Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

Does food security matter for transition in Arab countries?

August 13, 2012 Comments off

Does food security matter for transition in Arab countries?
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

Expectations are high that transition in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen will bring about more freedom, justice, and economic opportunities. However, experiences from other world regions show that countries in transition are at high risk of entering conflicts, which often come at large economic, social and political costs. In order to identify options on how conflict may be prevented in Arab transition countries, this paper assesses the key global drivers of conflicts based on a dataset from 1960 to 2010 and improved cross-country regression techniques. Results show that unlike in other studies where per capita incomes, inequality, and poor governance, among other factors, emerge as the major determinants of conflict, food security at macro- and micro-levels emerges as the main cause of conflicts in the Arab world. This “Arab exceptionalism in conflict” suggests that improving food security is not only important for improving the lives of rural and urban people; it is also likely to be the key for a peaceful transition.

Country Analysis Brief: Egypt

July 31, 2012 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Egypt

Source: Energy Information Administration

Egypt is the largest oil producer in Africa that is not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the second largest natural gas producer on the continent, following Algeria. Egypt also plays a vital role in international energy markets through the operation of the Suez Canal andSuez-Mediterranean (SUMED) Pipeline, important transit points for oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from African and Persian Gulf states to Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. Fees collected from operation of these two transit points are significant sources of revenue for the Egyptian government.

State Department — Egypt — Country Specific Information

July 12, 2012 Comments off

Egypt — Country Specific Information
Source: U.S. Department of State

On the night of October 9, 2011 demonstrations in downtown Cairo, in the vicinity of Tahrir Square, turned violent and resulted in numerous deaths and hundreds of injuries. A series of elections for the lower and upper houses of parliament isare scheduled to take place from November 2011 through March 2012. Politically-motivated rallies and demonstrations are likely to occur in the period leading to and likely following the elections. In the past nine months, demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, in some instances resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and lead to clashes with security forces or even rival groups.

There have been instances of instability and public disorder in some other areas of Egypt, most notably in the Nile Valley governorates of Assiut and Sohag, located between Cairo and Luxor. These governorates, along with the adjacent governorates of Minya and Qena, have been areas of extremist activity in the past. U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to these areas (apart from Luxor and adjacent tourist destinations) require advance approval. Egyptian authorities also restrict the travel of foreigners to these governorates. U.S. citizens planning to travel in these areas should contact the Embassy prior to travel.

The Rise of Diabetes Prevalence in the Arab Region

May 31, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Open Journal of Epidemiology
Arab populations have many similarities and dissimilarities. They share culture, language and religion but they are also subject to economic, political and social differences. The purpose of this study is to understand the causes of the rising trend of diabetes prevalence in order to suggest efficient actions susceptible to reduce the burden of diabetes in the Arab world.
We use principal component analysis to illustrate similarities and differences between Arab countries according to four variables: 1) the prevalence of diabetes, 2) impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 3) diabetes related deaths and 4) diabetes related expenditure per person. A linear regression is also used to study the correlation between human development index and diabetes prevalence.
Arab countries are mainly classified into three groups according to the diabetes comparative prevalence (high, medium and low) but other differences are seen in terms of diabetes-related mortality and diabetes related expenditure per person. We also investigate the correlation between the human development index (HDI) and diabetes comparative prevalence (R = 0.81).
The alarming rising trend of diabetes prevalence in the Arab region constitutes a real challenge for heath decision makers. In order to alleviate the burden of diabetes, preventive strategies are needed, based essentially on sensitization for a more healthy diet with regular exercise but health authorities are also asked to provide populations with heath- care and early diagnosis to avoid the high burden caused by complications of diabetes.

Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries

May 28, 2012 Comments off

Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

According to the 2012 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) is associated with the initiation and continuation of smoking among young persons. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to prohibit all forms of TAPS (2); the United States signed the agreement in 2004, but the action has not yet been ratified. Many countries have adopted partial bans covering direct advertising in traditional media channels; however, few countries have adopted comprehensive bans on all types of direct and indirect marketing. To assess progress toward elimination of TAPS and the level of awareness of TAPS among persons aged ≥15 years, CDC used data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) collected in 14 countries during 2008–2010. Awareness of any TAPS ranged from 12.4% in Turkey to 70.4% in the Philippines. In the four countries where awareness of TAPs was ≤15%, three of the countries had comprehensive bans covering all nine channels assessed by GATS, and the fourth country banned seven of the nine channels. In 12 countries, more persons were aware of advertising in stores than advertising via any other channel. Reducing exposure to TAPS is important to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youths and young adults and to help smokers quit.

