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philip rizk

The GOP Brotherhood of Egypt - Egypt - - 1 views

    ""The Brothers see this as a major source of its appeal among Western audiences," Hamid explains. "Most people think the Brothers would be aligned with a leftist interventionist approach to the economy. But after taking a second look, most investors find themselves pleasantly surprised when they find out otherwise."

Ahmed Badawi

EBRD to start North Africa lending by mid-2012 - 0 views

    The EBRD, an international lending institution which has focused on emerging European economies, announced last week that shareholder governments had backed the expansion of its mandate to North Africa. The bank is one of the tools the international community will use to supply aid to Arab governments and encourage them to pursue democratic reforms in the wake of this year's Arab Spring political unrest.
philip rizk

Egypt's 'Orderly Transition'? International Aid and the Rush to Structural Adjustment - 0 views

  • a critique of these financial packages needs to be seen as much more than just a further illustration of Western hypocrisy
  • a sustained effort to restrain the revolution within the bounds of an ‘orderly transition’
  • Egypt is, in many ways, shaping up as the perfect laboratory of the so-called post-Washington Consensus, in which a liberal-sounding ‘pro poor’ rhetoric – principally linked to the discourse of democratization – is used to deepen the neoliberal trajectory of the Mubarak-era
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  • “As momentous as the current security and political restructuring challenges may be, it is absolutely critical that the transition authorities … place a high priority on deepening and accelerating structural economic reforms … transition and subsequent governments must articulate a credible medium-term reform and stabilization framework … [and] need to focus on creating the legal and institutional environment for fostering entrepreneurship, investment, and market-driven growth.”
  • The IIF went on to bluntly identify this acceleration of structural adjustment as the “context” in which aid to Egypt would be provided
  • designed to ensure greater legitimacy for neoliberalism
  • By limiting democracy to the ‘political’ sphere and expanding the notion of freedom to include ‘markets’, they obfuscate the necessary relations of power within the market, and explicitly block the ability of states to determine the use, ownership and distribution of their economic resources. Democratic control of the economy is thus precluded as a violation of ‘good governance’.
  • In the case of Egypt, the discourse of institutional reform has allowed neoliberal structural adjustment to be presented not just as a technocratic necessity – but as the actual fulfillment of the demands innervating the uprisings
  • emphasized by US and European spokespeople over the last weeks: this was not a revolt against several decades of neoliberalism – but rather a movement against an intrusive state that had obstructed the pursuit of individual self-interest through the market
  • Perhaps the starkest example of this discursive shift was the statement made by World Bank President Robert Zoellick at the opening of a World Bank meeting on the Middle East in mid-April. Referring to Mohammed Bouazizi, the young peddler from a Tunisian market place who set himself on fire and became the catalyst for the uprising in Tunisia, Zoellick remarked “the key point I have also been emphasizing and I emphasized in this speech is that it is not just a question of money. It is a question of policy … keep in mind, the late Mr. Bouazizi was basically driven to burn himself alive because he was harassed with red tape … one starting point is to quit harassing those people and let them have a chance to start some small businesses.”  
  • Western loans act to extract wealth from Egypt’s poor and redistribute it to the richest banks in North America and Europe.
  • Contrary to what has been widely reported in the media, this was not a forgiveness of Egypt’s debt. It is actually a debt-swap – a promise to reduce Egypt’s debt service by $1 billion, provided that money is used in a manner in which the US government approves.
  • dependent upon a continuous stream of new loans in order to service previously accumulated long-term debt
  • A PPP is a means of encouraging the outsourcing of previously state-run utilities and services to private companies
  • “a useful phrase because it avoids the inflammatory effect of “privatization” on those ideologically opposed
  • “The EBRD was created in 1991 to promote democracy and market economy, and the historic developments in Egypt strike a deep chord at this bank."
  • A research institute that tracks the activity of the EBRD, Bank Watch, noted in 2008 that a country cannot achieve top marks in the EBRD assessment without the implementation of PPPs in the water and road sectors.
  • The current Egyptian government has given its open consent to this process
  • “the current transition government remains committed to the open market approach, which Egypt will further pursue at an accelerated rate following upcoming election.”
    "a critique of these financial packages needs to be seen as much more than just a further illustration of Western hypocrisy"
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