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Disruptive Development In The Egyptian Context

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“Development is a disruptive process, which destroys in order to build”. There are winners and losers. The struggle to achieve development can be seen as an effort to ensure that basic needs of the people are met while building an economic base to secure a better future for everyone. Egypt has tried to define and meet its development objectives. As of today they have done poorly in balancing the following factors; building and maintaining a sense of identity and national community, maintaining order, building a viable economy, meeting basic needs of all, and putting in place an educational system and responding to aspirations for individual development and fulfillment.

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To begin, Egyptians have a mixed sense of identity. Egyptian identity is composed of their ancient civilizations accomplishments, some Arab nationalism, their religion and the traditions that form their culture. One of the most beautiful things of Egypt is its history. They are very proud of their rich history. Some of ancient Egypt’s notable components are its hieroglyphics, calendar and its pyramids. It is home to some of the most famous architecture on the planet and contains a rich history dating back to its ancient civilisation days. Their ancient civilization artifacts were mainly built in stone, one of the strongest building materials, which is my so many of their architecture has survived through natural forces throughout all these years. This has brought about numerous sanctuaries and landmarks that have turned out to be major attractions for tourism in modern day Egypt. Tourism is a major source of income for Egypt. In fact “Tradingeconomics. com” estimates that tourism is responsible for about twelve percent of their GDP with about 7. 60 USD billion being generated through tourism.

Although ancient Egypt might still play a vital role into modern day Egypt’s identity, there are many citizens that believe Egyptians and Arabs are linked, whereas many others believe that Egypt as a country and its citizens are not Arabic. Numerous natives trust that their nation is a primary power and key piece for the way of life and the more noteworthy Arab homeland. An Egyptian scholar named Gamal Hamdan stated “We do not see the Egyptian personality, no matter how distinct it may be, as anything other than a part of the personality of the greater Arab homeland. ” Throughout the years of presidency (1956-1970) of Gamal Abdel Nasser there was a major shift of Arab nationalism which has led to major links and self-identity to Arabs. The official language of Egypt is also Arabic. During the Nasser era Egypt and Syria formed the UAR (United Arab Republic) and after the union was broken up Egypt was still being called that until 1971 which helped stem ties and partners throughout Africa and the Middle East with other Arabic countries. On the other hand an Egyptian anthropologist named Laila el-Hamamsy stated “in light of their history, Egyptians. . . should be conscious of their national identity and consider themselves, above all, Egyptians. How is the Egyptian, with this strong sense of Egyptian identity, able to look himself as an Arab too?” This argument stems from the fact that before pan-Arabism and falling to an English colony, Egypt was its own country, with its own culture, its own style of architecture and its own language.

Egypt has not done very well in creating a self-identity which is evident in the conflict between citizens on the impact of Arabism. Egypt plans on creating a new capital city with the goal to move parliament there and help solve the issues of overcrowding in Cairo. “Theconversation. com” claims “the city will feature a new presidential palace, a new parliament, a central bank and business district, an airport and a massive theme park, alongside housing for 6. 5 million people. ” Time will tell if this will lead as a symbol of identity for the nation or as a tool for development. Egypt is a member of the African Union, Arab Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, United Nations and the International Monetary Fund. They have done a good job creating global ties. Education is vital for any country. Unfortunately according to CAPMAS over 25% of Egypt’s population is illiterate. 18. 5% of males cannot read or write and 33. 6% of females cannot read or write. The Spectator Index report ranked Egypt 129 in 2018 moving them one spot up from the 130 they were ranked in 2017. Egypt aims to implement a new education system aimed at early childhood. They want to mimic a Finnish style. They will seek help from international institutions and specialists for this change.

