“Aid from the US always comes with strings attached. “
March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Aid from the US always comes with strings attached. Technically, economic aid to Mubarak’s regime was supposed to support initiatives that “reduce poverty”, “create jobs” and “promote regional stability”. But a closer look shows that the overriding policy objective was to pry open the Egyptian economy for the benefit of American and other foreign corporations with little regard for the well-being of the Egyptian people.
Neoliberal policies were solidified in 1991 – a watershed moment in Egypt’s economic history – when Mubarak signed structural adjustment agreements with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which were reinforced the following year by USAid’s Sector Policy Reform Programme in a move that brought the total amount of disbursements for economic liberalisation to $2.3bn.
The US has even assumed power over key political appointments in Egypt. In 1994, USAid underwrote the US-Egypt Partnership for Economic Growth and Development – led by the then vice-president, Al Gore – which sought to reshuffle the Egyptian Cabinet and appoint a new prime minister, Kamal el-Ganzouri, who would endorse a neoliberal vision of private, export-oriented growth (notably, el-Ganzouri was re-appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military junta that took over after Mubarak). When the proposed new leaders assumed power in 1996, USAid praised them in a statement to Congress, which read: “The new Cabinet is committed to liberalising the economy by deregulating the trade sector, increasing competition in the financial sector and accelerating the pace of privatisation”.