Unveiling the Revolutionaries: Cyberactivism and Women’s Role in the Arab Uprisings

May 24, 2012 Comments off
Source: James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy (Rice University)

This research introduces several of the key figures leading the revolutionary convulsions in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Yemen, and explores how young women used social media and cyberactivism to help shape the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath. The engagement of women with social media has coincided with a shift in the political landscape of the Middle East, and it is unlikely that they will ever retreat from the new arenas they have carved out for themselves. Throughout the region, women have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers, translating digital advocacy and organization into physical mobilization and occupation of public spaces in a dialectic of online and offline activism that is particular to this era. They have used citizen journalism and social networking to counter the state-dominated media in their countries and influence mainstream media around the world. In the process, they are reconfiguring the public sphere in their countries, as well as the expectations of the public about the role women can and should play in the political lives of their countries.

Egypt’s Enduring Challenges: Shaping the Post-Mubarak Environment

April 16, 2012 Comments off
Source: Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Although the Papyrus Revolution was a remarkable accomplishment for the Egyptian people, the ongoing transition has spurred trepidation as well as hope in the United States. Past transfers of power in Cairo have led to dramatic policy shifts, giving Washington little reason to believe that the latest leadership change will be different. And while the Mubarak regime may be gone, much of the security apparatus, bureaucracy, and economic dysfunction that sparked the revolution remain in place. As a new, presumably liberal-led government takes shape, these and other challenges will place tremendous pressure on both Cairo and the U.S.-Egyptian relationship.
In this new Policy Focus, Washington Institute senior fellow and former Pentagon official David Schenker describes the concrete steps Washington can take to shore up Egypt’s next leaders, preserve the revolution’s democratic direction, and prevent the sort of stagnation that could foster Islamist ascendance. This effort entails investing heavily and quickly in the new government’s success by maintaining current aid levels while increasing engagement between U.S. and Egyptian NGOs on electoral, governance, and civil-society issues. Washington should also encourage Egypt to reinvigorate its waning regional role through stabilization efforts in Sudan, Libya, and Gaza. By improving Cairo’s standing at home and abroad, the United States can help ensure that Egypt’s democratic experiment succeeds.

Full Paper (PDF)

Special Issue: Social Media and Political Change: Capacity, Constraint, and Consequence

April 11, 2012 Comments off

Special Issue: Social Media and Political Change: Capacity, Constraint, and Consequence (free full text of all articles)

Journal of Communication
This introductory essay highlights the key findings, methodological tool kit, and production process of this Special Issue. We argue that communication researchers are uniquely positioned to analyze the relationships between social media and political change in careful and nuanced ways, in terms of both causes and consequences. Finally, we offer a working definition of social media, based on the diverse and considered uses of the term by the contributors to the collection. Social media consists of (a) the information infrastructure and tools used to produce and distribute content that has individual value but reflects shared values; (b) the content that takes the digital form of personal messages, news, ideas, that becomes cultural products; and (c) the people, organizations, and industries that produce and consume both the tools and the content.

Economics of the Arab awakening

February 22, 2012 Comments off
Source:  International Food Policy Research Institute
Few observers would have predicted the dramatic changes over the past few months in the Arab world. Arab governments appeared to be in tight control, and many Arab economies were growing around or above the world average over the past few years. Annual growth rates in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Sudan averaged more than 6 percent between 2005 and 2010; and Syria, Tunisia, and Libya grew at about 5 percent on average during the same period of time. Official poverty rates in most Arab countries are lower than in many Asian and Latin American countries.
However, experts have long identified slow progress in economic diversification and job creation, social inequalities, and persistent food insecurity as major development challenges for Arab countries. Did these factors and, more broadly, people’s dissatisfaction with their living standards contribute to the recent uprisings? At first glance, the sudden turn of events and the generally low coverage, quality, and accessibility of data in the Arab world make it difficult to find answers to this question. By looking beyond more conventional data, however, this policy brief provides some insights into the potential role of economics in the ongoing uprisings. It also reviews major policy responses of Arab governments and provides a new narrative of Arab development that is based on inclusive economic transformation, food security, and decisionmaking.
Full Paper (PDF)

