There are many reasons to be optimistic about Egypt in the year 2022. The national projects,
which are driven by the sincere desire of President El-Sisi to improve living conditions for all
citizens, have already started to pay off. However, to guarantee the durability and sustainability
of the successful state-sponsored national projects and their outcomes, the time has come for
the Egyptian state to prioritize restructuring and modernizing the local governance system.
Otherwise, the current Egyptian renaissance is doomed to relapse on the feet of the deep-
rooted administrative corruption at local municipality councils, sooner or later.
Despite the heavy weight of the COVID-19 pandemic on national economies, worldwide, Egypt
is one of a handful number of countries that ended the year 2021 with a budget surplus,
estimated by 1.5%. According to the Egyptian Central Bank data, Egypt’s foreign cash reserves
exceeded US$40 billion and the Egyptian Pound maintained a stable position against the dollar
In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund expected that Egypt, in 2022, will be the
second largest economy in Africa, after Nigeria, and the second largest economy in all Arab
countries, after Saudi Arabia, with a record Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that exceeds US$ 438
Over the years from 2017 to 2021, Egypt has grown as a hub for exporting energy to its
neighbors across the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Red Sea; in particular Liquified Natural Gas
(LNG) and electricity. Five years ago, Egypt has successfully transformed from a country
suffering from electricity shortage and frequent power outage, to a country that produces
electricity with a surplus of 25 megawatts over domestic consumption needs. In addition, the
new solar energy projects in Upper Egypt promises to increase this production volume and
turns Egypt into a hub for exporting energy to eastern and central Africa, in the next few years.
Meanwhile, the eastern Mediterranean countries with high volumes of LNG consumption, such
as Turkey, are growing dependent on Egypt for gas supply. According to data published by S&P
Global Platts Analytics, in the period between October and December, Egypt shipped to Turkey
seven cargos of LNG, extracted from Egyptian plants, in the Mediterranean. At the same time,
giant investors in the energy sector, such as Qatar, have started to make direct investments in
the Egyptian oil exploration stations of the Red Sea.
There are three factors that contributed to this hard-to-ignore success of the Egyptian state on
socio-economic development. They are: (1) the tremendous role of the Armed Forces, as an
independent institution, in supporting state economy and national projects, especially during
the peak years of the pandemic, (2) the important role of the Ministry of Interior in restoring
security in the internal governorates via dissolving local terrorist organizations and blocking
lone-wolf terrorist attacks, especially those targeting Coptic Christians citizens, and (3) state
efforts to keep healthy and balanced relations with all neighbors in the Middle East, the
Mediterranean, and Africa.
However, there is only one factor that threatens the collapse of these successes, in the future,
if not appropriately addressed by the Egyptian state, today. That is the deep-rooted corruption
on the level of local municipality councils. Continuing with the current model of governance,
where the central government does all the work with the help of the military institution,
threatens that the current social and economic renaissance may relapse on the feet of
municipal corruption, as soon as the current state leadership changes.
Egypt has not held municipal elections, since the heavily manipulated elections of 2008; i.e.,
since the Arab Spring revolution of 2011 that ousted the Mubarak regime. Despite the great
efforts exerted by the President and the government, on the national level, to improve living
conditions, many citizens are still unable to enjoy the outcomes of state-sponsored projects
because of the performance of their corrupt officials at municipal councils.
Therefore, in the year 2022, I would sincerely advise the Egyptian state and President El-Sisi to
prioritize the process of re-designing the local governance system to match the state efforts to
modernize Egypt upgrade the living conditions for all Egyptians. That is a crucial step towards
eliminating the cancerous corruption that has been decaying the municipal councils for years.