Amwal Al Ghad English - 2013-11-07 08:03:36
Egypt’s deputy prime minister is visiting the United States, where he met with World Bank officials.
Bassem Sabry recently sat down for a discussion with Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank’s country director for Egypt, Djibouti and Yemen.
Sabry: What do you think are the questions that are missing from the discussion on Egypt right now?
Schafer: I think the question is, what is the priority right now for Egypt? If we go back two and a half years, the revolution was basically the result of growing exclusion and inequality. And that is still, in my view, the top priority. When you look at GDP growing very steadily, then you compare that to the perception of the people and how they felt about their own wellbeing and livelihood, that wedge overtime - between what the macroeconomic numbers told us and how people perceived how well off they were - that wedge was widening. And I think that was a typical recipe for revolution. When people feel they are much worse off than what the economy tells you, then you have a case of stark exclusion and lack of participation in the economic sphere. What you also had was a lack of participation in the political sphere. This is still the case between different income groups, with regards to geographic distribution in Egypt, and between men and women. So, there are all of these wedges that are widening. What I see as a top priority is the bridging of these gaps, to make the wedges go away. This is what I've put my effort into with my team over the last year, through labour intensive projects that have a strong focus on Upper Egypt. They are what we call “employment opportunities,” for 6 months, they’re not lifetime jobs. More»