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U.S. Foreign Aid Pays Dividends in Egypt

March 15, 2003

Re "U.S. Helps Others to Help Itself," by Scott B. Lasensky, Commentary, March 6: Egypt receives $1.8 billion in U.S. aid, and the economic aid is being reduced by half over a 10-year period. This is 25 cents per capita, putting Egypt in a substantially lower category compared with many other recipients of U.S. aid.

Lasensky states that Egypt has not witnessed any significant political, economic and social reforms. Since the 1970s, 14 political parties have been established, with more than 45 newspapers affiliated with them. The last parliamentary elections were directly supervised by the judiciary, and independent candidates gained special prominence. The 1990s were a time of vibrant economic reform that continues. U.S. aid has played a significant role in laying the foundation of this economic revival, and 67% of Egypt's GDP is generated by the private sector. Egypt's efforts to enter the new century as a full-fledged member of the global economy have been lauded by many governments and global financial institutions.

Finally, over the last decade, nongovernmental organizations have been actively participating in several social transformations, including those involving women's and children's rights.

Hesham El Nakib

Head of the Press and

Information Office, Egyptian

Embassy, Washington

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