Misguided Ideas on the Egyptian Economy

Mideast Egypt Economy
(AP Photo/Nasser Nasser via

Writing in the UAE-based National, Patrick Werr outlines six common motifs that Egypt tends to rely on for the promotion of its economy.

They are dead wrong, he explains, and actually harmful. Here is the list:

  1. A strong currency means a strong Egypt
  2. Egypt has vast desert areas. With only a bit of resolve they can be turned green
  3. Egypt needs to grow its own wheat so it can stop importing
  4. The government needs to build more housing to meet growing demand
  5. The country needs megaprojects to get the economy going
  6. Moving government offices out of the city centre will ease traffic congestion

Werr has worked as a financial writer in Egypt for the past 25 years, so his experience and cultural understanding is extensive. Click on the link above to read his justifications.

But here is one section to highlight. It shows he does not oppose all megaprojects, and proposes a much better investment I heartily agree with:

The good ones, in my opinion, are the Suez Canal corridor project and the rapid expansion of power plants. If only they would add a massive expansion of metro and light rail.

Egypt currently has two operational metro lines, with a third about one-third completed. A fourth line is designed to be fully operational by 2020, with lines five and six envisioned for the future.

As a dedicated urban walker and rider of public transportation, it will be wonderful to access more of the city for the current price of $0.13. Perhaps this must rise in the months or years to come, but to assist a congested Cairo and its lower income residents, I see no better or immediately practical solution.

As for the rest of Werr’s ideas, you be the judge. But to the degree possible, judge in dialogue with Egypt, that she might find her way to a stronger economy for all her citizens.

And as an earlier post speculated, it will also benefit the world.

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