Tag Archives: egypt

Tourism – 11% of Egypt’s GDP – is on the rise

“No political force, political party, president or government working in a democratic, responsible framework, and therefore accountable to public opinion … could follow policies that harm tourism in Egypt,” he said.

“Four million people work in tourism, while more than 14 million are impacted by it indirectly,” he added, saying Egypt had the potential to achieve, by 2017, tourism revenues of $25 billion, double the figure it earned in 2010, pre-uprising.

Tourism constitutes 11 percent of gross domestic product.

Egypt expects to receive more than 12 million tourists by the end of 2012, a 23 percent rise over the previous year.

Many in the tourism sector fear recovery would be slow if President Mohamed Mursi imposes Islamic strictures on the sector such as banning the skimpy swim wear and alcohol that are a normal part of a beach holiday for many foreign tourists.

The Brotherhood has not indicated it would do either.

 

Source: Yahoo! News - Egypt expects 23 pct more tourists in 2012: minister

 

 

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Forget the BRICs it’s the CIVETS now – the new developing world

The past decade was all about the BRICs, the massive economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which kicked off at the beginning of the new century, boomed and are now slowing like the rest of the developed world. Taking their place is a new group of fast-rising economies promising businesses outsized returns.

The next decade could belong to the CIVETS – Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – whose rising middle class, young populations and rapid growth rates make the BRICs look dull in comparison.

Hardly emerging economies anymore – China is the world’s second largest economy and Brazil will take seventh place this year – that their pace would slow down was inevitable.

Now more connected by trade to the developed economies, the BRICs are feeling the same slowdown effects as the developed economies.  And, in the case of China and Brazil, they are also wrestling with the strains of their rapid ascensions. Real estate bubbles, currency control issues and hyper-wage inflation are sending global companies elsewhere for growth.

Brazil is forecast to grow a mere 3% this year. China, while still targeting a strong GDP growth rate of 7-8% in 2012, is well off its double-digit rates of the past decade. Russia, meanwhile, which can’t kick its dependency on oil exports and endured the retrograde re-election of Vladimir Putin, may grind out 3.2% growth this year. India is also slowing, with a GDP target of 6.9% growth in 2012, a sharp decline from its 2010 pace of 9.6%.

The CIVETS, meanwhile, are at the lift-off point…

 

Keep readingThe decade of the CIVETS

 

 

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Egypt’s president to choose woman, Christian VPs

Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, will appoint a woman as one of his vice presidents and a Christian as another, his policy adviser told CNN.

“For the first time in Egyptian history — not just modern but in all Egyptian history — a woman will take that position,” Ahmed Deif told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday. “And it’s not just a vice president who will represent a certain agenda and sect, but a vice president who is powerful and empowered and will be taking care of critical advising within the presidential Cabinet.”

“The role of women in Egyptian society is clear,” Morsi told CNN weeks before the runoff election. “Women’s rights are equal to men. Women have complete rights, just like men. There shouldn’t be any kind of distinction between Egyptians except that … based on the constitution and the law.”

 

More on this storyEgypt’s new president to pick woman, Christian VPs

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Analysis of Egypt’s election – Mohammed Morsi won, but is not in charge

They sent customary congratulations from round the world – the Iranians and the Emiratis, the US, the British and Hamas.

Even Israel said it “respected the outcome”. William Hague, the foreign secretary, was almost effusive.

“I congratulate the Egyptian people for their commitment to the democratic process,” he said.

The US called on the government to be a “pillar of regional peace”.

It was as if the Muslim Brotherhood were just any other party, Mohammed Morsi just another politician, and Egypt any other democratic country.
It is not, of course. For one thing, nobody really knows now who is in power. Mr Morsi, just about everyone agrees, is not. He is answerable to two men: Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and defence minister; and Mohammed Badie, the Murshid or Guide of the Brotherhood, to whom he also owes obedience.

It is easy to see why the liberal activists who started last year’s revolution against Hosni Mubarak feel betrayed….

 

Keep readingEgypt analysis: Mohammed Morsi may have won, but he is not in charge

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40 of the most powerful photographs ever taken

BuzzFeed has pulled together 40 of the most powerful photos ever taken. Here are four of them:

Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis is arrested for participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011. (source: johnnymilano.com)

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Around the world social network usage is rising, especially in Egypt and Russia

From the Pew Global Attitudes Project:

In 15 of 21 countries, at least 25% of those polled use social networking sites.

Israel (53%) and the U.S. (50%) top the list.

About four-in-ten of all adults in Britain (43%), Russia (43%), Spain (42%), Lithuania (39%) and Poland (39%). Among this group, Russia is the only country where nearly all internet users are on social networking sites. Only 6% of Russian internet users say they do not go on these sites.

