US to aid Arab Spring countries
US President Barack Obama proposed on a Monday an $800 million financial aid package to the Arab Spring countries to fund economic and political reform as part of the budget for the 2013 fiscal year that starts next October.
The White House expects the federal budget deficit in the US to reach $1.33 trillion in the 2012 fiscal year ending September. Some Congressmen have rejected the idea of an aid package to Arab countries in an attempt to reduce foreign expenditures, which would in turn decrease the budget deficit. However, contrary to the perception of most Americans, foreign aid actually represents only one percent of the budget.
Economic indicators in Arab Spring countries have been negative throughout 2011 due to political instability. Foreign investment fell 17 percent in the MENA region as investment fell 92 percent in Egypt, 65 percent in Syria, and 21 percent in Tunisia according to the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs in the Arab League, Mohammed bin Ibrahim al-Tuwaijri.
In addition to declines in FDI, tourism revenues also dropped sharply in both Egypt and Tunisia, which attract 28 percent of visitors to the MENA region as a whole. Tourism revenues fell 43 percent in Tunisia, and the decline in Egypt was a catastrophic 85 percent, leading to increased unemployment and social unease. (english.nuqudy.com)