This is a summary of discussions that took place at a workshop held in Cairo on 28 September 2011. Part of Chatham House’s Egypt In Transition project, the event focused on aspects of Egypt’s economic policy in the transitional period, paying particular attention to social justice and job creation.
Key findings that emerged from the workshop included:
There is a need to address issues of corruption and crony capitalism, both of which are seen to have been endemic in Mubarak-era policies.
There is also a desire for greater regionalism in Egypt’s economic policy. An economic union with other countries experiencing political transition could involve free movement of labour and capital, and a more integrated trade policy.
The establishment of a set of rights and obligations for investors, consumers and workers would represent an important step towards creating a more just business environment, and should also contribute towards improved labour productivity.
New mechanisms for collecting and publishing transparent financial information are strongly needed. These could be established through legislation that encourages greater information transparency.
Other recommendations included: setting a minimum wage; focusing economic policy on the achievement of social justice; reforming the education system; and finding ways to make the public sector more efficient.