Last update: 22:49 pm Friday ,22 Feb 2019 - Updated daily except Saturday and Sunday
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Turning to Asia

Others | 22 February 2019
We have previously spoken, in this column, of the fissures that are cleaving Europe and the Western camp in general. It would take too long to explain them all, especially given that they are multiplying and deepening and, moreover, spreading from the realm of international relations to the realm of domestic politics. One only has to look at the effects of Brexit inside Britain and the impact of Trump s insistence on a wall at the border of Mexico on politics in Congress and in the US where the splintering is mounting between the states and the political parties and the media... More

The Arab world and irregular migration

Others | 21 February 2019
The leaders of the Arab League and the European Union (EU) will hold their first summit on 24 and 25 February in Sharm El-Sheikh to bring their positions together on a wide range of regional and international issues, ranging from the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the Middle East Peace Process, terrorism, and irregular immigration in the Mediterranean to investment in the Arab world, multilateralism and climate change. European leaders, however, arrive at the summit with a top priority in mind, which is curbing irregular immigration across the Mediterranean Sea... More

SOTU 2019

Others | 20 February 2019
US President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address last Tuesday, 5 February, almost a week after it was originally scheduled. The postponement was due to the shutdown of the federal government, unprecedented in its duration. Never before has the federal government remained paralysed for 35 days. What a difference a year makes in American politics. SOTU 2019 was delivered in front of a House of Representatives under a Democratic majority thanks to the results of the midterm elections in November that resulted in a divided government in Washington... More

Egyptian women lead society

Others | 19 February 2019
The educated young man said: “We know that you support the issues of women and young people throughout your life, and we have some questions about your position.” I said: “Bring it on.” He said: “Do you agree to give women exceptional rights to set a quota in the parliament and local councils?” I said: “I agree with what the world has called positive discrimination and that women take their natural place after centuries of negative discrimination against them. In a fair race, women cannot start at a later point than men because of a culture that has spread through generations, and we think that they will compete fairly. Positive discrimination is a duty but for a certain period of time.” .. More

The untold story of public debt

Others | 18 February 2019
The increasing public debt in Egypt has been a serious issue that is usually misrepresented and poorly explained in the Egyptian media. No one likes to bear the burden of being indebted. It is annoying and can constrain capabilities and aspirations. It gives you fewer options to manoeuvre. But that is only one side of the story. There are other hidden sides. The ability to repay interest on loans is one. Overall financial strength is another. The percentage of the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) is a third... More

Fake news on CIBF

Others | 15 February 2019
Last week, an Israeli news site reported that the US Embassy in Cairo boycotted the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF) after learning that anti-Semitic works, such as Hitler s Mein Kampf, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford s International Jew, were on display at the fair. In its article, the Jewish News Syndicate wrote that the embassy closed its booth at the fair on Wednesday last week after several written and verbal protests it allegedly sent to Egyptian government met with inaction, despite the fact that articles deemed critical of the Egyptian government have been withdrawn from the event in past rounds... More

Hanoi summit

Others | 14 February 2019
Vietnam, to our generation, was about the Vietnamese struggle against the Americans, the epic of a small Third World country fighting the world s superpower. It was a globally inspiring scene. Although America s Vietnam War began in the mid-1960s, the apex of its ferocity, of the heroic resistance of the Vietnamese people and of the atrocious massacres perpetrated by the Americans, came at a time when we, in the Arab world, were suffering the repercussions of the defeat in June 1967... More

The AUC, a century on

Others | 13 February 2019
Starting this February, the American University in Cairo (AUC) will launch a number of activities intended to celebrate the centenary of its founding in 1919. These will not be confined to Cairo alone, but will extend to other cities in Egypt and will even go beyond the borders of Egypt to cities inside and outside the Arab world. They will also take place in cities where large numbers of AUC alumni reside. The AUC s legacy has been very diverse. Its core lies in the institution s long and rich history of academic undergraduate and graduate study, as well as in different areas of scientific research that have been acquiring growing importance not only in Egypt but also worldwide. In addition to its principal academic role, the AUC has also played a no less important cultural one throughout the century of its existence. .. More

Let’s cry for you, Venezuela

Others | 12 February 2019
Venezuela is briskly heading towards the kind of abyss we have come to recognise as the default in many political power games. As Venezuela s crisis unfolds, the superpowers have been adopting the same practices they have deployed in other victim countries: flagrant meddling in a country s internal affairs not for the good of the country per se, but for hegemony over it and its resources. .. More

More trends to come?

Others | 11 February 2019
Trends on social media are changing the world. Part of that change is much-needed and long-awaited, but another part is virtual. It might be driven by real needs, but it might also be imposed by those seeking some kind of advantage or devised for reasons unrelated to the public good. The public in Egypt over the past eight years has been subjected to and sometimes deceived by such trends. However, people have also acquired the skill of being vigilant when a trend or tweet is going viral. .. More

The president called for it!

