If I were in charge … how would I improve Egypt’s economy? | Kayla Epstein

In our new feature, we’re asking you for solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges. This week: Egypt’s economy

In our newest feature, we highlight a certain event or issue where the leadership decisions are particularly complex and controversial. Then we’ll hand the reins to you to see how you’d tackle the situation.

Some of the things we’ll ask you to consider for each scenario: how would you go about making decisions? What course of action would you take? What do you expect the other side to do? What is your desired outcome?

All commenters are welcome to submit their proposals, and we especially encourage those with particular expertise.

The Egyptian economy is exacerbating inequality. How would you alleviate the increasing burden on ordinary Egyptians?

The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley recently sent a dispatch about how life has gotten increasingly difficult for the average Egyptian amid the country’s political upheaval. The anemic economy, he reports, is making it almost impossible for low-income Egyptians to get by.

He introduced us to Souad Mohamed Ahmed, a bread seller struggling to provide for her family after business dried up; Jalal Abu Ghazaleh, an entrepreneur whose company was being hampered by government red tape and ineptitude; and others being held back by economic issues. Kingsley explains:

“As Egypt’s foreign currency reserves dwindled over the past year, the value of the Egyptian pound fell fast. This meant it became more expensive to import goods, and in an import-dependent economy this was catastrophic. It became more expensive for farmers to buy fertiliser, and more expensive for the government to subsidise imported fuel. This made it harder for farms to grow and transport produce, which in turn forced consumers – whose salaries had stayed the same – to curb their spending on food.”

“The potential in Egypt is so spectacular that all you need is a bit of stability and clear rules,” said Abu Ghazaleh. “The big message to the new government is that serious reform is needed to make it easier to do business in Egypt.” What steps need to be taken to unlock that potential?

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