CAIRO: An audit report of USAID democracy and governance programs in Egypt has criticized the Egyptian government for being an impediment to these efforts as well as citing concerns that programs might inadvertently fund terrorism.
The Office of Inspector General at the US Agency for International Development released the “Audit of USAID/Egypt’s Democracy and Governance Activities Oct. 27 and stated that only half of the program’s goals were achieved since 2004.
The main reason for the low success rate was the Egyptian government, according to the report.
“The Government of Egypt signed a bilateral agreement to support democracy and governance activities, but it has shown reluctance to support many of USAID’s democracy and governance programs and has impeded implementers’ activities, said the report.
Since 2004, the US has removed the appropriation of the funding from the grasp of the Egyptian government, but the report pointed out that the political climate in Egypt was not conducive to the success of the programs.
According to the report, “Egypt possesses some of the characteristics of a functioning democracy, but its constitutional, legal, and institutional framework are designed to ensure almost complete domination and control of all branches and activities of government by the president, thereby limiting efforts for general democratic reform.
USAID has awarded over $181 million for programs in Egypt since 2004 and the audit highlighted that it had achieved 52 percent of its planned results, with the percentage at 65 percent for the fiscal year of 2008.
“A major contributing factor to the limited achievements for some of these programs resulted from a lack of support from the Government of Egypt, said the report, which added that “the Government of Egypt has resisted USAID/Egypt’s democracy and governance program and has suspended the activities of many US NGOs because Egyptian officials thought these organizations were too aggressive.
Additionally, the report cited concerns that it could not guarantee that funds were inadvertently funding terrorist activities.
The report said, “Conceivable risks abound that USAID funds may inadvertently be provided to terrorists or organizations associated with terrorism. Without ongoing communication about specific antiterrorism requirements and periodic verification of procedures and compliance, USAID/Egypt has little assurance that its programs do not inadvertently support entities or individuals associated with terrorism.