The long-expected devaluation of the Egyptian pound is finally taking place. The pound has undergone its greatest devaluation against the US dollar since the 25 January revolution, falling from LE5.90 to about LE6.60 in a little over a month.
In this context, the pound has hit a historical low against the dollar and the euro since 2003, when the decision of floating the pound was first made. The question raised is why now, and not before, given the constant and continuous decline in the country’s foreign reserves since January 2011?
The Egyptian government has finally concluded an initial loan agreement with the IMF following two years of continual negotiations. The agreement is to be finalised by the IMF board and then signed and ratified by the Egyptian president, who holds both executive and legislative powers following the parliament’s disbanding several months ago. The government hopes that the loan will help to overcome Egypt’s chronic fiscal and financial problems that have become pressing due to the political turmoil following Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011.
Following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's chances of undergoing meaningful democratisation considerably depend on the restructuring of the state bureaucracy. A functioning democratic system requires an autonomous, professional and accountable state apparatus that abides by the rule of law and protects human rights. Autonomy refers to the protection of the state administrative apparatus from the whims of political leadership, so it can preserve its political neutrality.
On 31 October, a group of researchers, activists and civil society organizations will launch the Egyptian Debt Audit and Cancellation Campaign in coordination with international actions in Europe and Latin America. The main goal of the campaign is to audit and cancel Egypt's foreign debt that was accumulated under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Based on credit that was extended to a dictatorial regime lacking even minimal standards of accountability, transparency and public oversight, this debt is considered "odious".