G8 pledges $20 billion to support Arab Spring

U.S. President Barack Obama talks with, from left to right: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, and Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf at the G8 summit in Deauville, France on Friday.  

Leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations on Friday said international development banks will give $20 billion to Egypt and Tunisia to support pro-democratic reforms.

President Barack Obama and other G8 leaders meeting in France on Friday said in a final statement that their countries will also “mobilise substantial bilateral support to scale-up this effort.” The statement did not provide breakdowns of what aid each G8 country would provide.

The leaders encouraged other countries, including rich Arab world nations, to contribute as well to shoring up economies in Egypt and Tunisia, where uprisings this year overthrew dictators but also scared away tourists and investors.

It is unclear what the money would go for, or whether the figure includes money already promised for the region.

“They said their main problem was the economy. They need some support,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters on Friday after meeting the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders. “I think they are ready. Let’s do everything to support the Arab Spring. I think they can succeed.”

The International Monetary Fund told the G8 leaders it is ready to loan up to $35 billion to oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa, to help the region meet goals on growth, stability, job creation and improving living standards. The IMF says that Tunisia, Egypt and other non-oil producing countries in the region could need more than $160 billion overall in external financing through 2013.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 8:57:52 AM |

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