Thursday, July 26, 2012

Post-revolutionary Egypt: What’s next? Part 2

Never too late: industrialization, services and technology

Egypt, since the major period of industrialization under the Nasser administration, fell back on the international arena to a mere import oriented economy relying for its most on foreign production to fulfill its market’s needs. Nowadays, after a toppled regime and a genuine declared war against corruption and centralization, the Egyptian economy is ready to engage once more in the competitive sector of major industries spanning from the petrochemical sector to the production and assembly of automobiles and military weapons. The educational system in Egypt is one which is acknowledged for its quality and excellence, a success mostly witnessed through top class intellectuals and engineers whom Egypt exports throughout the world.

One would doubt the necessity and indeed the potential attributes of an imminent industrialization in Egypt, especially in a world which industrial wheel has been rotating since the 19th century, but the current situation in the Middle East and especially the Gulf attests of a different reality.

Acetex, Corporation has entered a newly formed joint venture to build a US 1 Billion $ plant in Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia[1], and this comes after Qatar built the biggest gas-to-liquid plant at the grand pleasure of the Qatari Emir. The region is witnessing a fervent ascension to major industrialization, and it is a favorable time for Egypt to enroll in such efforts.

Whether through implementing gas and petroleum refinery plants in joint ventures with the gulf countries as did Tunisia along Qatar in a 2 Billion 2$ Investment[2] (Especially that the oil and gas fields in Egypt are poorly exploited through an old and inefficient exploitation and delivery infrastructure), or be it through the privatization of the state owned plants in order to reform and improve the soviet dated firms and production lines to the requirements of the 21st century.

Another aspect of the Egyptian economy is its large agricultural activities which account for 13.5% of the GDP. Looking back at the wealthy fields across the Nile strikes the viewer immediately: the scene never exceeds the view of poor installations, few human resources and archaic tools of production. Nations with far smaller land mass whose workforce in the agricultural sector is dwarfed by that of Egypt still manages to have a colossal input in the world market. What is needed is indeed a reform and improvement of the mean of productions in Egypt, a qualification of the workforce and the introduction of technology, genetic selection and mass production in the agricultural fields. This will boost not only the productivity, but will as well expand the usable land mass in the vast desertic fields as what is been done in Saudi Arabia and co.

Egypt is rich in resources, and the abundant oil, gas, iron, manganese, limestone or phosphates are here to further confirm it. The human resources to exploit these natural riches are as well in excess, so what is needed is a true political willingness to advance the economic competitively of Egypt instead of using induces poverty and illiteracy as political tools to enslave the people as has been done during the Mubarak Era.
Furthermore, the prospects of monetary rehabilitation are appealing, and the necessity for Egypt to uphold thus far a diplomatic and strategic foreign policy supportive of the US is more than encouraged in order to secure the American Billions of dollars’ worth of aid. This, coupled with an up to market prices trade with Israel over the oil exports would enrich the state monetary reserves of another dozen of billions $. Finally, the alignment of Egypt with the West and the gulf countries in their effort to ignite a war against Iran will inevitably poor on the Egyptian reserves juicy banknotes issued by the petro-dollar rich and grateful gulf nations  for the Egyptian efforts to sustain “peace and stability” to the region.

An enhanced industrialization, a fierce war on corruption and a rehabilitation of the monetary system and relief of the aggregating debts is to engage Egypt in the path of economic competitiveness and major industrial production, a deeply needed pathway where the economic survival of the nation ultimately rests.

To be Continued...
Next: Political Reforms

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