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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid