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Corruption in Egypt

"Corruption was one of the primary reasons that pushed the masses to rally in 2011"[1]. Corruption defines Egypt's economy in more ways than one. While popular businesses receive privileged treatment, the average business must embrace a culture of lying, extortion, embezzlement, and bribery. This favoritism forces businesses to have strong networks in order to survive. Although laws exist to criminalize these actions, they are poorly enforced.[2][3]

Corruption in the Economy

Businesses with more informal connections within the government receive preferential treatment navigating through Egypt's complex regulatory framework, providing a disincentive for competition. An inefficient and sporadically enforced legal system and a widespread culture of corruption leave businesses reliant on the use of middlemen known as "wasta", to operate, and well-connected businesses enjoy privileged treatment.[4] Facilitation payments are an established part of 'getting things done', despite irregular payments and gifts being criminalized. Facilitation payments are regarded as bribery in many countries, which prevents many foreign entities from financial involvement with Egypt since they are a required part of doing business. Corruption makes the costs of both local goods as well as imports higher, decreasing the purchasing power of individuals which magnifies poverty. However, with the new 2016 Investment Law [2] signed on March 2016 under the Minister of investment and international cooperation Sahar Nasr (government of Sherif Ismail) under the presidency of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the business scene has seen more flexibility. The law aims to reduce stifling bureaucracy in order to attract more investors, which has seen long-awaited growth in investment in Egypt. With this law, Egypt is becoming the most attractive investment destination in Africa.[3]

Attempts at Reform

Historically, the gap between legislation and enforcement has hampered the government's efforts to fight corruption.

Mubarak

Prior to the 2011 revolution, critics agreed that corruption in Egypt was widespread and that anti-corruption measures were perceived to be mere cosmetic changes serving Mubarak's political agenda. However in the last year of president Mubarak's 30 years presidency, on 2010, the "National coordination committee for combatting Corruption"[5] has been created but been amended by a Prime Minister decree (No 493) signed by PM Ibrahim Mahlab on 2014 to provide justice and equality and equal opportunities.

Morsi

The uprisings spurred a whirlwind of official corruption cases as well as the trials of several ministers and businessmen with ties to the former regime.The government under the Morsi administration claimed to focus its efforts on the fight against corruption and included several anti-corruption initiatives into the new 2012 constitution. But soon after the constitutional amendment in 2012[6], initiatives started to develop slowly resulting in complete neglection before the 2013 revolution erupted on June 30. The Constitution stipulated, among other provisions, the public's right to information, data, and documents. It also required an annual financial disclosure from Parliament members. Furthermore, the government created an anti-corruption commission designed to deal with standards of integrity and transparency in government and address conflict of interest.[7]

Al-Sisi

In terms of enforcement, more happened under the Sisi regime with one highly publicized case of a judge who was accused of corruption and arrested the moment he resigned from his position. The judge committed suicide very soon thereafter. Under the presidency of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, many attempts to arrest public figures accused of different forms of corruption have erupted, including ones against main governorates' governors, as well as hospital directors.[8] In 2014, as the first move for the president, a council of combating corruption was created and headed by the Prime Minister, during which high-profile officials get to review developments in the area of reducing corrupt practices. [9]

References

  1. ^ Fayed, Ahmed Alaa (2017-10-02). "The current status of corruption in Egypt". Contemporary Arab Affairs. 10 (4): 510–521. doi:10.1080/17550912.2017.1399641. ISSN 1755-0912.
  2. ^ a b Kalin, Stephen. "Egypt's cabinet approves long-awaited investment law".
  3. ^ a b Steinmetz, Juergen T (18 September 2017). "Top 10 countries to invest in Africa: Egypt number one - eTurboNews (eTN)".
  4. ^ "Egypt Corruption Report". www.business-anti-corruption.com.
  5. ^ "NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR COMBATING CORRUPTION". NCCCC.
  6. ^ "نص الإعلان الدستوري الجديد الذي أصدره الرئيس مرسي - بوابة الشروق". الشروق. القاهرة. December 9, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "What's new in Egypt's draft constitution?". BBC. December 3, 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  8. ^ "مصدر: غلق مكتب محافظ المنوفية المتهم فى قضايا فساد ووضع حراسة أمنية عليه - اليوم السابع". اليوم السابع. January 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Egyptian judge facing corruption charge hangs himself: lawyer". Reuters. January 2, 2017.

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