More economic reform in Egypt

Still warming up to next week's National Democratic Party congress, where economic and political reforms are expected to be announced, now banking reform is underway. This has been expected for a while -- Egypt has been working discreetly with the IMG and World Bank on how to reform the banking sector for over a year now -- but it is still a surprise to see it finally happen. Banking reform may sound dry and boring, but if they are going to do it seriously it will probably mean a strong influx of new foreign direct investment as well as an end to the crony capitalism of the 1990s, where anyone with wasta (connections) could get a loan from state banks with little or no collateral. That was one of the main causes of the economic slump Egypt is just pulling out of, and which could have had serious political repercussions (and still might.)

This comes after a series of other economic reforms announced last week, as previously mentioned.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,