Egyptians oppose US economic aid, says Gallup
CAIRO: A new poll published by Gallup revealed that some 70 percent of Egyptians surveyed oppose United States economic aid to Egypt. The poll, conducted in December 2011, also said that Egyptians are against direct aid to civil society organizations in the country.
“This rebuke of US financial support may be a challenge for Egypt’s newly elected parliament and its future president as the government attempts to bolster the nation’s financial stability,” wrote Gallup in their report published on Monday.
Egyptians were not against international economic assistance altogether, however, showing signs of support from international aid groups.
Gallup reported that around 50 percent of the country favoring aid and assistance from international institutions.
Egypt’s ruling military junta and the interim government appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had initially rejected assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but has since reversed their opposition.
Last month, Masood Ahmed, Director for the Middle East and Central Asia Department for the IMF, was in Egypt to discuss a potential $3.2 billion IMF loan to Egypt.
“Egyptian leaders’ ability to attract foreign aid and investment will be important to collecting the capital needed to move the nation’s economy forward,” Gallup continued.
Civil society groups have received tens of millions of dollars from the US since the January 2011 uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak, but in the past month, the military rulers have cracked down on local and international NGOs, sending some 43 employees to a criminal court on Sunday to face charges for illegal funding.
Among those sent are 19 Americans, 5 Serbians, two Germans, three Arabs and the remaining Egyptians. Sam LaHood, the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has made headlines recently after being barred from leaving Egypt, was among those charged.
The spat over American citizens being barred from leaving Egypt has left a diplomatic row between the military junta here in Egypt and the American government.
A senior State Department official said last week that a “handful of US citizens have opted to stay in the embassy compound in Cairo while awaiting permission to depart Egypt.”
The official, who was not allowed to discuss the matter on the record, would not say whether Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, was among those at the embassy.
LaHood said last week that he fears he could be jailed for up to five years after being barred from leaving the country earlier this month.
“As Egypt’s new parliament begins its work and the country’s citizens prepare for presidential elections, many Egyptians are suffering from the day-to-day realities of unemployment and price inflation. According to Gallup’s most recent survey in December 2011, Egyptians are most likely to name inflation and lack of money as the biggest problem facing their families; the second is lack of jobs,” added the report on the implications for Egypt’s future.
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