“Egypt versus the IMF: is Cairo down and out?”, Folkert Woudstra (Clingendael, The Netherlands)

In November 2022, the world turned its eyes to Sharm al-Sheikh (Egypt) which hosted the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). While the government of President al-Sisi sought to promote Egypt as an attractive tourist and investment destination, its critics accused it of greenwashing the country and covering up its poor human rights record. In an attempt to nip such criticism in the bud, al-Sisi lifted the state of emergency, initiated a national dialogue with the opposition and released hundreds of political prisoners. Nevertheless it is clear that Cairo will have to respect in a stricter way Human Rights in order to get IMF support it needs to address the plummeting exchange rate of the pound, avert a mounting debt crisis and repair its public finances that took hits from the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. This commentary explores how the financial clout of the IMF in the context of Egypt’s fiscal needs might generate a narrow pathway for bringing incremental reforms about that improve governance and remain feasible within the country’s authoritarian parameters of rule.   

Read more here.