News / Middle East

Egyptians Wary of IMF Loan

Egyptians Wary of IMF Loani
X
April 15, 2013 3:12 PM
Officials from the International Monetary Fund are hammering out terms of a much-needed infusion of cash for Egypt's weakening economy. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports from Cairo that some Egyptians are worried about foreign influence over Egypt in its current, vulnerable state.

Egyptians Wary of IMF Loan

Elizabeth Arrott
— Officials from the International Monetary Fund are hammering out terms of a much-needed infusion of cash for Egypt's weakening economy. But some Egyptians are worried about foreign influence over Egypt in its current, vulnerable state.

As Egypt's economy falters, its government is trying to find relief anywhere it can. Officials say they are closer to securing a nearly $5 billion package from the International Monetary Fund, while recently announcing a $3 billion bond deal with Qatar.
As much as the foreign money is welcome, Egyptians worry about the lenders' motives. Some see the IMF as too close to the interests of Egypt's former government, and they view Qatar's largess as prompted less by neighborly goodwill than by regional ambition.

Economist Magdy Sobhy Youssef of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies:

Youssef said it is normal for lenders or aid donors to have conditions that allow them to exploit the country they are helping, either through political concessions or the economy. He added that is as true for the West as it is for Qatar and other Gulf nations.  

But economists say Egypt has the potential to build itself up without selling itself out. It starts, they argue, with ending the stalemate in domestic politics that has put meaningful reform on hold.

Youssef said that to see the problem as something with only an economic solution will lead to failure. "What is needed," he added, "is political harmony between the government and the opposition."

One of the biggest sticking points in pushing through a reform program is the political fallout from austerity measures. Neither side appears to want to take the blame for cutting subsidies - a huge drain on the budget. In recent weeks, rising prices and shortages of diesel and cooking fuel have led to murderous rage. And historically, a boost in the cost of bread has led to riots across Egypt.

But economists say there are ways to close loopholes so that only the, far fewer, truly needy get help. Omneya Helmy, director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, says while curtailing subsidies is important, it is only part of the answer.

“It is not only about removing subsidies or lowering subsidies, but it is also about if people are offered or helped to have a good job with a decent salary," she said."This would really alleviate the problem.”

So, too, she said, would the strategic use of aid from foreign countries to build Egypt's domestic economy.

“When we get from the IMF the loan, or from other donors, I do not want to see it all going only to finance the budget, but also to other developmental projects that create jobs and improve the quality of life of Egyptians," she said.

For all the concern about outside influence, the crumbling economy, and continuing political and security troubles, Helmy remains optimistic.

“We are in a critical situation.  But Egypt will not collapse. I am confident," she said. "At the end of the day, Egyptians will make it.”

Hers may be a minority view based on a healthy dose of apolitical common sense. Other economists worry “the end of the day” is still a long way off.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
April 16, 2013 10:44 PM
Youssef, I think, is absolutely correct in indicating that money is only a part of the solution. Egypt needs to fundamentally restructure its economy/national policies. For it to occur- political consensus that leads to peace is one fundamental; another one is human rights for all Egyptians; another one is equality of rights; another one is security with unbiased justice; another one is to stem/stop corruption; another one is to re-generate the economy, through the creation of base industries and other commercial activity for its internal market, to create jobs.

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), due to its biased approach to the emancipation of women, and its failure to protect diligently human rights for all Egyptian minorities, and not just Muslims, will not be able to carry out the fundamental changes required; the MB itself must shift significantly, in its policies, towards secularism. The current course which the MB is following will fail and potentially destroy, by a civil war, Egypt.


by: Mahfuz Hatem from: Egypt
April 15, 2013 1:55 PM
hey Obama... this is the time to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood. its not the time to resuscitate this revolting terrorist organization... as Maggie said to Bush - don't go wobbly on me now... George!!! and really, we will be just fine without these Muslim lechers suffocating the country with their malignant idiotic Sharia...
Hilary Clinton loves them but she does not have to live her life under Islamic "law"
Muslim Brotherhood is Hamas... it is Al Nusra... hey Obama - Muslim Brotherhood is Al Qaeda... wake up!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid