Egypt has rejected an offer of $150 million in US aid to help overcome the economic losses triggered by the January 25th Revolution and to support the country’s embryonic process of democratization.
While details are still sketchy, local media is reporting that Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote an “urgent official” letter to the US Embassy in Cairo to confirm the Egyptian government’s rejection of Washington’s conditions for providing such assistance, and rejecting the unilateral actions by USAID.
The Al Ahram newspaper reported yesterday that Dr. Samir Radwan, Minister of Finance, and Ms. Fayza Aboul Naga, Minister of International Cooperation, visited Washington last month, and asked the American side to cancel the Egyptian debt for the United States or grant urgent aid to Egypt up to $7 billion. But the newspaper said. “Washington refused under the pretense that the U.S. budget does not allow canceling the $3.5 billion debt.”
The paper reported that the Egyptian government considered the US aid not a matter of life or death, and that its rejection of unilateral decisions based on the repetition of the excesses of the American side’s method of implementing some projects, specially with regard to providing direct funding from the economic aid program for the private sector, civil society organizations & NGO’s directly, and without the commitment that these organizations and associations registered with the Ministry of Solidarity and social justice, according to Egyptian law, in contravention of international norms.
The precise meaning of the above paragraph is unclear. Further details are being sought.
Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that Egypt’s government is still in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a $3 billion to $4 billion loan and the country’s economy should grow faster next year than in 2011, Finance Minister Samir Radwan said on Tuesday.
“We are still negotiating a loan with the IMF for US$3 (billion) to US$4 billion,” he told reporters after a meeting at Kuwait’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Economic growth is unfortunately going down. Our estimate is 2 percent this year … next year it is about 4 percent,” he said.
William Fisher, a regular contributor to The Public Record, has managed economic development programs for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere for the past 25 years. He has supervised major multi-year projects for AID in Egypt, where he lived and worked for three years. He returned later with his team to design Egypt’s agricultural strategy. Fisher served in the administration of President John F. Kennedy. He reports on a wide-range of issues for numerous domestic and international newspapers and online journals. He blogs at The World According to Bill Fisher.