Governance in Egypt

Authored by: Robert Springborg

Governance in the Middle East and North Africa

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857435849
eBook ISBN: 9780203850053
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203850053-24

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Abstract

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the ‘Midan al Tahrir Uprising’ of early 2011, governance will continue to assume steadily greater importance for Egyptian economics and politics. Although the temporarily ascendant military may seek to slow the pace of Egypt’s economic globalization, economic nationalism is not the answer to the country’s development problems. Only more effective and rapid economic globalization can generate the rate and type of growth required to address numerous pressing problems, core of which are unemployment and poverty. Egypt will have to attract more foreign investment and become much more integrated into global production chains if rates of job creation and income growth are to accelerate. Foreign direct investment (FDI), especially by multi-national corporations that provide access to the technology essential to climbing up production ladders, depends ever more heavily on actual governance performance, as well as on perceptions of that performance by potential investors. Components of governance, such as transparent and effective regulatory frameworks, fair and expeditious legal systems, control of corruption and political stability now impact investment decisions along with the availability and quality of traditional factors of production, such as skilled labour, physical infrastructure and access to markets. The proliferation of comparative governance rankings by public and private organizations since the World Bank commenced its conceptualization and rating of governance performance in 1996, reflects this increasing concern by global business and capital with the governance context. To enhance its global economic competitiveness, Egypt is compelled to improve at least the appearance of quality governance. This need was increasingly recognized by some decision-makers prior to the 2011 uprising, but the authoritarian political system restricted the pace and extent of governance reforms. Whether the new government will be able to do better remains to be seen.

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