On the 14th floor of a modern high-rise complex in central Cairo, there is a maze of offices, buzzing with the activities of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), the arm of the World Bank that lends to and invests in private sector projects.
The glittering, gold-capped towers planted on the bank of the Nile are home to some of the largest multinational corporations in Egypt and overlook a deprived area called Ramlet Bulaq.
In the summer of 2012, this building, the Nile City Towers, came to be emblematic of economic inequality in Egypt.
Throughout June, the Egyptian cabinet and parliament debated a budget for the 2017–18 fiscal year, which began on July 1. The budget has been referred to in Egypt as the “IMF budget” due to the number of restrictions in an austerity program imposed by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF—which approved a $12 billion package of loans in November 2016, in exchange for a number of reforms—aims to reduce Egypt’s public spending from around 30 percent of its gross domestic product to below 23 percent by 2021, with one-sixth of those cuts coming from the public payroll
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC), an event hyped by the Egyptian government and business community in an effort to restore trust in Egypt’s economy and bring in much-needed foreign cash. Since the conference, foreign direct investment (FDI) has indeed increased, but that does not necessarily bring good news to the unemployed and wage earners.
As a lawyer and international expert, Ruben Carranza, the director of the Reparative Justice Program at the International Centre for Transitional Justice, has been working for long years on justice in transitional and post-dictatorship settings. From 2001–2004, he was the commissioner in charge of litigation and investigation in the Philippine commission that managed to successfully recover $680 Million of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos' ill-gotten assets hidden in banks in Switzerland, the U.S. and other foreign countries.