Cheating has been a huge problem as with modern day technology a phenomenon of exams being leaked has plagued Egypt in the past few years says the minister of education Tarek Shawky. Another issue the education system faces is over population. Teachers are not only getting underpaid a lot of times, but because Egypt has one of the fastest growing populations in the world, students are not getting as high quality education. As a consequence the government is considering passing on a bill restricting all households to a maximum of two children. They also aim to incentivize teachers by giving bonuses based on the student results. The aim for the new education system is to lower the high amount of cheating amongst the students and put in place an improved method to educate the youth. The Times Higher Education released a list of 2018’s top universities in the Arab nations. Out of the list of 20 universities Egypt has 5 mentioned, the most of any nation participant. The highest ranking university was the Beni-Suef University at the 10th spot followed by the American University in Cairo at the 11th spot. In Egypt all levels of education are free. That includes tertiary level. That does not however include private school which costs money and has seen a rise in fees each year. International school fees are supposed to go up 7 percent yearly starting this year. Shawky also announced that private language school fees shall increase 7-11 percent.

Just as any nation, Egypt has its fair share of crime. According to “NationMaster. com” Egypt is home to the ninth largest prison population with approximately 62, 000 people incarcerated. Egypt still has an active capital punishment. Sporting events are regarded as dangerous, especially when rival teams face each other. In 2012 there was a huge riot at Port Said Stadium in Egypt after a match between two Egyptian soccer teams Al-Masry and Al-Ahly. Seventy four people were killed and over 500 people were injured in the riot. The attack followed the conclusion of the match when A-Masry won 3-1 and their fans invaded the pitch and the away teams fan’s stands where they attacked Al-Ahly fans with fireworks, flares, knives, stones and bottles. The police did not open the stadium gates which resulted in many fans being trapped, resulting in their deaths. As of February of this year 2 police officers have been convicted and 10 defendants of the 73 charged have been given the death penalty. As a result of this riot, the domestic league was shut down by the government for two years.

Egypt is also well known to be dangerous for low level crimes committed against tourists. In 2015 the World Economic Forum issued its annual TTCR (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report) where they ranked Egypt the second cheapest nation for international tourists, but ranked them 136th in safety and security. As of August 23, 2018 the government of Canada highly recommends to “avoid non-essential travel” due to an “unpredictable security situation”. They reiterate smuggling and terrorist activities along with armed groups around the borders as major concerns. In 2017 over 300 people died from an attack on a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula. It was the worst terror attack in Egyptian history. Corruption is well and alive in Egypt. The significant stress is the abnormal state and effect of corruption with 50. 26% of business administrators agreeing it is an enormous misfortune for businesses, making it the eleventh most astounding rate on the planet. According to a Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) Egypt’s unemployment rate dips to 11. 8 percent in 2017(Reuters) and a report from 2015, “about 27. 8 percent of the Egyptian population is currently living below the poverty line”. When many people are unemployed companies lose production and citizens lose money to spend which has a heavy negative impact on the economy.

Egypt has a high unemployment rate. Egypt has enjoyed good levels of economic growth over the past few years, but the average living conditions for a citizen remain bad. Egypt does not have a favorable tax environment and is considered very bureaucratic. Their economy is heavily based on 4 sectors; agriculture, industrial, services, construction & contracting. The Nile River has historically and still continues to play a major part in Egypt’s import and export sectors. The crime rate is rising year after year and is a major concern for native Egyptians. Egypt’s economy is growing yet so is inflation and the locals are still waiting to reap the benefits. The battle to accomplish advancement can be viewed as a push to guarantee that fundamental needs of the general population are met while building a monetary base to anchor a superior future for everybody.

Egypt has attempted to characterize and meet its improvement goals. They have done ineffectively in adjusting the accompanying components; constructing and keeping up a feeling of character and national network, looking after request, assembling a feasible economy, addressing essential needs of all, and setting up an instructive framework and reacting to goals for individual improvement and satisfaction. While Egypt has made steps towards enhancing the living conditions for its kin, the nation’s populace still faces abnormal amounts of unemployment, poverty, income disparity and illiteracy.

15 July 2020

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