Monday, May 28, 2018

Egypt Is Gaining Economic Freedom

You recall that the Obama administration undermined Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and was happy to see him replaced—via an election—by a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Mohamed Morsi.

You will also recall that Gulf Arab states were appalled. The overthrow of Mubarak damaged America’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Since the Brotherhood was violently anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic, its takeover of Egypt was greeted with dismay in Israel.

You will also recall that the Brotherhood, in its election outreach, was sending mobile infirmary vans into the poor neighborhoods of Cairo. Why were they doing this? In order to allow parents to have their daughters genitally mutilated without having to take them to a clinic or a hospital.

You will be thinking that America should support those who won fair elections—like Donald Trump. But  you also recall that the first foreign leader to travel to Cairo to bestow her blessing on Morsi was none other than America’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The great champion of women’s rights sat down to bless a man whose organization strongly favors female genital mutilation… not to say, wife beatings and honor killings. And of course, that sees homosexuality as a capital crime.

Whether Clinton was there because the Obama administration was partial to the Brotherhood or because her girlfriend’s family is intricately involved with the Brotherhood and its adjunct Sisterhood… we do not know.

Whatever the reason the Obama administration cast its lot with Mohamed Morsi and with the godfather of Islamist terrorist groups. Clinton's presence suggested strongly that the Obama administration was pleased with the election results. She did not have to be there.

In time, you recall, Morsi’s short rule saw nearly a quarter of all Egyptians starving to death. And it diminished the nation’s foreign currency reserves. So, a military coup toppled Morsi’s regime and installed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Now, enquiring minds want to know how Egypt is doing under its now authoritarian rulers. Apparently, it is doing fairly well.

According to a report fromthe Daily Signal, the Egyptian economy is liberalizing at a rapid pace. The el-Sisi regime is introducing free market reforms. We note that the information comes from the International Monetary Fund and Harvard’s Center for International Development, as well as from the Heritage Foundation:

Egypt’s economy is rebounding after years of economic stress and political turmoil.

As Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, noted earlier this year, Egypt is at a turning point in its economic structure and is signaling to investors it is serious about comprehensively reforming its economic system.

According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, Egypt’s overall economic freedom has increased over the past year thanks to improvements in financial freedom, investment freedom, and business freedom.

Reform of fuel and electricity subsidies has been a notable achievement, and market forces now determine the exchange rate. A recently enacted investment law aims to reduce bureaucracy and promote greater foreign investment. And, earlier this year, Egypt’s parliament passed the country’s first bankruptcy law, which should help viable companies return to business success more quickly.

These reforms are paying off. In a recent economic report, Harvard University’s Center for International Development ranks Egypt as the third-fastest growing economy in the world and predicts the country will achieve average economic growth of more than 6 percent per year until 2026.

It’s a cautionary note for those who believe that democratic elections are a necessary concomitant to economic reform and modernization. More and more, developing nations are adopting the Chinese model and are modernizing without liberal democracy.

No comments: