BTI 2024 Country Report: Egypt

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportRapportForskningpeer review

Abstract

During the period under review, the regime’s policies continued to be guided by its desire to secure its own survival, and the rulers actively worked toward further expanding authoritarianism and state control. Policymaking remained dominated by anti-democratic actors, with the military and intelligence agencies playing a particularly prominent role. The separation of powers was further limited. The president has extensive powers, while the independence of the judiciary is severely restricted, and parliament remains a rubber-stamp institution consisting almost exclusively of pro- regime figures.
On paper, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the government introduced measures to improve political participation and human rights. They published Egypt’s first-ever national human rights strategy, which will foster an improvement of the human rights record. They also established the presidential amnesty committee, which will facilitate the release of political prisoners, and initiated a national dialogue to help overcome political divisions. Additionally, the state of emergency expired, signifying an end to the usage of emergency laws. However, none of these measures produced significant results during the period under review. Observers labeled them as attempts by the regime to distract from grievances and drawbacks and to appease the United States and European states.
In reality, the regime continued to rely on heavy repression and a thoroughgoing approach, which once again resulted in setbacks in the spheres of participation and human rights. Civil society faced harsh repression, and the regime targeted not only political opponents but also virtually anyone who did not comply with norms defined by the rulers – such as atheists, transgender persons, homosexuals, or citizens who simply shared the “wrong” content on social media. Egypt has tens of thousands of political prisoners, and the practices of forced disappearance and torture are widespread. Furthermore, the media remained under strict state control.
In the economic sphere, Egypt was heavily affected by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Prior to the recent economic downturn, the government had achieved some level of success in initiating macroeconomic recovery by implementing a reform package within the framework of the 2016 IMF loan. However, during the time period being examined, both economic output and fiscal and monetary stability weakened, resulting in depleted foreign currency reserves, high inflation rates, and escalating debt levels and interest payments. To address these challenges, the government obtained an additional IMF loan in late 2022, which included a requirement to liberalize currency exchange rates. This led to a significant devaluation of the Egyptian pound. Additionally, the regime exhibited reluctance in addressing critical issues such as the military’s economic control and privileges, the monopolistic practices enjoyed by some businessmen, and the active role of the state in the economy.
The regime clearly prioritized the interests of the elite. It lacked distributive justice, fair competition, equal economic participation rights and rigorous anti-corruption policies. Furthermore, it continued to implement austerity measures, such as subsidy cuts and reduced spending on education and health. As a result, lower-income segments and vulnerable groups, including informal day-workers, were particularly impacted by the repercussions of the COVID- 19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Insufficient social welfare measures aggravated the burden, leading to a further growth in poverty and the erosion of the middle class.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
UdgivelsesstedGütersloh
ForlagBertelsmann Stiftung
Antal sider35
StatusUdgivet - 20 mar. 2024

Emneord

  • Egypt
  • democracy
  • Democratization
  • Transformation

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