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Where the money goes, Egypt edition

UPDATE 12:24 PM: US Aid here refers to Official Development Assistance, not military aid. See US military vs economic assistance  and US aid by sector in Egypt here.

US Aid refers to Official Development Assistance, which excludes military aid

This chart comes to us from the people at AidData, a data portal that provides detailed information down to the individual project level for aid funds spent by traditional and non-traditional donors.

The categories used are from research by Simone Dietrich, who explained: “Public sector captures US aid flows to Egypt that directly involve the Egyptian government in the implementation, ranging between budget support and technical assistance. Bypass aid, on the other hand, captures aid that flows ‘around’ the Egyptian government and is implemented by multilateral organizations, NGOs, or private contractors. ”

So, has US aid been better at supporting the Egyptian government, or the Egyptian people?

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  1. Of course, you realise that your graph actually provides no information whatsoever with which one can assess your question right?

    Is the aid supporting the Egyptian people? That depends on what projects have been supported. Are they building public hospitals? That has to go through the state, by definition. That would help Egyptians. Or free universal primary education?

    Or are they just providing allowances for Government staff? That’s just supporting the technocrats, but not *necessarily* the politicians.

    The vast majority of aid money goes through official channels in most countries for good reason: when the donors go, the state has to continue the projects, and is usually best placed to do so, especially when public service or policy is involved.

    The other question you would have to ask, which you don’t give any indication of whatsoever, is if the state is more efficient than NGOs/CSOs/FBOs in Egypt. If it is, then yes, donors are helping the Egyptian people.

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink
  2. Joe wrote:

    I wonder which budget the military support comes from.

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 3:53 am | Permalink
  3. Joe – given that almost all US aid is earmarked, my guess is ‘neither’.

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink
  4. Transparent wrote:

    And, how much stays back in Washington? (in the pockets of Beltway Bandits, such as Chemonics, et al)

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  5. Joe wrote:

    I wasn’t really meaning to suggest it was from either of the categories above – but it remains a genuine question: which budget does the military assistance to egypt money come from?

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  6. Joe wrote:

    PS – here is an interesting article from New Republic – suggesting that the military aid has ‘succeeded’ in Egypt whilst the development aid has ‘failed’

    If that isn’t fubar, I don’t know what is.

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  7. Tom Paulson wrote:

    I’m not understanding how this data dovetails (or doesn’t) with the data on foreign aid as presented by USAID’s new Foreign Assistance Dashboard. See

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  8. sedaeng wrote:

    Well, even though this blog is focusing on ‘economic’ aid, the military aid to Egypt (FMF) is so large why not include it in your watch? I think aid should be mainly for the people as well.

    When 2008 hit us hard the aid to Egypt went like this:* (in the millions)
    Economic—- 455—–412—–200—-250

    Military aid was not touched during the economic crisis! But economic aid was dropped by over half at one point.

    I personally do not think we should be strengthening a dictators military when the people have no rights or say so in their government. By the United States supporting such regimes we send conflicting messages and alienate Near East/Middle Eastern countries with our hypocrisy on human rights and freedom.


    Posted February 5, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink
  9. Jacob AG wrote:

    @Tom, according to DOS/USAID’s Foreign Assistance dashboard ( , the vvvaaassstttt majority of American aid to Egypt went to “Peace and Security” (read: military). About $1.3 billion, in fact. Compare that to the $25 million that went to “Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance,” and you have a good indication of what the goals of American aid in Egypt are.

    Posted February 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  10. Rick Gold wrote:

    I was USAID democracy officer in Egypt from 2004-2007. In my new blog, Post-Revolutionary Egypt,, I am trying to give some insight into USAID funding for human rights and political reform groups during this period and what it might mean for the future of Egypt after the removal of Mubarak.

    Posted February 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  11. Tom–to answer your question about how the data are different, the government’s foreign assistance dashboard presents data on the sectors the money is going towards. In contrast, the above chart represents how the money is getting through the country (through the government or around it). There is no analog on the dashboard.

    As you can see, the total amount of aid shown in this graph is different from what’s shown on the dashboard, and I think that is because they use different sources. This chart is based off of data from the OECD CRS data. The USG’s dashboard says that the data it presents will most likely differ from data available elsewhere because of “different funding timeframes and reporting parameters.” In case you still wanted to know…

    Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  12. Zach wrote:

    It would be nice to see the money go straight to where it is needed because that would cut out a lot of unnecessary steps that take time and money. I also think that if more money was to go straight to the privet sector we would see better and faster improvements. But when it comes to giving the amounts of money that are being given in this case $435 Million, the donors have to have some entity that is close to the problem to give it out. And in this and many other instances that is going to be the government.

    Posted February 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OpenEye Group, Conduit Journal. Conduit Journal said: Where the money goes, Egypt edition […]

  2. By Fuzzy Thinking: Friday Edition « Aid Thoughts on February 4, 2011 at 1:26 am

    […] the spirit of Matt’s New Years Resolution 5: Aid Watch has just posted a blog implying that US aid to Egypt is supporting their Government rather than helping the Egyptian people. The evidence? […]

  3. […] Where the money goes, Egypt edition AKPC_IDS += "11408,";Popularity: 50% […]

  4. […] it away, Laura Freschi: The categories used are from research by Simone Dietrich, who explained: “Public sector […]

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