Others | 8 February 2019
On February 10, Cairo will begin its presidency of the African Union (AU) during 2019, and this will be the beginning of a phase for different work on the level of the African continent’s countries. We will notice that Africa has been witnessing a strong Chinese presence for a while, leading to an American trot behind it trying to parallel with the Chinese presence and precede it! It is not a secret that China is the first big country in the world to be able to see in this continent what other great countries could not. It did so early and with great skill. When the United States was alerted, it came late, but acted with the logic of “better late than never”... More

Why FGM and population growth go hand in hand

Others | 7 February 2019
Twenty-five years ago, participants of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) sat in a convention hall here in Cairo and watched a video depicting 10-year-old Nagla undergoing female genital mutilation. The graphic footage sent shockwaves that are still reverberating today, pushing forward the fight against female genital mutilation in Egypt as UNFPA marks the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking conference. The public outcry that followed the video prompted then Egyptian Minister of Health to decree that the procedure should be performed only in certain state hospitals. Shortly after, in 2007, another decree was issued to close the loophole, banning the practice altogether in governmental and non-governmental hospitals and clinics... More

Ending poverty is possible, but it means facing up to inequality – within and between countries

Others | 6 February 2019
World leaders have committed to ending poverty everywhere for all people by 2030. Achieving this aim means facing up to the need for dramatic declines in inequalities – in income, in opportunity, in exposure to risk, across gender, between countries and within countries – over the next decade Inequality is a well-recognized barrier to poverty eradication, as well as many other development challenges. It features in multiple dimensions across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the universally adopted plan to promote prosperity and social well-being while protecting the environment... More

Worrisome risks lurk beneath solid global growth

Others | 5 February 2019
On the surface, the world economy remains on a steady trajectory moving into 2019. Headline figures suggest that – while global growth has likely peaked – activity around the world will continue to expand at a solid pace. Several developed economies are operating close to their full potential with unemployment rates at historical lows. Yet, headlines do not tell the whole story. Beneath the surface, a much more worrisome picture of the world economy emerges. The newly-released World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 illustrates how a combination of rising economic, social and environmental challenges hampers progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals... More

The reality of European power

Others | 4 February 2019
One theme keeps recurring in different meetings in Brussels, the seat of the European Union. This is that Europe wants to be a “pole” in its own right – that is, a global power alongside the US, and almost certainly in the coming few years, China. With 500 million of the richest consumers on earth and a cohesive regulatory body, Europe is already an economic giant. But Europe also wants to be a political pole. Two factors work in its favour, but four pose serious challenges... More

Entangled Issues!!

Others | 1 February 2019
Everyone has a story of his own, but our stories are infinitely related to others. That s why we have one version of it, which is necessarily different than their version, and that s where the trouble begins!! How we see ourselves and how others see us is an entirely entangled issue. The factors that play into shaping our own awareness about who we are, are so much related to the way we are brought up and the factors that shaped that bringing up; parents, religion, attitudes, atmosphere, relatives, neighbors, schools and mass media, among other things, play the main part of who we are, yet we may not know exactly how we have turned out to be the way we are today... More

Courage in leadership

Others | 31 January 2019
President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi s statements during his joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday reflected his confidence in the Egyptian people and clear understanding of their priorities amid very difficult domestic and regional circumstances. Since he took office nearly five years ago, Al-Sisi has been commanding a country at war on several fronts, overcoming one challenge after the other and steering the country towards stability and economic development... More

A difficult year for Iran

Others | 30 January 2019
Tensions between Iran and the United States are again on the rise on the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Just three-and-a-half years ago, jubilant Iranians filled the streets of Tehran to celebrate the signing of the nuclear deal with the West in the hope that this would lead to a normalisation of Iran s relations with the US... More

How effective is Egypt’s public policy?

Others | 29 January 2019
The true economic challenge confronting Egypt today does not concern either our fiscal or our monetary policy – both are well addressed by our economists and are advanced further by international experts. Egypt s fundamental economic challenge, which our government is not addressing efficiently, is the Egyptian workforce s low productivity. As a society, Egyptians need to adopt a work ethic that truly values hard work, diligence and productivity... More

Education a priority

Others | 28 January 2019
Egypt is currently undertaking a major reform of its education system. By declaring the year 2019 to be the Year of Education, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has clearly underlined the importance of such an initiative as one of Egypt s top priorities for building a stable and productive society. In that regard, wisdom prevailed among the drafters of the Egyptian Constitution when they emphasised the importance of education by incorporating seven articles, 19 to 25, mainly dealing with the state s obligation to support the right of every citizen to education, notably by providing free education, encouraging technical education and scientific research, and eliminating illiteracy... More

The year of decision

Others | 25 January 2019
One year ago, the Korean Peninsula had a rendezvous with history. After almost 12 months of threats of an impending doomsday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un surprised the world with a conciliatory message to South Korea on the occasion of the new year, 2018. One month and a half later, the sister of the supreme leader of North Korea travelled to South Korea as head of the North Korean national team taking part in the Winter Olympics... More