Post-revolutionary Egypt: What’s next?

 

“The Revolution”

‘Almost a month has passed since the crowning of Mursi as President of Egypt after a runoff election which put the whole country of not the world on a standstill. With a nation deeply divided over the nature of the presidential candidates and their respective agenda, the victory of the Muslim brotherhood is far from being celebrated as an achievement, and rather mentioned as an inevitable destiny the presidential elections put forward before the sealed box container could unveil their secret ballots.’

Now that the results are known and the president has been sworn to office, the future of Egypt remains as uncertain as during the midst of the revolution. With remains of the old regime being, as custom goes, fiercely pointed as conspirators behind any vice the country suffers and every tragedy the public opinion hears of, and a zealous base of supporters of Ahmed Shafiq who see stability as key component of the country’s daily life, a stability threatened by a potential confrontation between the Muslim brotherhood and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

Regardless of the fuss raised about the secret agendas and the hidden hands, one thing remains certain: Egypt is in downwards financial, social and political slide, and that is far from being an unseen and dubious course of events. The President, in a challenge not only to prove himself a worthy figure, but in a confrontation as well that will shape the future of the Political Islamism across the MENA region, can only thrive for a solid consolidation of his victory through the accomplishment of highly valued successes internationally, and most importantly on the domestic arena.

I will develop a set of arguments and ideas about the future decisions that ought to be taken in the fields of economics, politics, military and religion in order to insure a peaceful transition towards democracy for a nation that spilled enough blood to buy its dignity and prosperity back from decades of tyranny.

Economy:

Being the 27th greatest economy with a GDP flirting with the 530 Billion $ is something to be proud of, yet endangering the nation’s wealth and input has become the key concern for the Egyptian citizen, blaming the financial collateral damages of the revolution for the downwards spiral the nation has been experiencing on the casual streets as well as on the stock market.
The spilled billions of $, along with the damaged industries and slowed production has merged to establish an unsustainable financial situation that puts at risk the political credibility of the new leadership and questions the very necessity of the revolution in the first place.
Looking back at the nature of the country, its past focal industries and the professional sector its universities produces, one can lay a working scheme for how the nation ought to operate its economy in order to boost its GDP and consolidate its revolution with a flourishing democracy propelled by promising financial records.

1. The Nile:
Aiming at economic development cannot acquire its credibility unless the fuel to power plants, to fire machines and to melt iron can be secured.Providing electricity for the hungry fuel-consuming industries must be a priority for chief economic and financial advisers for the new leadership, and doing so won’t need the implementation of the American or Chinese natural resources exploitation schemes. (Neither American military driven quest for oil nor Chinese diplomatic
venture in African dictatorship controlled markets). What nurtured the civilization of the great pharaohs and what witnessed the royal naval processions of ancient monarchs is well endowed to provide the Egyptian economy with the necessary blood to water its veins. The mere figure of 12%[1] is the amount of electricity produced by the Dams scattered across the Nile in the Egyptian soil, and given the political turmoil on its southern borders, Egypt could easily increase the figure to new records.

The 1959 Nile Waters treaty entitles Egypt to 82% of the water volume, thus restricting the access of Cairo to the full capacity of the river’s potential electrical output. The plans of the former Egyptian regime to increase its number of Dams along the river have been met with furious discontent from the southern neighbors spanning from Sudan to Ethiopia. The political conditions of Sudan and Ethiopia now are a domestic burden prone to be exploited by an awaking power in the North.

Sudan, now divided into two countries since the independence of the south, is not in a position to sustain its internal politics and economics due the loss of the major oil reserves and to the cracking of its domestic affairs between political unrest and social revolts. Egypt, through the offering of economic and diplomatic assistance to Khartoum in its struggle with Southern Sudan could manage easily to turn the currency of such business into Sudan’s acquiescence to the ventures of Cairo in the Nile resources. Khartoum is now draining in its stockpiled petro-dollars which are everything but eternal, and the current socio-economic conditions warns of an imminent drought of the nation’s monetary reserves. With nothing to sustain the efforts of war and diplomatic confrontation with Juba, Sudan will see the extended hand of Egypt as a divine intervention which ought to be celebrated and greeted by any necessary compromises and sacrifices.

A full access to the Nile, even with Khartoum consent and Juba’s acquiescence due to its abundant oil reserves and thus lack of interest in Hydro-electric power wouldn’t be possible without Ethiopia’s approval. This challenge could be overcome by coupling a strategy of intensifying trade relations and Egyptian expertise exports to Addis Ababa to help develop the inexistent infrastructure and implement industries meant to strengthen the fastest growing non-oil-dependent African economy between 2007 and 2008[2] (with what it brings of industrialization ties to Cairo and thus relative dependence on it), and through a stronger US-Egyptian cooperation to counter Chinese intrusion in Ethiopian market since it would pose a serious threat to the water resources which Chinese economic tentacles in Africa avidly consumes.

Such strategy, if put in place could expand Egyptian access to the Nile water over its prescribed shares, granting greater hydro-electric capacity and wider civilian and industrial access to the river’s waters, thus empowering furthermore the Egyptian economy and sustaining its supplies of fuel through a consolidated electrical generation through the Nile waters.

Author: Mohamed Amine Belarbi
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[1] Egypt Energy Issue http://www.geni.org/globalenergy/library/energy-issues/egypt/index.shtml
[2] “Ethiopia sees Africa’s fastest growth”. Afrol.com. http://www.afrol.com/articles/28991

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