Egypt’s Economy Isn’t Booming, It’s Collapsing.

bdel Fattah al-Sisi has sold his country as an investment destination with the IMF’s help—but the living standards of ordinary Egyptians are plummeting as elites line their pockets.

By Yehia Hamed | June 7, 2019, 10:32 AM

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets with Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 3, 2016.

One year after Egypt repositioned itself as a “global investment destination,” financial commentators have taken to calling it the world’s hottest emerging market. Investors are flooding into the country in the hope of making a fortune in Egypt’s capital markets; in December 2018 foreign holdings of local debt were up more than 20 percent on the previous year, with this trend set to continue in 2019. One investment bank called Egypt’s apparent recovery the “most attractive reform story” in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

But all this obscures a darker reality. In a report published by the World Bank in April 2019, it was calculated that “some 60% of Egypt’s population is either poor or vulnerable.” Overall living conditions, meanwhile, are sliding rapidly. How can it be, then, that Egypt’s economic outlook appears to be so rosy?


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