The Egyptian planning and international coordination minister, Fayza Abulnaga
The Egyptian planning and international coordination minister, Fayza Abulnaga, has denied that previous foreign aid to Egyptian organisations was wasted.
Abulnaga stated in a hearing held
by the foreign relations parliamentary committee: \"If there is any amount of money remaining from the loans it is always sent back to the lender, the problems is usually on the Egyptian side not the lender\'s. The borrowing organisations want their projects to continue for as long as possible, so we founded a unit in the ministry to follow their progress.\"
Abulnaga revealed in her statement that Egypt faced serious problems in dealing with foreign aid in 2001, when foreign loans amounted to 31 per cent of the GDP, while the limit is supposed to be 30 per cent. The country was at risk of defaulting on its debts, but succeeded in decreasing the amount gradually untill it reached 15 per cent last year, considered a safe level by the World Bank.
Abulnaga also cited major projects which benefited from foreign aid like the third phase of Egypt\'s underground rail network, the Suez Canal bridge and the Japanese University in Borg Al-Arab.
As for the loans and donations coming from the United States, Abulnaga revealed that after the Camp David treaty in 1978, the US started to loan Egypt $850 million annually untill 1983. Loans then took on the guise of donations. In 1998 Egypt and the US agreed on a 5 per cent annual decrease in donations for 10 years until reached $ 425 millions in 2008. The US soon lost its status as a major lender/donor to Egypt, as former president George W Bush decreased the amount to $ 200 million before it was raised again by President Obama to $ 250 million.
\"This number cannot affect the national general budget, so stop accepting it,\" said Abulnaga.
Abulnaga mentioned that Hosni Mubarak had accepted her proposal in 2007 to stop donations in order to have a \"more balanced\" relationship with the US, as aid was sometimes used to influence Egyptian policy. Abulnaga said that the US rejected the proposal as it was not ready to cut donations, while Egypt\'s view was that any donation programme must be limited.