Riyadh — Following several years of reduced aid flows during the early 2000s, 2011 saw a surge in donor flows from Arab nations. Saudi Arabia and other GCC members stepped up aid to the developing countries of Mena in an effort to ensure that transitioning and other economies in the region are able to respond to demands for change.
Overall, aid from Saudi Arabia and the GCC for developing Mena is expected to reach $15 billion (Dh55 billion) for 2012-2015, with the bulk to be furnished by Saudi Arabia.
The aid should enable Egypt, Jordan, and to a lesser degree, Morocco, to shore up balance sheets and increase subsidies to ameliorate food price and other pressures on the population. Jordan is likely to benefit the most, having already been recipient of a $400 million cash grant from Saudi Arabia; and another $1 billion came through on July 28, 2011.
The GCC has also established a new Development Programme to support Bahrain and Oman. The programme should provide $10 billion in investment funding over ten years, focused on housing and infrastructure, and akin in function to earlier EU Cohesion Funds. — Agencies