US lobbying: Egypt looks for support in Nile dam dispute with Ethiopia

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Africa’s Top 10 lobbying operations in Washington, D.C

By Julian Pecquet
Posted on Friday, 28 January 2022 17:31, updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2022 16:03

U.S. President Trump meets with with Egypt's President el-Sisi in New York City, New York
Within days of Trump losing, Egypt found themselves a new lobbyist in Washington REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

To kick off our series on the top 10 lobbying operations by African actors in the United States, we look at the attempt by Egypt to slow the operations of Ethiopia's GERD dam project on the Nile. Just days after Biden's victory, Egypt's Ambassador to DC hired former congressman Ed Royce of US law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck at $65k a month to lobby congress.

Quiet diplomacy is often said to be better than public posturing, but Washington has its own rules.

America’s constitutional right to petition the government has created an entire industry of lobbyists paid to provide access and advice, and foreign nations have long played the game. Keen to gain a negotiating edge, embassies are among the biggest clients for K Street, the downtown avenue that gives the Washington influence scene its name.

Access comes at a cost that’s not just measured in money, however, but also transparency. A 1930s-era disclosure law, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, of FARA, requires lobbyists for foreign sovereign clients to tell the US Department of Justice just who they’re talking to, and why.

Those public filings are a treasure trove of information about attempts to influence Congress and the Joe Biden administration.

The Africa Report dove through dozens of them to compile a list of 10 African lobbying campaigns to watch in 2022.

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