Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 February 2010
Issue No. 984
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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After the cup

Sir-- The Egyptians are the football champions of Africa for the seventh time. Superb! They showed spirit and patriotism on the pitch and on the streets after the achievement. Congratulations.

Now after the confetti has been cleared, we can view the achievement from another perspective. It's illogical to limit our hopes and confine our aspirations to winning a match or championship. Egypt is a rich country with a deep rooted civilisation and the sky should be the limit.

Why don't we utilise that propulsive power and the enthusiasm generated to take hold of our destiny. We may ask our politicians, educationalists, economists, civil societies and futurists to work out a 25-year development plan. Let's pool potential and dovetail efforts of the enthusiastic masses with those of the government to realise Egypt's dream. We want to celebrate the end of the last illiterate citizen and bring about full-fledged democracy. We aspire to eradicate corruption in all its forms that eats deep into the fabric of society. We want to reclaim millions of feddans and construct thousands of factories to dump the world's markets with our cheap but rich products. We want to settle our external debts and eradicate unemployment. Only then can we rightly rush into the streets jubilating.

Mahmoud Elewa

Erdogan's achievements

Sir-- Look what Erdogan has done ('We need more Erdogans' 5-11 November, Al-Ahram Weekly ). He doubled the number of universities in Turkey. He made 12-year education free and mandatory for all Turkish citizens; made investment in technology and research and development the number one priority of Turkey; and gave tax incentives to Europeans, Chinese and South Koreans to invest in Turkey.

Pinar Oral

No penalty

Sir-- I'm Algerian, proud of my country and especially the Algerian team which kept playing and fighting with eight players against Egypt in the African cup.

The penalty was not a penalty. Your player (Hosni Abd Rabu) stopped in the run-up, breaking the rules.

The referee gave three red cards yet he was 40m away from the scene. I don't think he could see at such distance unless he's another creature.

Narimane Louahadj

Economics of Egypt

Sir-- According to your article 'SOS from local industries' (28 January-3 February, Al-Ahram Weekly ) the international economic crisis has had the effect of revealing the inefficiency of some sections of Egyptian industry. China, India and Bangladesh do not possess the same comparative advantage of Egypt in the home textile sector.

Leave cost comparisons to one side: buyers today are looking for Egypt to use its location and free trade advantage to manufacture products using design inputs and not squandering these natural and negotiated advantages by competing with low cost producers.

Egyptian manufacturers are able to deliver to main export markets in 10-15 days targeting medium to high market segments which offer better prices than the medium to low market segment.

Egypt's competitive position has become distorted by its advantageous free trade agreements which have distorted investment decisions and delayed the move to higher value- added products delivered to higher market segments. Subsidies are intended as a short term mechanism.

Business owners should receive government support to develop new business models which reflect the country's evolving comparative and competitive advantage. In some sectors too many companies remain attached to low cost manufacturing whilst overlooking the other factors which drive productivity and competitiveness such as innovation, research and development, training and new capital investment.

Steven Lee

Al-Ahram Weekly reserves the right to edit letters submitted to Readers' Corner for brevity and clarity. Readers are advised to limit their letters to a maximum of 300 words.

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