“Ready to change its fortune…”*
Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, who is under strong global impact has been examined in this volume.
Egypt is a transcontinental country which is located at the intersection of the North Africa and the Southwest Asia. The country has a 80 million population in total and about 20 million of this population is living in Cairo city.
The globalisation(better to say westernisation) process of Egypt started in 1979 (i.e. Camp David Accords). After this date, the country turned its face from the North(communist bloc) to the West (US and EU). In this westernisation process which has been going on for the last 30 years, Egypt became very close to the United States (US) and the European Union(EU) politically and financially, but it moved away from the countries of the North Africa and the Middle East, which are actually the places much more similar to the Egypt than US and EU in socio-cultural terms. US and EU financially and politically supported the Egypt government in a systematic and regular way during this 30-year period (e.g. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided $1.3 billion financial aid to the Egyptian government every year since 1980 to support economic growth and to establish security in the country. Again, EU provided €558 million to the government between 2007-2011 under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) to support political and economical reforms in the country. EU has just declared that they are going to provide an additional €449 million financial aid to Egypt for the same purposes under the same program between 2011 and 2013).
The year 2007 became an important date for Egypt in terms of coming closer to the western world. Egypt became the first country in the Middle East-North Africa Region (MENA) which signed the OECD’s Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. After 2007, Egypt applied many new financial and economical liberal reforms in the context of this decleration and as a result the country passed to a full open economy. The OECD’s Regulatory Restrictiveness Index score for Egypt was 0.191 in 2006 and it became 0.104 in 2010 (On a scale where 0 denotes a fully open economy and 1 a totally closed one). This score is close to the scores of some developed countries such as Japan, Denmark and South Korea in this index. This means that Egypt’s less developed economy (the 26th biggest economy of the world in 2010 according to IMF data) is now competing with the world’s most developed countries on equal terms in the global economic system.
The Egyptian government, which opened the door of the country fully to global investors, was insistently trying to attract foreign investments into the country’s all economic sectors (i.e. Agribusiness, Communication&Information Technologies, Education, Financial, Healthcare, Logistics& Transportation, Petrochemicals, Renewable Energy, Retail, Textile and Tourism) via Public-Private Partnerships, Privatisations and Foreign Direct Investments recently. However, the government was overthrown in a social explosion in 2011.
This social explosion (i.e. Revolution in Cairo at the beginning of Feb 2011) showed that the Egyptians were not happy about the present order and progress of the country. They considered all these liberal economic and political reforms as a part of an imperialist process towards the country and wanted to stop this unfair globalisation process with a social revolution. After the overthrow of the government in Feb 2011, the dictatorial regime in Egypt was finalized and the country took an important step towards democracy.
*Published in Political Reflection Magazine (PR) Vol. 2 | No. 2
** Fatih Eren is Doctoral Researcher in Department of Town and Regional Planning, Uni-versity of Sheffield.