The Origins of Egypt's Economic Crisis
This chapter traces the background of the post-1991 economic reforms. It examines the ways in which successive Egyptian regimes have tried to generate economic growth and development. The chapter looks at the historical influence of international involvement in Egypt's liberalisation and the importance of the United States to that. It shows that there are many parallels in the emergence of Egypt's economic crisis and the recurrent ways in which the government has responded. The reason is the threats posed to Egypt's stability by Islamist opposition that may have been fuelled by increased economic hardship after 1991. Gamal Abdel Nasser agenda focused on four major issues: the economic and social development of Egypt; the spread of the Egyptian revolution to the rest of the Arab world; the promotion of the Non-Alignment Movement; and conflict with Israel. Nasser's populism was rooted in his rhetorical promotion of Arab nationalism and his real delivery of improved living conditions for Egypt's middle classes and poor.