How Untouched U.S. Aid to Egypt and Israel Affects Everyone

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SEATTLE — The House of Representatives recently proposed budget cuts to foreign aid funds—$10 billion worth. Despite this, aid to Egypt and Israel is not to be included in this reduction. However, the House cut out $600 million worth of United Nations funding and $4.2 billion in economic assistance to nations that are less wealthy and face instability.

The isolation of aid to Egypt and Israel prompts questions about what other countries—especially those facing poverty-related threats—may lose and why.

What does aid to Egypt and Israel look like?

Egypt is regarded as a lower-middle-income nation and had total obligations of around $1.6 billion in 2015. Its top activity involved a Department of Defense Foreign Military Financing Program (with a waived payment note). Its main sector focused on conflict, peace and security. Additionally, about 86 percent of its U.S. aid fell under the military category, while the rest belonged to economic assistance.

Most of Egypt’s data since 2010 closely mirrors its 2015 aid obligations. However, in 2014, Egypt’s sectors mainly focused on financial/banking services, government/civil society and emergency response—and involved entirely economic (rather than military) aid.

Similarly, Israel (classified as a high-income nation) had total obligations of about $3.3 billion in 2015. Its top activity involved the Foreign Military Financing Program (with a note indicating a waived payment) and its main sector involved conflict, peace and security. The country’s assistance entailed 100 percent military aid for that year.

How does this compare to other countries?

Many countries are highly dependent on U.S. aid for a number of reasons—such as disease treatment and reproductive health. That is not to say that plenty of them do not receive military assistance. In 2015, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Philippines and Ukraine all had activities involving the Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Financing Program like Egypt and Israel.

But certain nations rely on United States funding to improve the quality of life for their citizens—meaning budget cuts could be detrimental. In 2015, these countries had U.S. aid obligations in the following forms:

Angola
Angola’s total obligations encompassed about $58 million in 2015. The top activity involved the Deliver Project for Malaria. Its top two sectors covered basic health as well as population policies and reproductive health. Only one percent of the aid fell under the military category.

Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s total obligations entailed about $809 million. The top activity involved the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Operational Plan Programs. The top sectors belonged to emergency response, population policies and reproductive health. Military aid made up about three percent of the assistance.

Ghana
The total obligations in 2015 encompassed about $298 million. The top activity covered Food for Progress. The top two sectors involved basic education and developmental food aid/food security assistance. About one percent of the aid covered the military section.

Haiti
The total obligations for 2015 encompassed about $502 million. The top activity involved PEPFAR Operational Plan Programs. The top sector covered population policies and reproductive health. All of the aid went to the economic, rather than military, category.

India
The total obligations for 2015 encompassed about $105 million. The top activity covered PEPFAR Operational Plan Programs. The top sector involved population policies and reproductive health. Military aid made up about five percent of the assistance.

Liberia
The total obligations in 2015 entailed about $766 million. Clinical and Non-Clinical Management of Ebola Treatment Units (CNMETU) received the most funding. The top sector covered emergency response. Assistance in military aid covered about one percent.

Madagascar
The total obligations in 2015 encompassed about $156 million. The top activity covered the commodity cost of USAID for nutrition, aligning with the top sector of developmental food aid/food security assistance. All of the aid belonged to the economic—rather than the military—category.

Rwanda
The total obligations encompassed about $247 million. The top activities involved the Feeder Roads Improvement Project (FRDP) and PEPFAR Operational Plan Programs. The top sector covered population policies and reproductive health. All of the aid involved economic (rather than military) assistance.

Sierra Leone
The total obligations entailed about $201 million. The top activity covered World Food Programme Logistics activities. The top sector involved emergency response. All of the aid involved economic—instead of military—assistance.

Syria
The total obligations encompassed about $913 million, making them the highest receiver of aid. The top activity involved the WFP Syria Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP). The top sector covered emergency response. About four percent of the aid belonged to the military category.

Aid to Egypt and Israel, nations using funds for almost exclusively military purposes, remains relatively consistent for the upcoming fiscal year. Meanwhile, nations fighting global poverty with essential U.S. aid are facing detrimental budget cuts. Breaking U.S. assistance down offers data-based reasons to preserve more funding as a means of fighting global poverty, rather than fueling another nation’s military.

Maleeha Syed
Photo: Flickr

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About Author

Maleeha Syed

Maleeha lives in San Antonio, Texas. Her academic interests include Journalism, human rights and social justice, business and public policy. Maleeha has also been an active officer for an Amnesty International chapter for the past two years. She hopes this will prepare her for a future in reporting on the stories she is fascinated by, which deal with humanitarian struggles and how the political sphere either helps or hinders people.

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