Can Egypt meet the rising economic demands of its people?

The mass uprising that swept aside the autocratic government of Hosni Mubarak raised hopes and expectations across Egyptian society. But the success of the Egyptian revolution and of the political reform movement throughout the Arab world, depends on meeting those expectations.

The new government is under pressure to move quickly against those who abused their power under the old regime.

But it is also under pressure to improve the lives of the tens of millions of Egyptians who live in poverty. And today’s economic realities present a formidable challenge to these goals.

Political upheavals sometimes throw people into unexpected jobs. Samir Radwan, an economist who has spent most of his career as an advocate for workers’ rights in the International Labour Organisation, suddenly finds himself as minister of finance, with a rapidly dwindling pot of cash.

“Egypt is known as a land of miracles”, he observes dryly, “but not to this extent”.


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