The state of Egypt’s economy is being blamed on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by foreign analysts. The Egyptian economy continues to struggle despite the large sums of loans and aid poured into the country by neighboring Gulf states. Yet despite such factors, President el-Sisi and his cabinet accomplished much more than expected in two years.

When el-Sisi came to power in 2014, the country had already endured two revolutions and three years of economic downfall. Power outages, terrorist groups, extremism, corruption, aging infrastructure, an unaccountable police force and an inefficient bureaucracy are just a few examples of the hundreds of challenges the government had — and still has — to deal with.

There are also external factors: the unstable surrounding region, the Islamic State group, potential enemies along the Nile Basin and the threat of powerful foreign countries intervening in domestic affairs. It is impossible to expect any head of state to tackle these issues in a matter of years, but the strides taken by el-Sisi and his cabinet cannot go unnoticed.

Egypt has been governed under the policy of subsidies for decades as successive governments relied on such policies for survival. Yet by continuing to borrow and spend to keep prices low, before 2014 the state had spent over $96 billion on energy subsidies, not including the cost of subsidies for other essential goods.

This stagnation changed when el-Sisi came to power; many subsidies were cut and the government suddenly had the limited ability to start paying back debt. A year after el-Sisi took office, Egypt’s external debt fell 13.9 percent, $39.9 billion dollars. The cut allowed the Egyptian government to save up to 51 billion Egyptian pounds. For that reason, Egypt’s credit ratings improved and agencies like Moody’s raised Egypt’s rating outlook from negative to stable.

Infrastructure is a backbone for any economy, and the most basic foundation needed today is electricity access. Egypt has historically failed to produce enough electricity to meet consumption levels. In 2011, electricity usage was 20 percent more than production. Now Egypt has a surplus of energy production and el-Sisi also boosted the use of renewable energy with new wind power plants and solar farms. In order to transform Egypt into a country of manufacturing and industry, el-Sisi has signed contracts with Russia to build Egypt’s first nuclear plant, which will provide Egypt with nuclear power in 2024.

Despite difficult economic times, a parallel Suez Canal was built, costing $8.4 billion, all of which donated by ordinary Egyptians. It is not usual to see millions have confidence in a leader, not only ideologically but financially. Expectations were realized when the project came under completion in just one year and doubled the canal’s capacity from 49 to 97 ships per day.

The canal is only a glimpse of the developments made in Egypt. New tunnels, development of five seaports, new industrial zones and a technology valley are projects that have already been completed. In addition, el-Sisi also began the National Roads Initiative, which set a goal to construct a 4,400 kilometers of roadways, making up 10 percent of Egypt’s road network.

At this point, the flip side of el-Sisi’s current reign cannot be disregarded. Following the coup against the democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi in July 2011, which over 30 million Egyptians supported, el-Sisi imprisoned and tried hundreds of Morsi’s party members in the Muslim Brotherhood. El-Sisi has also had tension with media groups and outlets who have been accused of inciting chaos in domestic affairs. Couple this with reports of corruption and clientelism in his administration, it then becomes clear how el-Sisi’s reign, while very popular, still needs reform.

Even with such a record, Egyptians did recognize el-Sisi’s coup as brave and patriotic and firmly did desire an end to the economic and political crises that plagued Morsi’s administration. El-Sisi’s grasp on security and stability makes him a hero for citizens no matter the consequences or other shortfalls of his presidency. From a certain lens, Egypt is stronger than before due to the nation’s unity under the leadership of el-Sisi.

Wasil Rezk is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service. NILESCOPE appears every other Tuesday.

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  1. Not a bad article, yet there’s a few things to note. Morsi was only in power for about a year, it’s difficult to bring about any change in a troubled country in such a short amount of time. He also may well have been the only democratically elected leader in Egypt’s history, now Sisi has plenty of support supplied by neighbouring Arab countries. Yet Egypt’s debt just rose enormously this year again, what happened?



  3. Badr Abdel-aziz says:

    Thanks Mr Rezk for your article about Egypt and our president Sisi. Actually you hit a very good point when you mentioned that the ordinary Egyptians donated $4.8 billion dollars just after Sisi’s demand. They were collected in just two weeks leaving millions very sad as they couldn’t donate. This gives a very clear impression for all the world that the Egyptians trust their leader by donating their money not only words and TV shows, and believe me, any leader supported by the ordinary citizens will succeed and will never fail God Willing ( In sha’ allah ) , and we can endure the difficulties whatsoever as we see him work so hard and sincerely. Long Live Egypt
    P.S. Sisi came to power by fair democratic election , not by a coup. The Egyptians who revolted against Morsi and his terrorist group ( Muslim Brotherhood ) on 30th June begged him to stand for election. Thanks

  4. What was written here is copy and paste of the Egyptian media propaganda, Suez Canal is in debt and the revenue decreased and the new canal caused depletion of the dollar reserve in central bank, middle and poor classes are suffering from the austere measures while El Sisi raise the salary of police and armed forces and judges.
    Corruption in one year wasted 600 billions and what El Sisi did, he put the judge who reported that in prison.

  5. Egypt was nearly sold on Morst’s hand in a shady deals between the Brotherhoods and some anti-Egyptian interests counties and they already PAID “some fools paid $20B” they still the same Gangisters who acused Sisi of jumping on the chair of Egypt that still support the terriost groups inside Egypt and opening their countries with their media machine to mislead the world about the looks and facts of what’s happening on the ground and they still on BUT we don’t care as we are stronger as never before.

