Aid and Power in the Arab World: World Bank and IMF by Jane Harrigan, Hamed El-Said (eds.)

By Jane Harrigan, Hamed El-Said (eds.)

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Extra resources for Aid and Power in the Arab World: World Bank and IMF Policy-Based Lending in the Middle East and North Africa

Sample text

This exposed the fundamental weaknesses of the Egyptian economy – inefficient investment due to distorted incentives, a huge overburdened and inefficient state sector, and lack of technical dynamism and technical progress in the production process (Steindel and Stiroh 2001) which brought diminishing returns to capital in the latter part of the 1980s (Khier-El-Din and Moursi 2001 Figure 2). By the late 1980s major structural imbalances in the Egyptian economy were hindering growth. These included imbalance between government revenue and spending, between savings and investment, imports and exports and labour demand and supply.

Only in the case of Jordan in the late 1980s and Egypt in its first phase of loans during the mid-1970s do we see any clear sign of recipient economic need in terms of a significant deterioration in the macroeconomic indicators the IMF is usually concerned with. It seems therefore that we must look to other factors to explain the IMF and World Bank engagement with Egypt in the 1980s and with Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. In all cases a cursory political analysis would indicate that a shift towards a proWestern foreign policy, peace overtures to Israel, domestic political liberalisation and the often related challenge to the regime by Islamic opposition prompt an inflow of funds not just from the USA but also from the Bank and Fund.

Of total funds committed, large amounts were later cancelled, and the cost of dropped projects has been more than twice the Bank average. 6) Successful stabilisation The nature of the programme In 1991 Egypt signed a Standby loan with the IMF worth SDR 234 million and a Structural Adjustment Loan with the World Bank worth US$300 million. The economic reform conditions which accompanied these loans constituted the ERSAP programme which was initially intended to span a five year period. The IMF programme represented a concerted stabilisation effort with four classic pillars 1) establishing external and internal balance, 2) pursuing nominal anchors to achieve disinflation, 3) currency reforms to accelerate exchange stabilisation and 4) structural reforms to remove price distortions.

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