Egyptian opposition to foreign aid growing, survey says

The Egyptian flag. Photo by: Maya-Anaïs Yataghène / CC BY

The United States is sending aid to people who, apparently, do not want it.

Washington decided last week to waive restrictions and hand over its $1.3 billion annual assistance to Egypt. The decision was made after Egypt lifted its travel ban on American nongovernmental organization workers facing trial in the country. But a new Gallup survey shows Egyptians have grown weary of U.S. aid.

In just little over a month, the U.S.-consulting and polling firm found 82 percent of Egyptians oppose U.S. economic aid — up 11 percentage points from a similar survey in December.

Respondents not in favor of direct U.S. aid to Egyptian nongovernmental organizations have also increased 11 percentage points.

Growing opposition to U.S. aid among Egyptians is not surprising, given that previous surveys have not been encouraging. This, however, proves the Egypt-NGO row that lasted for weeks affected Egyptians’ perception of U.S. assistance — especially since the NGOs involved were charged with using foreign funds to foment unrest in the country.

What is surprising, though, is the Egyptians’ changed attitude toward foreign aid from multilateral institutions and Arab countries.

The survey in December showed 50 percent of Egyptians favor aid from multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. But in the February survey, the percentage dropped to 36 percent.

Similarly, only 57 percent of respondents in the latest survey say they welcome economic aid from Arab countries as opposed to 68 percent in December.

This “souring of attitude” may have something to do with sovereignty issues, Gallup analysts Mohamed Younis and Ahmed Younis said. One of IMF’s preconditions for its $3.2 billion economic aid to Egypt is budget deficit cuts.

Gallup surveyed 1,000 respondents between Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 for this poll.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.