Corruption in Egypt

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Corruption defines Egypt's economy in more ways than one. While popular businesses receive privileged treatment, the average business must embrace a culture of lying, extortion, embezzlement, and bribery. This favoritism forces businesses to have strong networks in order to survive. Although laws exist to criminalize these actions, they are rarely enforced properly.

Corruption in the Economy[edit]

Businesses with more informal connections within the government receive preferential treatment navigating through Egypt's complex regulatory framework, providing a disincentive for competition. An inefficient and sporadically enforced legal system and a widespread culture of corruption leave businesses reliant on the use of middlemen known as wasta, to operate, and well-connected businesses enjoy privileged treatment.[1] Facilitation payments are an established part of 'getting things done', despite irregular payments and gifts being criminalized. Facilitation payments are regarded as bribery in many countries, which prevents many foreign entities from financial involvement with Egypt since they are a required part of doing business. Corruption makes the costs of both local goods as well as imports higher, decreasing the purchasing power of individuals which magnifies poverty.

Attempts at Reform[edit]

A world map of the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International

Historically, it's been that the gap between legislation and enforcement has hampered any of the government's efforts in fighting corruption.


Prior to the 2011 revolution, critics agreed that corruption in Egypt was widespread and that anti-corruption measures were perceived to be mere cosmetic changes serving Mubarak's political agenda.


The uprisings spurred a whirlwind of official corruption cases as well as the trials of several ministers and businessmen with ties to the former regime.The government under the Morsi administration claimed to focus its efforts on the fight against corruption and included several anti-corruption initiatives into the new 2012 constitution. The Constitution stipulated, among other provisions, the public's right to information, data, documents and statistics. It also imposed annual financial disclosure on Parliament members. Furthermore, the government created an anti-corruption commission designed to deal with standards of integrity and transparency in government and address conflict of interest.[2]


In terms of enforcement, more happened under al-Sisi's administration with one highly publicized case of a judge who was accused of corruption and arrested the moment he resigned from his position. The judge committed suicide very soon thereafter.[3]


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