Privatization scandal

I've always been fascinated by Cairo's mouldy old department stores, like Omar Effendi's and Sidnaoui's. These were once gleaming, fashionable shopping meccas; after nationalization and decades of state management, they're the kind of places you walk by and wonder: "Who buys anything there?"
Not that surprisingly, Minister for Trade and Investment Mahmoud Mohieddin has put Omar Effendi on his list of state enterprises to be privatized. But he's already run into trouble. Al Masri Al Youm reports today that Mohieddin has been sued by an employee of the company for allegedly trying to push the sale through and evaluating the shopping chain at half its value.

Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.