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Egypt Hopes the Benefits of Economic Reform Outweigh the Risks

Oct 28, 2016 | 10:12 GMT
Egyptians buy sugar from a truck in Cairo. The government is struggling to keep stores stocked with subsidized goods.
Egyptians buy sugar from a truck in Cairo. The government is struggling to keep stores stocked with subsidized goods.
(KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The details of Egypt's ambitious economic reform measures are not settled, but the plan is already mired in controversy. The International Monetary Fund has deemed Egypt's financial position untenable and has made a new loan package contingent on change. Among other things, this means Cairo must implement further painful reforms to fuel subsidies, as well as tax increases and spending cuts -- none of which are popular with entrenched interest groups or with a population beleaguered by high poverty rates. But even as popular pressure mounts, the government cannot afford to turn back -- either literally and figuratively -- lest it risk reversing the progress made so far. Pushback from the disaffected public will continue, but it will not spawn a massive protest movement like those that brought down President Hosni Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood. Even if President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has lost the shine he had when he...

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