Egypt Rejects US AID Offer

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. Samara Radian, Minister of Finance, and Ms. Faze About Enlarge, 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 US 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.