Posts

U.S. benefits from foreign aid to EgyptThere are many ways that Egypt has benefited from aid from the U.S. For years, poverty in Egypt has been a serious issue, with over a quarter of the population living below the national poverty line. With a turbulent economy, Egypt has relied on foreign aid and partnerships to keep the country sustained. But this is not the whole story. In fact, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Egypt.

Egypt receives more U.S. aid than any other country, except for Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Although the amount varies from year to year, U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged about $2 billion a year since 1979. It was during this time that Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel, thus aligning itself with American interests and foreign policy. Once this commitment to maintaining peace in Israel was established, the U.S. began providing aid to Egypt to sustain this treaty.

Peace with Israel and Other Arab States

According to Robert Springborg, a Middle East expert and non-resident fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs, the primary benefit is the “cessation of hostilities against Israel” by Egypt and “other Arab states that could not wage war against Israel in the absence of Egyptian participation.” Egyptian support for American counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaigns helps fuel peace and eliminate conflict that could reach U.S. soil.

Military Jobs

The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Egypt have also helped create jobs and reduce unemployment in the U.S. More than 1.3 million Americans work in manufacturing weapons for defense companies, and more than three million others support the industry indirectly. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “the U.S. is among the world’s top five arms producers and distributors.” This does not mean that the U.S. gives money to Egypt for military equipment, however. It means it gives the Egyptian military a list of equipment the American government will purchase on its behalf in the United States, thus aiding in the U.S. job market.

According to the State Department, military aid has included tanks, armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft missile batteries and surveillance aircraft in addition to the F-16 fighters and Apache attack helicopters. U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Egypt also include expedited processing for U.S. Navy warships when passing through the Suez Canal.

Economic Stability

Since Egypt’s domestic stability is important to the U.S.,  there is an interest in its local economy. The Egyptian military controls up to 60 percent of the Egyptian economy, so it is crucial that for peace in the U.S. continue, there must be a form of economic aid and suitability. Therefore, by providing aid to Egypt to keep its economy stable, the U.S. in turn benefits from this alliance.

This alliance shows the importance of funding and supporting foreign aid. It not only affects the people and economy of many other nations, but there are also many benefits that drastically affect the way Americans live their lives. It only further strengthens the argument that aiding other countries is important and necessary.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr

Despite having occurred nearly two months ago, Hurricane Maria, a category five hurricane, wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, with relief efforts unable to catch up with the severity of the storm. In the day after the storm, the entire island had lost power, five percent of the island had cell service and only 40 percent of gas stations were equipped with supplies. Forty-five days later, only 41 percent of the island has power, 92 percent has cell service and 84 percent of gas stations are up and running.

The catastrophic nature of the storm has also had implications for education. Three weeks after the storm, nearly half of all primary and secondary schools on the island remained closed. College students, too, have been displaced by the storm, making it impossible for them to gain access to education on the island. However, U.S. colleges have sought to ameliorate this problem by providing education to Puerto Rican students for the Spring 2018 semester.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, some students had already started classes by rerouting themselves to Florida, where tuition discounts were being offered to those whose home institutions were unable to reopen. For Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islands students, the State University of New York system, which includes schools like Binghamton, Purchase and Geneseo, made the decision to reduce their tuition to the rate of New York state residents. Rather than pay nearly $40,000 a year to attend, student rates would be approximately $25,000, leaving more fluidity for family assets to go toward home reparation, water access, etc.

Other large U.S. universities have also offered to provide education to Puerto Rican students starting in the spring. Tulane University, Brown University, Cornell University and New York University each have opened their doors to students from Puerto Rico. New York University will provide 50 students with free tuition, housing, health insurance and a meal plan for the spring semester. Tulane opened its doors to Puerto Rican students tuition-free. Cornell offered up to 58 students from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) free tuition, room and board. Finally, Brown University shared that they would offer similar amenities plus assistance with travel to students at UPR.

Liberal arts colleges, too, have offered Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Islands students the opportunity to attend for the spring semester. Amherst College—one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation—has offered to cover tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation, health insurance and students’ spring tuition at their home institutions. Though their program is similar to that offered by other institutions, Amherst’s is unique by paying the students’ home schools for their missed semesters so as not to financially detriment them, as well.

In looking to provide education to Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria, these programs will manage to accommodate a wide number of students who may otherwise not be able to gain access to education for the spring semester. With continued support to the island nation, by the end of the year, education to Puerto Rican students of all ages will be back on track.

– Emily Chazen

Photo: Flickr

South Sudan and Congo use U.S. AidOn October 21, 2017, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared her intent to scrutinize how South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) use U.S. aid. “The U.N. spends over $2 billion per year on the peacekeeping missions in these two countries alone…. we will not do that if our assistance is continuously blocked from reaching people in need,” said Haley.

The idea that developing countries waste generous donations from developed countries informs a great deal of discussion around the continent. Not only has the myth of corruption been inflated in the past decade, but the myth doesn’t explain the struggles of the two nations singled out by Haley. Here’s how the DRC and South Sudan utilize foreign assistance to develop a better future for themselves and for America.

