In a review for the Foreign Affairs magazine (November / December 2018 issue) John Waterbury describes Khalid Ikram’s The Political Economy of Reforms in Egypt: Issues and Policymaking since 1952 (AUC Press, 2018) as an “outstanding book.”
“This outstanding book puts Egypt’s economic history in the context of those of other developing countries, comparing it to such histories in East Asia and Latin America. Ikram skillfully weaves economic theory into his account of Egyptian economic policies over the last half century and assesses the role and effectiveness of foreign aid.”
The Political Economy of Reforms in Egypt: Issues and Policymaking since 1952 lays out the enduring features of the Egyptian economy and its performance since 1952 before presenting an account of policy-making, growth and structural change under the country’s successive presidents to the present day. Topics covered include agrarian reforms; the Aswan High Dam; the move towards Arab socialism and a planned economy; the reversal of strategy and the infitah; fiscal, monetary, and exchange-rate policies; consumer subsidies; external debt crises; negotiations between Egypt and international donors and financial institutions; privatization; labor and employment; and poverty and income distribution.
Earlier this year Ikram contributed a Q&A for the AUC Press blog, entitled “Egypt’s Economic development: What’s and Why’s” in which he answers the most frequently asked questions relating to the Egyptian economy, drawing on data from his book. In it he writes: “Egypt possesses an abundance of resources—a strategic location, oil and gas deposits, fertile agriculture, myriads of tourist attractions, a long tradition of learning, a hard-working labor force, and an extensive diaspora that regularly remits large amounts of funds to Egypt. And yet the country’s economic performance seems to lag well behind that of many less well-endowed countries and even fails to meet many of Egypt’s own requirements. Is this indeed the case? If so, why? And what should policymakers do to rectify the situation? Click here to read the full Q&A.