IPI Egypt Poll: Concern Rising About Revolution, Economy, Security

October 2, 2011 Comments off

IPI Egypt Poll: Concern Rising About Revolution, Economy, Security
Source: International Peace Institute

Egyptians remain cautiously optimistic about their future, but their concern about the economy and stability is up sharply, a new poll has found.

The Egypt poll was made public September 19th at the International Peace Institute by President Terje Rød-Larsen at its annual Foreign Ministers’ Dinner on the Middle East.

According to the poll, the proportion of Egyptians who feel their country is headed in the right direction has dropped to 50%, while 42% say the country is going the wrong way. In March, soon after the revolution, 82% were positive on the country’s direction, an IPI poll found.

These views reflect growing worry about the economy, almost two-thirds citing it as the country’s main problem, double the share that did in March. Next come concerns over protests and instability, cited by 15%, and rising crime, mentioned by 11%.

Egyptians now say they are worse off economically and feel less secure than under former president Hosni Mubarak. In these circumstances, the majority say the country’s ongoing protests are unnecessary disruptions.

+ Full poll results (PDF)

Media Disruption Exacerbates Revolutionary Unrest: Evidence from Mubarak’s Natural Experiment

September 9, 2011 Comments off

Media Disruption Exacerbates Revolutionary Unrest: Evidence from Mubarak’s Natural Experiment
Source: Social Science Research Network (American Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting)

Conventional wisdom suggests that lapses in media connectivity – for example, disruption of Internet and cell phone access – have a negative effect on political mobilization. I argue that on the contrary, sudden interruption of mass communication accelerates revolutionary mobilization and proliferates decentralized contention. Using a dynamic threshold model for participation in network collective action I demonstrate that full connectivity in a social network can hinder revolutionary action. I exploit a decision by Mubarak’s regime to disrupt the Internet and mobile communication during the 2011 Egyptian uprising to provide an empirical proof for the hypothesis. A difference-in difference inference strategy reveals the impact of media disruption on the dispersion of the protests. The evidence is corroborated using historical, anecdotal, and statistical accounts.

CRS — Egypt in Transition

September 6, 2011 Comments off

Egypt in Transition (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak resigned from the presidency after 29 years in power. For 18 days, a popular peaceful uprising spread across Egypt and ultimately forced Mubarak to cede power to the military. How Egypt transitions to a more democratic system in the months ahead will have major implications for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and for other countries in the region ruled by monarchs and dictators.

This report provides a brief overview of the transition underway and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. U.S. policy toward Egypt has long been framed as an investment in regional stability, built primarily on long-running military cooperation and sustaining the March 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Successive U.S. Administrations have viewed Egypt’s government as a moderating influence in the Middle East. U.S. policy makers are now grappling with complex questions about the future of U.S.-Egypt relations, and these debates are likely to influence consideration of appropriations and authorization legislation in the 112th Congress. The United States has provided Egypt with an annual average of $2 billion in economic and military foreign assistance since 1979. For FY2012, the Obama Administration has requested $1.551 billion in total aid to Egypt.

On July 27, 2011, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs marked up its FY2012 State-Foreign Operations appropriation, proposing that Egypt receive the full FY2012 request ($1.551 billion), including $1.3 billion in military aid and that military aid should also be used for “border security programs and activities in the Sinai, with the expectation that the Egyptian military will continue to adhere to and implement its international obligations, particularly the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.” Section 7042 of the draft bill also provides up to $250 million in economic assistance to Egypt though it specifies these funds are not available until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is not controlled by a foreign terrorist organization or its affiliates or supporters, is implementing the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, and is taking steps to detect and destroy the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza strip. The bill further states that no U.S. economic assistance in the bill may be used to “reduce, reschedule, or forgive the debt of the Government of Egypt to the United States Government unless authorized for such purposes.”

