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Making the most of Gulf aid to Egypt

By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy We may not like it, but Egypt desperately needs Gulf money. So why not change the way the Gulf lends money to Egypt to make it count. It won’t be just about wasting away cash to address a symptom without resolving the underlying problem. Indeed, without Gulf aid, the government would have …

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Why Egypt’s pound is not strengthening

By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy Take a look at this chart, which the Central Bank of Egypt  has been proudly parading this month: It shows how the pound’s official price, controlled by the central bank, has been appreciating slowly since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. If we were to take this graph at face value, …

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Is the military good for Egypt’s economy?

By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy That’s a question I put to around a dozen Egyptian businessmen over the weekend, all of whom responded with a resounding “Yes”. Here are some snippets of conversations I had with a few of Egypt’s business community over the weekend (some appeared in this story for The National newspaper): Nassef Sawiris, billionaire …

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Revolving Doors: Egypt deputy finance minister quits

By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy Egypt’s deputy finance minister, Hany Kadry Dimian, has left his post after six years in the ministry, a source at the finance ministry told Rebel Economy, delivering a blow to the country’s chances of concluding a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Mr Dimian, who has served as the deputy …

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After Arab Spring, Islamists test religion in economics

By Farah Halime With the rise of political Islam across North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, Islamic finance is being touted as the solution to decades of unemployment and economic inequality. “We’ve tried socialism, we’ve tried capitalism, now we’re trying Islam,” cried supporters of Mohamed Morsi, when he was …

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Egypt lifts cooking gas prices, why it’s trivial

By Farah Halime How fitting that on April Fool’s Day, the Egyptian government attempts to deceive us all by claiming that its plans to raise the price of state-subsidised cooking gas for the first time in two decades will actually make any difference to the country’s energy subsidy spending. In fact, it won’t, and it is unlikely …

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Reactionary not progressive: Egypt’s economic policy

By Farah Halime In a desperate move to save power, Egypt’s international airport will close most of its runways for four hours each day from early June, Reuters has reported. The airport is the latest casualty of Egypt’s struggle to pay for fuel imports. As if to soften the blow, Reuters quoted the civil aviation minister Wael al-Maadawi …

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Egypt’s Islamist Groupies

There are few Egypt’s president can rely on more in these economic hard times than his band of Islamist brothers. Key financial supporters from Islamist-led governments have come through with cash injections at times of extreme economic hardship, when Mohammed Morsi faced a spike in inflation and subsequent social unrest. Egypt’s Islamist groupies, including Qatar, Turkey, …

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Egypt’s untold diesel story

By Farah Halime The people at Cairo-based brokerage firm Pharos Holding have sent investors a thorough breakdown of the reasons behind Egypt’s diesel crisis. Titled “Diesel Crisis: Unquoted Figures and Untold Stories. The Secret behind Diesel Shortages in Egypt”, the document sheds light on the country’s fuel crisis. Pharos Research sourced diesel import data from the main government …

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Pity Sawiris

At a time when many Egyptian workers are protesting against the chief executives of companies demanding better rights, employees at Orascom Construction Industries demonstrated an unusual display of loyalty against accusations from the government that the company owes EGP 14bn ($2.1bn) in back taxes relating to the 2007 sale of its cement arm to France’s Lafarge. Hundreds of …

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In Egypt, it helps to have the ‘right’ parents

By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy Circumstances beyond our control, including our parents’ job titles, have become more important in deciding the fate of young Egyptians in the job market, World Bank data shows. The type of job a young person ends up with is heavily influenced by the occupations of their parents, underscoring the inequality …

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Rebel Economy wrap

EGYPT’S BUDGET DEFICIT: WHY NO ONE WANTS CUTS By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy While many people generally agree that governments faced with deficits must cut spending, most do not like cuts to specific programmes. It’s the same everywhere, not least in the US where a national survey found that for 18 of 19 programs tested, the majority wanted either …

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Rebel Economy Wrap

Port Said: Egypt’s Statue of Liberty By Farah Halime, Rebel Economy After yesterday’s deadly clashes with as many as 30 killed, it’s hard to imagine how the Port Said of today was once the object of a sculptor’s fascination. In the 1850s, French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi planned to build what is now known as the Statue of …

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