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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Rethinking US aid to Egypt

The next US administration should make effort to continue the bilateral economic aid programs to Egypt, argues POMED’s Deputy Director for Research, Amy Hawthorne, in a new report (pdf). The report, however, suggests that “significant changes are needed to enable the assistance to achieve its objectives” as it criticizes how the aid packages are delivered and to which projects they are directed. Hawthorne suggests that the funding should be, instead, directed more towards practical programs and away from government initiatives and particularly highlights the need for the changes to include:

  • Simplifying the program by focusing on a few practical initiatives, such as scholarships and job-creation through new businesses, that would benefit ordinary Egyptian citizens, and play to American strengths.
  • Discontinuing ineffective efforts to use aid to encourage the government to undertake economic and democratic reforms.
  • Ending democracy assistance as part of the bilateral program and instead supporting “genuine, independent pro-democracy organizations and individuals through more arms-length funding, and through high-level diplomatic advocacy for human rights and democratic values.”
  • Improving public diplomacy efforts to provide more information about U.S. assistance to the Egyptian public.

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