Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Did the World Bank Get to Egypt's Fayza Abul Naga?

Arab newspapers early Tuesday reported that Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga said that Egypt has declined a loan from the World Bank because it found the terms of the loan incompatible with the national interest.

AlMarsyAlYoum further reported:
The minister added that the government would not accept conditions dictated by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, especially since the 18-day uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak...Last week, The Wall Street Journal said Egypt was wary of the United States’ recent offer of financial support, doubting possible ulterior motives behind it.It also said Abul Naga had lodged a complaint with the US Embassy in Egypt, and warned of violating Egypt’s sovereignty by dictating conditions for loans. The complaint came in response to an announcement by the United States Agency for International Development that it would grant Egypt US$165 million to finance projects for education, civic activities and human rights.
Abul Naga objected to the agency announcing loans to Egypt without consulting competent Egyptian officials.
Less than 24 hours later, this report is out from Ahram Online:
Egypt's minister of planning and international development denied a report published in several Egyptian newspapers on Tuesday that Egypt has declined a World Bank loan because its terms were incompatible with Egypt's national interest.
Fayza Aboul Naga's office manager told Ahram Online that the minister was misquoted as her words were taken out of context. She also provided Ahram Online with a letter dated 2 May 2011 from Mrs. Aboul Naga addressing the World Bank's Country Development Director, confirming the extension of a World Bank loan amounting to US$2.2 billion for budget support...the World Bank issued a press release that implied that the loan has not been cancelled and that the World Bank does not grant conditional assistance.

The release stated that negotiations are currently underway to grant Egypt a loan amounting to $4.5 billion over the next two years. It also indicated that the central aim of their loan programme is to support the Government's "efforts to expand access to information, enhance transparency and accountability, and generate employment opportunities".
Naga's first comments are an awful lot to be taken out of context. Did the World Bank get to Naga? A World Bank borrower dissing the IMF and World Bank is not a trend the banksters want to see develop.

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