World leaders to pump €14bn into Arab countries
Leaders of the G8 countries have committed to pumping €14bn ($20bn) into Tunisia and Egypt between now and 2013 with further support coming from the US and the European Union in additional bilateral aid.
The launch of the so-called “Deauville Partnership” between the west and emerging democracies of the Arab uprising has been heralded as the most significant outcome of the two-day summit on the Normandy coast.
The World Bank, European Investment Bank and African Development Bank are among the bodies that will also financially support into the region.
The International Monetary Fund says in a note requested by the G8 that oil importing Arab countries will need €110bn ($160bn) in external financing over the next three years.
“The changes under way in the Middle East and north Africa are historic and have the potential to open the door to the kind of transformation that occurred in central and eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall,” the G8 leaders of the world’s richest countries proclaimed.
The communiqué offered similar support to Iran if it pushed for reforms in their country, but made clear that the offer of western aid was contingent on genuine progress in the region towards democracy and open societies.
David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, said before the G8 meeting in France: “The most powerful nations on earth have come together and are saying to all those in the Middle East and north Africa who want greater democracy, freedom and civil rights: we are on your side.”
However, the scale of the aid on offer is constrained by the fiscal situations at home in the G8 members: the US, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Russia, Japan and Italy.
Public opposition to aid programmes is also hardening in some countries.