Press Release

RELEASE: Managing Change in Egypt

Watch the event live.

Read “Managing Change in Egypt

Read “The Path to a Successful Economic Transition in Egypt

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress held an event, “U.S. Policy on Egypt’s Transition,” with Ambassador Frank Wisner and released two papers, “Managing Change in Egypt” and “The Path to a Successful Economic Transition in Egypt.” Egypt’s 2012 presidential elections set to conclude later this month in a final run-off election mark the end of one period in this transition, and the path Egypt takes will have major implications for the rest of the region.

The changes in the formal structures and internal balance of power in Egypt’s government, alongside the social and economic transformations Egyptians continue to experience, will be some of the most important strategic dynamics reshaping the Middle East. The stakes for U.S. national security are great. How Egypt evolves in the coming years will affect U.S. national security policy in the Middle East on multiple fronts, including:

  • Managing regional security and the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Fighting terrorist networks
  • Responding to new trends such as political reform and the rise of Islamist parties across the region
  • Forging new economic relations with the broader region

Engaging with the new Egyptian government in all these arenas will require the United States to balance and integrate efforts to advance two core objectives—maintaining a close partnership with Egypt in advancing regional security and supporting Egypt’s political and economic transitions toward more effective governance and expanded economic opportunities for its citizens.

With a new parliament and soon a new president, Egypt will have a government in place, but that alone will not be enough to promote lasting stability in the country. Stability depends on whether Egypt’s economy can generate enough “just jobs”—complete with appropriate remuneration, good working conditions, and opportunities for average citizens to make a better life for themselves and their families—to give the nation’s new democracy the underpinning it needs to thrive. The United States can and must reconfigure its relationship with Egypt’s new leaders and the Egyptian people at this critical juncture. Harnessing U.S. assistance, economic aid, and trade to help Egypt create jobs and put its economy back on track will help further both of these goals—promoting political and social stability while working to quell anti-American sentiment. Specifically, the United States must:

  • Divert some of its military aid toward economic assistance
  • Support public-sector reform to put people back to work in the short run
  • Support private-sector development, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, to create jobs in the medium-to-long term
  • Rethink the U.S.-Egyptian trade relationship
  • Help Egypt work toward creating a better educated, more skilled, and equal labor force
  • Mobilize support and coordinate assistance with the international community to reduce waste and maximize effectiveness

As the new Egyptian government transitions into power it must deliver economic reforms that will create quality jobs for all Egyptians. This will not be an easy task, but it is a task that above all is up to the Egyptians themselves. While Egyptians will ultimately be responsible for their own long, difficult, and inevitably messy transition, the United States—one of Egypt’s biggest donors—has been a political and economic player in Egypt for decades. Its role in helping create an economic environment that is conducive to the creation of good jobs in Egypt is now more important than ever.

Watch the event live.

Read “Managing Change in Egypt

Read “The Path to a Successful Economic Transition in Egypt

To speak with CAP experts, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].

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