Egyptian perceptions on foreign aid

In order to explore local perceptions on the various aspects of foreign funding, a set of semi-structured interviews held with relevant stakeholders from civil society, political parties and the media conducted in 2012 by an Egyptian NGO (Arab Forum for Alternatives).[i] Assessing the positive (see original source) and negative aspects of foreign funding provided (to civil society organizations) in Egypt, the author, M. Elagati collected the following main arguments raised against aid: donors forcing a specific agenda onto the general work of the organization; unwillingness amongst CSOs (civil society organizations) to reveal sources and amounts of foreign funding, as well as the conditions under which it was granted; donor intervention in the work of these organizations; creating ‘local agents’ for the donor states’ vested interests; foreign funding inciting the creation of projects by local NGOs only for the sake of securing funding; the risk of civil society corruption and the creation of a new class of Egyptians working with foreign organizations that depend on foreign money; abundant foreign funding reducing Egyptian CSOs’ preparedness to search for local sources of funding, thus weakening the development of local alternatives; the risk of a long-term structural dependence of Egyptian NGOs on foreign funding (Elagati 2013). The list is neither representative, nor full, but (a) it reflects the reality of conditions and the manipulated nature of opinions to a great extent, (b) recalls the Palestinian perceptions on foreign aid (discussed in earlier posts).

[i] The semi-structured personal interviews were conducted in December 2012 in Cairo by the Arab Forum for Alternatives: in order to examine the local vision of foreign funds, a sample of 30 people involved in the various fields associated with foreign funding (10 from civil society, 5 from political parties, 5 from the media, 5 from funding organizations and 5 from relevant government institutions) were interviewed. The meetings attempted to explore their opinions on funding in general, the extent of their knowledge on the subject, and their opinions on funding-related issues, whether regarding funding for media, politics, or CSOs in Egypt (Elagati 2013).

Elagati, M. (2013) Foreign Funding in Egypt After the Revolution. FRIDE, Arab Forum for Alternatives and HIVOS, http://www.fride.org/download/WP_EGYPT.pdf (12-01-2014)

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