From Oaths to Action: Priorities for Egypt’s New Government

Dina Abdel Fattah

Today, July 7, 2024, marks the beginning of Dr. Mostafa Madbouly’s new term as Prime Minister. Let’s set aside any feelings of happiness related to personal interests or disappointment over the departure of an official who may have been a friend.

Today marks the beginning of the first week for the 26 new or continuing ministers. The first week for ministerial portfolio mergers or the consolidation of multiple ministries under one minister’s leadership.

The commissioning of a newly-appointed government is indeed the most significant event since the oath-taking before the president on July 4.

The media landscape tends to amplify contrasting viewpoints, from sharp critiques to enthusiastic praise. As the new ministers assume their roles, their statements carry weight, and their actions will be closely scrutinized. Some departures may be met with warm farewells, while others might fade into obscurity. It’s a pivotal moment, and the public eagerly awaits the impact this government will have.

The bustling streets filled with black government cars departing ministers, ending their tenure, while fresh faces arrive to take up their roles. The Governmental District in the Administrative Capital buzzes with activity as new ministers and their teams step into their responsibilities.

Tens of thousands of government personnel are following the situation, creating a sense of expectancy, while individuals involved or interested in public affairs are anxious.

I imagine that the perspective of some individuals is influenced by expectations for the future that depend only on the nature of personal relationships with the new officials. In short, “friend and foe.” This is normal in light of the absence of plans with declared goals, so far, regarding the nature of the next stage.

If this were the case for (in my estimation) 8-10 million stakeholders who interact with government officials, I can see that the government reshuffle for 100 million people would be quite different. The vast majority of individuals do not care about government leaders. They don’t even know their names for reasons that should be explained in another context.

The concerns of the majority diverge significantly. Their focus centres on secondary school exams, coping with scheduled power outages, and grappling with soaring prices. Nights are spent recalculating budgets, striving to maintain solvency in the face of economic challenges.

Indeed, the Egyptian populace grapples with pressing concerns related to their purchasing power. The devaluation of the local currency has eroded income, investment returns, and other revenues. The absence of a transparent plan to address this resource drain exacerbates the situation, leaving citizens yearning for confidence in their economy.

In the context of Egyptian households, families diligently recalibrate their spending, identifying items that may need to be removed from their shopping lists. For them, the pressing concerns revolve around practical matters—far removed from the ceremonial oath-taking or cabinet reshuffles. The pulse of society beats to the rhythm of everyday necessities.

In the hearts and minds of the Egyptian people, a common refrain echoes across gatherings: “What is our current situation, and how can we find solutions?” The names and technical backgrounds of officials matter little to them. What truly weighs on their thoughts is the absence of success stories – from previous administrations. Stories that could have tangibly improved their lives. The pragmatic concerns of everyday existence take precedence over political intricacies.

Indeed, this captures the essence of the Egyptian citizen—the ability to find humor even amidst the darkest moments. Their resilience shines through as they transform heart-wrenching sadness into jokes. In a world where adversity abounds, their laughter becomes a beacon, defying despair.

The observation resonates beyond Egypt’s borders. Across neighboring countries and diverse regions, citizens grapple with similar challenges—a reality marked by crises. The shifting landscape of global power centres exerts pressure on developing nations from all angles. For some, mere survival becomes a luxury—an aspiration unattainable in other corners of the world.

Yet, amidst these trials, certain countries seize global crises as opportunities. They leverage their geopolitical significance, harness human and natural resources, and draw upon negotiation skills and cultural resilience to forge solutions. Adaptability becomes their compass, guiding them as they navigate the tumultuous seas of uncertainty

My question succinctly captures the essence of the moment. As the new government takes the reins, the path forward remains uncertain. Will they seize the opportunity presented by global crises to craft an Egyptian success narrative? Or will these very crises become a shield, masking any shortcomings in achieving the promised results? The answer lies in their vision, their resolve, and their commitment to the people

From this point, I have many questions:

*How will the new government tackle the debt crisis?

* Is the new government proposing a new approach to debt negotiations with creditors?

* Given Egypt’s current situation and the unique global climate, what opportunities can we seize to move forward?

* To address the current foreign currency shortage, what are the government’s plans for securing access to foreign currency, and how can these plans be coupled with long-term policies to prevent similar crises in the future?

*Will the government pursue easing or tightening policies?

* What are the typical features of economic reforms, and will this particular plan prioritize achieving self-sufficiency in raw materials and basic goods? Additionally, will it emphasize increased investment in scientific research and development?

By leveraging our diverse economic strengths and abundant natural and human resources, we could potentially fulfill domestic needs for these strategic products. This approach could reduce reliance on imports, generate foreign currency through exports (similar to India’s model).

Will the government policies focus on localizing services available in Egypt?

Is the new government planning to generate foreign exchange cash inflows through maximizing revenues from tourism, financial and technological services?

How does the government intend to market these multi-billion-dollar real estate projects?

What about the government strategy for operating and marketing the new industrial cities?

What is the government plan to reap the benefits of the investment projects?

What is the new government plan for creating job opportunities for millions of unemployed young people?

What are the government plan for training the unemployed and adapting their skills to the needs of the development plans?

With numerous legitimate questions, intricate details, along with the public’s right to know, a clear communication strategy is essential. Will the new government outline its specific work methodology for the coming period, including timelines for key initiatives?

Will the government establish clear timelines for implementing its initiatives, along with benchmarks to measure progress?

To allow for a more in-depth exploration in future articles, I’ll pause here for now. As we’re still in the early days of the new Madbouly government, there will undoubtedly be significant developments over the coming weeks that warrant further discussion.


Written by Dina Abdel Fattah

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Top 50 Women Forum is the first platform in Egypt to work exclusively on empowering women professionals, with the purpose of strengthening their contribution development & decision-making processes.