The US government has announced the awarding of seven grants to Egypt worth $125 million to support education, health, and other development projects.
This news from USAID and the International Cooperation Ministry comes less than two months after the United States announced that it would withhold $130 million of security assistance from Egypt due to human rights violations and the arrest of 16 Americans.
According to critics, Washington should have held back the full $300 million it gives Cairo since the country has over 60,000 political prisoners who are tortured routinely.
“This half measure sends a muddled message about our commitment to human rights and democracy,” Senator Chris Murphy said in a tweet. “This is a mistake. Egypt has 60,000 political prisoners. They torture political dissidents.”
In the last 40 years, the US has given Egypt $30bn and USAID has invested $900 million since former defence minister turned president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took office in 2014.
Rights advocates have urged the US to use these funds to improve human rights rather than giving the repressive Egyptian state a blank check to continue abuses.
The announcement comes shortly after Saudi Arabia deposited $3 billion into Egypt’s central bank for what it said were efforts to help its post-covid recovery.
A $360 million development policy financing loan was just approved by the World Bank for the same reason.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized the World Bank in the past for handing over large sums of money but failing to speak out about the arrests and intimidation of healthcare workers in Egypt.
The Egyptian healthcare system has been on the brink of collapse for many years due to corruption while doctors have been arrested and detained for challenging the official narrative on death tolls and infection rates.
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