South Sudan

In the 2017 fiscal year, the U.S. provided over $1 billion of humanitarian aid to South Sudan. Of that money, $746 million went to emergency assistance and $246 million went to life-saving care for refugees. These funds were provided for disease screenings, malnutrition treatment and staple food donations.

How can anyone be sure that the money went to those provisions? Development Initiatives may be an applicable answer. According to the website’s data, South Sudan brought in $3.3 billion in 2015. Of that money, $457.7 million was dedicated to operating expenses and $573.3 million went to oil service payments. Oil transfers to states, block grants to states and emergency funds made up 33 percent of expenditures according to Development Initiatives, roughly $1 billion.

Though operating expenses for oil companies may seem like a waste of how South Sudan and Congo Use U.S. Aid, allowing an economy to develop ensures that a nation will not always depend on foreign aid. For an example of how a financed economy can keep a war-torn nation afloat, look no further than…

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Between 2011 and 2015, the DRC emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, averaging at 7 percent annual GDP growth. The Economist predicts that Africa will overtake Asia with the number of countries on the fastest-growing economies list.

But why should the U.S. continue investing in an underdeveloped region mitigated with political strife? According to Alyoscia D’Onofrio of the International Rescue Committee, the world may not be giving enough aid as is. D’Onofrio acknowledges the massive poverty, malnutrition crises and presidential abuses plaguing the DRC. But donor aid provides an incentive for the DRC to respect its people’s wishes and bring an end to the violence. The U.N. has decreased the amount of aid sent to the DRC over the past five years. Giving less money has not helped people in poverty. To allow for long-term political change, argues D’Onofrio, the country needs to escape from its vulnerable state. The DRC can only do so by providing basic needs for its citizens.

Ambassador Haley suggests a re-assessment of how South Sudan and the DRC use U.S. Aid, and D’Onofrio agrees with her on that point. He believes that aid requires evidence-supported approaches, and he questions the effectiveness of NGOs. Despite these misgivings, D’Onofrio still supports foreign aid, and would not deprive funds, as suggested by Haley. “We view these efforts as foundational for bringing real and lasting improvements in… the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said D’Onofrio in a Time Magazine article. “Now is not the time to step back from the challenge.”

Nick Edinger

Photo: Flickr

Additional U.S. Aid for the Syrians Caught in the War

Syria has now been in conflict for six years, and it is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe. Syria is in ruins, and people stuck in the war zone need humanitarian assistance. UNHCR is working 24/7 to help newly displaced people arriving daily to the Ein Issa camp, but almost 50,000 people are still trapped inside Raqqa. This is why additional U.S. aid for Syrians caught in the middle of the war is needed in the field and will help mitigate the impact of the war on the communities in the region.

The U.S. State Department announced that additional humanitarian aid will be provided to civilians stuck in the war zone. Almost $700 million will be provided, which raises the total amount of U.S. aid for Syrians to more than $7 billion since 2012.

This announcement shows the commitment of the American people and the U.S. government to support critical humanitarian needs. U.S. aid for Syrians caught in the war will provide food, clean water, shelter and medical care to the almost 14 million people in the country who need it.

According to the U.N., since 2011 almost 400,000 Syrians have lost their lives and 5 million have fled the country, while 6.3 million people are displaced inside the country. The crisis has no end for now, even with the news that ISIS is on its heels but will not surrender, preferring to fight to the death. Even with his allies, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is very limited in his rule, the Islamic State is losing ground and the country is exhausted from fighting. But still, the Syrian war drags on.

Aid for the Syrian people will be divided among the organizations and agencies assisting Syrian refugees in the country and elsewhere. Part of the funding will also go to Syria’s neighbors, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, who are taking in some of the refugees.

The day before the announcement, there was a gathering of the world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly. Additional aid for the Syrians and the six-year-long conflict was a central part of the discussion, where the urgent need for safe passage for the humanitarian convoys was highlighted.

Additional U.S. aid for Syrians reflects the commitment of the government to help and ease the suffering of Syrians caught in the war, ultimately saving lives. This additional aid is also supporting the operations of the United Nations and other international and non-governmental organizations.

The U.S. government is making huge efforts to increase humanitarian assistance, but to meet emergency needs, other donors are crucial. Non-governmental organizations are often working in areas where U.N. agencies cannot, offering food assistance and meeting basic needs.

UNHCR Syria is the organization’s largest refugee assistance operation in the world. This organization provides assistance to the internally displaced, supporting refugees across the region. UNICEF implements child and youth protection and health programs and neighbors are also involved.

U.S. aid for Syrians trapped in the war zone is crucial, being the largest single donor to the humanitarian response. The U.S. provides critical relief supplies and protection for children, women, people with disabilities and the elderly.

Due to a shortage of funds, non-government organizations are facing many challenges. The additional aid for Syrians in the war zone will bring them critical help, hope for a safe future and the message from the world that they are not alone and forgotten.

– Edita Jakupovic Delcaro

Photo: Flickr