of democratic institutions. The two welcomed the collaborative exchange program, aimed at addressing issues of teacher quality, launched jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the Egyptian Ministry of Education. Under the program, which begins this summer, American master teachers will travel to Egypt and Egyptian educators will travel to the U.S.