Economic policies in Egypt: populism or reforms?

The Arab Spring that swept the Middle East last year dramatically altered the political landscape of the region but also generated considerable uncertainty over the future of economic policies and economic reforms in the Arab world, according to a new report released by the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Arab countries in transition have been developing their own post-Arab Spring economic models that include a variety of populist measures. Using Egypt as a case study, the authors examine the economic policies the new Egyptian government will likely adopt.

Report authors Mohsin Khan, Hariri Center senior fellow, and Svetlana Milbert, Hariri Center assistant director, present recommendations for the international community to engage in Egypt. Khan and Milbert argue that with the help of the international community, Egypt can move towards a market-oriented economy integrated with the world, combining populist policies with continuing economic reforms. The key will be for Egypt to sign on to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program as soon as possible.

The benefits of an IMF program, aside from the financing it provides, Khan and Milbert suggest, is to send a positive message to domestic businessmen, investors, and donors that the government is serious about delivering on its commitments to macroeconomic stability and structural reforms.

Photo Credit: Daily News Egypt

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