Obama to Announce Massive Aid Plan for MENA Countries

U.S. President Barack Obama. Photo by: Pete Souza / The White House

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to unveil a massive assistance plan for Middle East and North African countries, which senior U.S. officials say would include debt cancellation and billions of dollars worth of economic aid from the United States and multilateral organizations.

Obama will outline the aid plan on Thursday (May 19) in what several experts and administration officials have billed as a major speech on the MENA region. The address, which the president will deliver at the State Department, is expected to focus primarily on the effects of the so-called Arab Spring on the development of the region.

Obama is set to announce that the U.S. will cancel up to $1 billion of Egypt’s foreign debt and guarantee or lend the country up to $1 billion, according to the Guardian, citing senior Obama administration officials. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other multilateral organizations are also expected to provide an additional $2 billion to $3 billion.

The unveiling of the new aid plan comes a few days after the president announced that the U.S. will invest millions of dollars in Jordan through the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation to help the country implement necessary long-term economic reforms.

Meantime, the plan precedes trade and economic initiatives that the Group of 8 countries are expected to unveil at their summit in France next week. Insiders said G-8 leaders are drafting a short-term stabilization plan for Egypt, Tunisia and other MENA countries, that include aid from international financial institutions and trade policy adjustments that will boost exports to the United States and European Union, the Wall Street Journal says.

Read more about U.S. development aid.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.