Egypt’s Economy Rising, Rights Declining
Cairo has made progress on returning to its pre-revolution economic levels, but censorship, surveillance, and other humanitarian abuses continue to accelerate.
The country’s financial health has improved significantly, largely returning to pre-revolution levels. The IMF projects growth to reach 5.3% this year and 5.5% in 2019—far above the 4.3% average during Hosni Mubarak’s presidency. Foreign currency reserves reached $44.5 billion last month, compared to $36 billion in December 2010. In early November, Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat noted that the number of foreigners visiting Egypt had increased by 40% from September 2017 to September 2018.
Although Egypt has made important strides in macroeconomic reform, political liberalization has regressed since Sisi took power. In a letter to Congress this August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that “the overall human rights climate in Egypt continues to deteriorate,” with Cairo “enforcing legislation that conflicts with its human rights obligations.” Amnesty International concurred, characterizing the country as “an open-air prison for critics” in a September campaign.