Socio-Economic Impact of Arms Transfers to Developing Countries

June 7, 2011 Comments off

Socio-Economic Impact of Arms Transfers to Developing Countries
Source: Social Science Research Network (Peace & Conflict Review)

In developing nations, importance placed upon defence spending comes at a social cost. This paper explores the link between developing nations’ arms imports and their impact upon socio-economic factors. The first part of this paper elaborates upon the problem of arms transfers to developing countries. The second part provides case studies of Colombia, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam. The comparative analysis demonstrates that arms imports have a negative impact upon developing nations. GDP per capita spent upon arms imports usually has the strongest impact upon socio-economic factors, though conflict status and regional stability are also influential.

Commission proposes better management of migration to the EU

May 5, 2011 Comments off

Commission proposes better management of migration to the EU
Source: European Commission

Today, the Commission presented initiatives for a more structured, comprehensive, rapid-response approach from the EU to the challenges and opportunities of migration, not least in view of the current developments in the Mediterranean. The initiatives cover various aspects of migration, including strengthened border control and Schengen governance, completion of the Common European Asylum System, more targeted legal migration, exchange of best practices for successful integration of migrants, and a strategic approach for relations with third countries on migration. These initiatives come in addition to the urgent short-term measures already taken by the Commission to deal with the migration situation in the Mediterranean and migration pressures on frontline Member States.

“It is clear that the EU needs a strong common asylum and migration policy. This has only become more evident in recent months, in view of the historic events taking place in North Africa. The EU must live up to its vocation to offer a haven to those in need of protection, and at the same time show solidarity both with the countries in North Africa which are currently sheltering the vast bulk of the migrants from Libya, as well as with those of our Member States faced with the greatest influx of migrants arriving by sea. It is also clear that the EU would benefit from some targeted labour immigration in order to help address expected labour shortages in many sectors, and to redress the projected decline in Europe’s working age population in the coming years. But migration must at the same time be properly managed – this means ensuring effective border control and the return of irregular migrants. This also means that we should not leave it only up to the Member States at our external borders to deal with extraordinary migratory situations. And this means setting up migration and mobility partnerships with non-EU countries so that we can work together. We must keep these long-term goals in mind also when dealing with the more urgent needs resulting from the turbulence in North Africa”, said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner responsible for Home Affairs.

+ Frequently Asked Questions: Addressing the Migratory Crisis
+ The European Commission’s response to the migratory flows from North Africa (8 April 2011)
+ Travelling without borders: Commission proposes stronger monitoring of respect of Schengen rules (16 November 2010)

How We’re Doing Compared to the Rest of the World

February 21, 2011 Comments off

How We’re Doing Compared to the Rest of the World
Source: Brookings Institution

In the past month, President Obama has pressed the autocratic president of our most important Arab ally to heed the demands of his people and step down, established a workman-like relationship with China’s president, and delivered a State of the Union address that sought to “win the future.” Taken together, these critical events highlight the complexity of America’s global leadership dilemma: whether to cooperate or to compete; whether to partner with some autocrats while pressuring others. Over the past three decades, American presidents have found their ability to deal with these dilemmas affected by the shifting balances of relative power in the international system. In the seventh “How We’re Doing” Index, experts at the Brookings Institution explored some of the key data behind our leading partners and competitors.

CRS — Implication’s of Egypt’s Turmoil on Global Oil and Natural Gas Supply

February 18, 2011 Comments off

Implication’s of Egypt’s Turmoil on Global Oil and Natural Gas Supply (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Secrecy News)

The change in Egypt’s government will likely not have a significant direct impact on the global oil and natural gas markets. There may be some short-term movements in price, mostly caused by perceived instability in the market place, but these would most likely be temporary. However, prolonged instability that raises the specter of spreading to other oil and natural gas producers in the region would likely add to upward price pressures. Although Egypt is considered an energy producer or net exporter overall, its oil and natural gas exports are not large enough to affect regional or global prices. The most serious impact would be on regional recipients of its natural gas exports.

Egypt’s main influence on energy markets is its control of the Suez Canal and the Suez- Mediterranean oil pipeline (SUMED). The current low utilization of these two pieces of infrastructure would likely limit any affect of their closure in the near term. Both the oil and natural gas industry would, over time, find alternative routes to circumvent the canal and pipeline if necessary.


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