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Op-ed review: The economy of the revolution

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Amr Khafaga

Shorouk Newspaper

Columnist Amr Khafaga begins his column stating that it is not strange that the current economic situation of the country is devastated. “Any true revolution is necessarily followed by economic disruptions,” Khafaga writes.  He attributes the devastation to the fall of the ruling regime: “It affected the stability which was an incubator for all production processes and sponsor of economic growth.” What he truly finds strange is that none of those who were in charge of economic development bothered to achieve social justice. “Achieving social justice will take a long time,” he writes.

He points out that on the eve of 25 January 2011, the GDP growth rate reached 7.8%, but that this never really benefitted the poor. “Instead, it was one of the main reasons behind the increase in poverty rates in the country, and therefore social-economic injustice was one of the important causes of the wide popular participation in January 2011 protests, allowing it to be a true popular revolution.”

He adds that there are two factors which are considered dangerous to the current situation. Firstly, the internal debt increase, and secondly, the rise of unemployment to more than 13%. “These rates increase easily every year since the number of those who join the job market also increase annually, but they do not find jobs. It is estimated that 800,000 young people join the job market annually.  This is a huge number, which needs many massive projects to accommodate it.”

He explains that if we sectioned the unemployment rate to look at those who are aged 37 and under, the rate increases to 37%, keeping in mind that this section of society makes up 50% of the population.  Khafaga describes this rate as a ticking timebomb, ready to burst at any moment.

“It is not true that before the revolution, there was justice, because if there were, the revolution would not have happened,” he writes. “In addition, many of the numbers cited about the economy before the revolution do not portray the financial reality of most Egyptians.”

The numbers only supported a marginal percentage of society, leaving the rest of the population destitute. This led to the increase in private charity organisations, which further indicates the failure of the state to provide for its citizens.

“Revolutions create hope and change bad realities, and whoever wants to look for someone to blame, there are many politicians who could be accused,” Khafaga concludes.


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