My interview with Rebel Economy:


7qophzchns8qqak7sp03_biggerQ: At a time when some Egyptians are wary of involvement from overseas organisations, what is the value of foreign NGOs in the country? 

ANSWER: Well, for starters I would ask, what is the International Monetary Fund? Could it be classified as a nongovernmental organization funded by numerous foreign governments? Egypt has been in long, critical negotiations with the IMF to allow for a large “intervention” from a foreign-funded organization worth $4.8 billion.

Bottom-line: What message does Egypt send when it actively seeks foreign investment to help the economy and simultaneously brags about denying close to LE100 million last year in foreign NGO funding?

Denying (and now trying to outright prohibit) foreign NGO funding cuts off access to much-needed capital for citizen groups throughout Egypt who are working in various economic and societal fields like historical preservation (vital for tourism), microfinance (fueling small business growth), job training, education, technology, etc. It is a contradicting message from the Egyptian government that hurts Egypt’s fragile economy by hurting investor confidence.

Egypt’s economy has a long way to go recovering from three decades of neglect. It should welcome foreign investments from large-scale interventions to restore a crumbling infrastructure (creating jobs) to small infusions of capital to teach adult literacy in Beni Suef (also creating jobs).

Foreign NGOs can help fuel our economic recovery, teach valuable expertise, and help build solid democratic institutions. Egypt should welcome them.