It all begins at home
By Taha Abdel-Alim Taha
The unfair management of globalisation can lead to marginalisation, a decline in domestic growth and economic performance, and worsening social conditions. But marginalisation cannot be blamed on foreign factors alone or the fact that globalisation to date has been based more on the balance of power rather than the balance of interests among nations.
Often, marginalisation is a result of inadequate development efforts at home. It is also frequently the outcome of insufficient attempts to boost domestic savings, investment and growth. Countries hoping to improve their international standing must strive to boost their competitiveness and export capabilities, engage in regional economic cooperation, and forge alliances with other developing nations. After all, globalisation has no chance of becoming more even-handed except through the formation of alliances among developing countries.
In Egypt's case, a self-help formula regarding globalisation is attainable. But first we have to keep in mind that without
belittling the impact of external marginalisation, home-based marginalisation is the main threat to Egyptian interests and values. It is the main threat to the country's economic development, social welfare, democratic transition, national security, and cultural identity. Egypt does not have to lag behind in the race for economic excellence, it can do better.
Without downplaying the impact of adverse external developments and terrorist attacks, national economic policies are the reason Egypt has been unable to capitalise on the success of its financial and monetary programme. Egypt has an excellent geographic location, human resources, and infrastructure. Globalisation should not hold us back, but motivate us to exploit our comparative advantages.
Despite the way globalisation is being managed, the future of the Egyptian economy depends primarily on our domestic policies, strategies, and priorities. We cannot confine our efforts, however prudent they might be, to correcting the course of globalisation. We have to begin using our full potential to become more equitably integrated into the world economy. The World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalisation, in a report entitled A Fair Globalisation, Creating Opportunities for All, acknowledges that domestic policies in any given country affect the entire global picture. What each country does at home influences not only the course of globalisation but alters the manner in which that country benefits from the opportunities globalisation offers.
The way Egypt responds to economic globalisation, and to the opportunities and challenges that globalisation represents, is essential to our strategy. We want to become part of an equitable division of labour. We want to increase our share in global wealth. And we want to boost our capacity to benefit from a freer exchange of goods, services and capital. But it all begins at home.
* The writer is Deputy Director at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.