Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
16 - 22 September 1999
Issue No. 447
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

Front Page

Striding forward

Mahfouz Egypt, in striving to equip itself for the twenty-first century, has already undertaken a number of major projects. For the coming century will have little if any room for modest economies -- the small scale industries and traditional agricultural methods that fuelled the engine of growth during the nineteenth century, and for a great part of the twentieth, are quickly becoming obsolete.

The overwhelming direction of today's world is towards enormous economic blocks along the lines of the European Community. Mega-projects and multinational corporations are the order of the day, a force no single country will be able to resist. Egypt, then, must bend with this wind if it is to hold its own in the international market place.

Fortunately we are well prepared for such changes. The early years of Hosni Mubarak's presidency saw the implementation of a great many projects designed to consolidate an improved infrastructure, one capable of supporting the kind of economic development necessary if standards of living are to be improved across the board.

I must confess that I am personally very excited by developments such as Toshka, and have been assiduously following reports on its progress. Such massive enterprises indicate that we are living with the times, and that Egypt is perfectly in step with global changes.

But the benefits of such long term projects will come, by definition, well into the future and we cannot ignore present needs. One important task ahead is reducing unemployment. It is also necessary to implement changes that will ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth, so that all Egyptians can share in the fruits of these major developments.

Based on an interview by Mohamed Salmawy.

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