  6. Lotfi Dorgham says:

    Given the back ground of the blood sucking mosquitoes in Egypt, I’m reading an article witch is a gem in it’s self. First in it’s kind is a country going to court to prove an island is not theirs, First also is a country where doctors in fear can’t face a charlatan sanctioned and mind you rewarded by this thing called sisi for claiming discovery of cures to all diseases… Now with all respect to this individual effort Universities in Egypt rank 146th among 147 countries. So to say Egypt is a success is revealing.

  7. What about doubling of internal debt of Egypt from 1.3 trillion pounds to 2.6 trillions in the 2 years of El Sisi government and what about the four presidential luxury planes of 300 million Euro purchased by El Sisi from France and the 25 billion dollars loan from Russia for nuclear reactors with extra 10 billions above it’s true worth augmenting the external debt of Egypt from 53 billion dollars to 75 billions. The article referred to the billions of dollars granted by gulph countries, how can you explain the current economic crisis in Egypt?

  8. Dear Editor
    I am an Egyptian American from the Midwest. I prefer not to give my full name for the safety of my family in Egypt. I am responding to an article that appeared in The Hoya on August 30, 2016 by Wasil Risk about El-Sissi Egypt. The reason I knew about this article is that the El-Sissi’s media and social media brigade celebrated and promoted it. The article is unfortunately full of falsehoods about the economic accomplishment of Mr. El-Sissi. I highly encourage your students to read a series of articles in the Economist on August 6 about the incompetence and state of denial of this regime, also an editorial in Bloomberg about the Egyptian failing economy and the role of Mr. El-Sissi in that. and and Bloomberg
    The article by Mr. Rizk is unfortunately is a mere repeat of Mr. El-Sissi propaganda campaign. On the same day of this article the PBS correspondent Laila Fadel permanently left Egypt for fear of her safety. This is really the darkest times for Egyptian freedom of expression. You have one of the worst forms of Police States in modern history that suppresses any dissident voice. Just yesterday a senior student in medical school at Ain Shams University was brutally murdered by the security apparatus after less than 12 hours in detention. Mr. El-Sissi has been implicated by many well respected human right organizations in numerous murders and abuses including the largest massacres of Egyptians in the modern history on August 14, 2013 of when Egyptian security forces and army killed more than 1000 of unarmed protests. Mr. Rizk is a freshman and I hope he learns some lessons at your well respected University, most importantly to be an honest human being.

  9. Ola El Mersafawy says:

    The word democratically elected is always used in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters, well Hitler was democratically elected so why did the whole world united to bring him down? We all know the answer, his elitist beliefs and views. The Muslim Brotherhood discriminate against non Muslims and rank them as infidel who must pay a fine to live humbly and in total submission in a Muslim society, against women whom they consider inferior mentally and spiritually (they believe that women are sinful by nature) so they are only good to use as sex vessels and for reproducing good soldier (Jihadist). During the one year rule of MB the Islamic ruled Parliament discussed legalizing necrophilia with one deceased wife if the death occurred less than six hours, allowing the marriage of adults to children aged 9 years old (pedophilia), change the education curriculum to exclude women, Christians and all non hard liner Islamist from history books, 175 churches were burnt, Church goers were attacked going in or out of church and shot dead including one little girl her body was riddled with more than 30 bullets, etc. The list of horror is endless, so we the Egyptians are happy with our President and will make it through the economic difficulties.

  10. Michael R. J. says:

    This article although very well written seems to read like a letter of compliment or praise to the Egyptian leader , it briefly touched on his “flip-sided” as the author worded it but spoke nothing about the jailing of journalists, the crack down on dissenting voices, his hugely unpopular attempt to sell a few Islands to Saudi Arabia (that was even opposed by his own party) and the regressions of the small amount of freedoms gained in the 2011 revolution. The author stated a number of facts without corroborating them some were even directly conflicting with certain published Egyptian government records, the canal expansion actually led to a 10% decrease in revenue generated and some analysts believe it was an unnecessary project but it did line the military’s pockets so i guess it is all good. I believe the author is either willfully ignorant of the current affairs in Egypt or biased towards El Sisi, as my suspicions grew since this article was picked up just one day after publishing by the Egyptian media outlets and spread in various newspaper along the lines of
    “American Media Praises Egyptian president and claims extra ordinary progress in just two years”

  11. Thank you for this article, it is well written and explained the real situation in Egypt.

  12. A very well written article and truly reflects what El Sisi has been doing the last couple of years despite all the attempts from many western media outlets to undermine those achievements since he destroyed all their plans of turning Egypt into another chaotic disturbed country in which they (the foreign powers) supported extremists to take over the power and divide the country just as they did in the neighboring countries under the name of enforcing democracy!!!!! Egyptians in the majority are grateful to El Sisi and his brave unprecedented action to stand by the 30million people who took to the streets on June 30th to rebel against the terrorist group that ruled Egypt for one year. If the definition of a military coup implies having the support of more than one third of the population then we Egyptians will be proud that we helped make this movement a ‘coup’.

  13. An excellent piece! I urge you to continue revealing the reality in Egypt and to show people what some biased media doesn’t want to show about this man’s patriotism and his infinite love to his country and people. EL SISI has saved Egypt from a dark destiny it would have been drianed into if Morsi and his group has continued to rule.

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