Institutional Reform & Economic Development in Egypt: Book Review

Institutional Reform & Economic Development in Egypt. Edited by Noha El-Mikawy and Heba Handoussa. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2002. Pp. 211, with references. $27.50 (paperback). ISBN: 9774247027.

Institutional Reform & Economic Development in Egypt examines the Egyptian state’s evolving role in the legal and administrative sectors as it affects the Egyptian economy. This study is approached through an interdisciplinary lens, with economists and political scientists analyzing the economic and political institutions in relation to legislation, administrative procedures, and the behavior of key agents, such as employers, employees, and officials. Interviews, opinion surveys, context analysis, and analysis of the evolution of legislation as it relates to investment, trade, and employment were evaluated by the analysts. The argument by the contributors is that the success of the economy in Egypt is influenced by the evolving political infrastructure, which also includes institutions and organizations that contribute to policy-making and that administer policies.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One is Institutional Reform of the Process of Legislation, and Part Two is Institutional Reform of Export and Investment. The book contains graphs, tables, and an appendix section. The contributors are renowned scholars in the field of economics and political science. Their names include the editors, Noha El-Mikawy and Heba Handoussa; Ahmed Ghoneim, Heba Abou Shnief, Amr Hashem, Maye Kassem, Abdel Hafez El-Sawi, Ali El-Sawi; and finally Mohamed Shuman.

The political and economic trends of the 1980s and 1990s are traced with the finding that although there were some important changes toward economic liberalization in the Egyptian private sector, indeed there remained weaknesses in the areas of legislation for economic reform, poor promotion in the areas of investment and exports, and a need for access to up-to-date information, better training, and more advanced technological applications. In addition, recommendations are given by the editor Heba Handoussa in the areas of legislation, investment, the employment sector, promotion agencies, the national bureaucratic policy, and the information and technological policy.

There are references at the end of each chapter, which any researcher can find useful for further reading on the State of Egypt, including names of interviewees. I recommend this thoroughly researched book on Egypt’s economic and political sector during the late twentieth to the early twenty-first centuries to academic libraries.

Nancy Beygijanian
University of California, Los Angeles