Egypt and the Politics of Change in the Arab Middle East
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Egypt and the Politics of Change in the Arab Middle East

Robert Bowker

Egypt and the Politics of Change in the Arab Middle East is a forward-looking analysis of the relationship between economic and political reform in Egypt, and of the evolving nature of Arab society and political culture both in Egypt and elsewhere.
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Chapter 6: Outlook: Demography, Democracy, Dinosaurs and Diplomacy

Robert Bowker


The future map of the Arab world must be drawn from within the region. Arab Human Development Report 2003 Well within the projected lifetime of children born in 2000 the population of Egypt will rise from around 65 million to over 130 million. The already overcrowded urban areas of Cairo will have to cope with additional pressures of water, electricity, food distribution, sewerage and traffic congestion. Global warming will see the displacement and transfer of millions of Egyptians from the Nile delta towards urban centres further south. But the capacity of Egypt to cope with those challenges is also rising. Egyptians are better educated, nourished and informed. Empowerment within Egyptian society will add to the pool of creativity and energy at the disposal of governments, should leaders choose to take the not inconsiderable risks of harnessing those resources effectively. The respective weightings between the drivers of change in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab Middle East over the coming decade are difficult to establish. But the region is evolving, not only because of the global trends and pressures to which the region is being subjected, but also because at the domestic level there is an inescapable need to respond to the consequences of demographic factors, and advances in health, literacy and education. Values will change over the coming decade, including those associated with innovative business models and the gradual empowerment of women. It remains to be seen whether the Arab Middle East region is capable of engaging more effectively with...

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