Germany, France, and Japan are the only countries polled where more internet users say they do not go on social networking sites than say they do. While 35% of Germans use social networking sites, 44% go online but do not use such sites; the comparable numbers are 35% and 38% in France and 25% and 33% in Japan.

About three-in-ten are on social networking sites in Ukraine (30%), Turkey (29%), Jordan (29%), and Egypt (28%).

Social networking is generally more common in higher income nations; however, this is largely driven by the fact that wealthier countries have higher rates of internet access. People in lower income nations who have online access use social networking at rates that are as high, or higher, than those found in affluent countries.

In most of the countries surveyed, there has been only marginal change in social networking use since 2010. Two notable exceptions are Egypt and Russia – countries where the role of social media in recent political upheaval has been the subject of considerable attention. In both nations, usage has increased by ten percentage points over the past year, from 18% in 2010 to 28% in 2011 in Egypt and from 33% to 43% in Russia.

 


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10 years after 9/11, have we changed?

It’s been 10 years since 9/11.

Amid the celebrations and acts of unity, I want to reflect on how the world has changed. More specifically how we have changed, and will that prevent another attack from happening.

What really caused 9/11?

There are so many explanations, if I miss one please tell me, but here are the ones I look to: oil, the Middle East, our military but more specifically our geo-political strategy, and our security around the world.

Oil

U.S. oil consumption has remained steady since 2000 when it was 19.7 million barrels of oil/day. In recent years a slight dip has occurred maybe due to the recession or due to structural changes (improved car MPG), and is now at 19.2.

Which is very good news. Not only have we handled our economic and population growth without increasing our demand, we have even reduced it. Economist call this “demand destruction”, one of my favorite terms.

It is quite possible that we have turned the corner on fossil fuels (or reached “peak oil”). If so, one of the main sources of terrorist funding, recruiting, and anger may be fading away.

 

The Middle East

Then we can look to the Middle East, where all 19 hijackers were from. The vast majority of them (15) were from Saudi Arabia, which backs up the oil topic. The remaining ones were from Lebanon, Egypt, and two from the UAE.

It’s great that we took down the Taliban in Afghanistan, even though it is not in the Middle East (South-Central Asia). They were bad and needed to go. Their replacement is not perfect but a whole lot better, with room to grow, unlike the Taliban.

The Arab Spring changes everything, though.

Before the uprisings, there were no democracies in the Middle East (only 26 in the rest of the world). Many of the new governments are on track to change that, but remember that even in our own past, the road is rocky and violent.

The good news is that three evil, violent, and obnoxious dictators are out of Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Eight other countries had major uprisings and six more had minor ones, with multiple reforms across the board.

All in all, it looks to be a general improvement.

Military Presence

The cult of Al-Qaeda was formed due to one very important factor, one that Osama exploited to no end. We have our military in several countries.

From our point-of-view this is a rational geo-political strategy to protect our interests. In the early days, we also protected the people from dictators and warlords.

Then at some point we started supporting more corrupted leaders than reformers. When one is bad, several is more than enough to cause hatred.

Which explains the opposing point-of-view. We often crossed that fine line between bully and protector, and usually for our own oil interests.

Yet, the situation hasn’t changed, in fact, it’s gotten worse. We now have our military in more places than ever, with many long term contracts in place to keep it there.

This is a problem and will not go away and was recently highlighted by crazy guy #1 in Iraq, Moqtada Al-Sadr’s statement, (paraphrasing): “don’t kill the Americans, they are leaving.”

Security

It’s hard to travel when everyone hates you. I went to Europe in 2004 and so many of those wealthy, pacificist, socialists hated us. They had signs up about our “invasion” of Iraq.

Now imagine how people in Muslim countries feel. It’s gotten to the point that if we are not giving money to a country, they hate us (and some still hate us when we do). We have to build monumental fortresses just to have embassies. Our checkpoints are becoming comedy acts of creative bomb making.

US Embassy, El Salvador

Where else can we possibly stick a bomb when traveling?

The only good news is that, for some reason, foreigners like Obama.

I don’t really get it. Maybe it’s that he’s not white. Maybe it’s because he was against the Iraq war and talks about removing troops. Or, maybe it’s just because Bush labelled so many as enemies that it became us-or-them.

Who knows.

The good news is that foreigners still like him after he announced the troop increase in Afghanistan. If he gets re-elected then he can do more international rock-star tours and keep building up that goodwill.

Then maybe I can travel abroad and not get the evil eye from everyone.

But then again, if a Tea Party-er gets elected we might start calling everyone extremists and enemies. It would be great if they added ‘isolationism’ to their pseudo-retro movement.

Conclusion

I think everything begins and ends with oil. If we are truly past peak oil then things are getting better. We can stop (or decrease) the use of our heavy hand in the Middle East to maintain our oil supply.

Our military can draw down and our goodwill will go up. Which will take years of course, but it will mean our state of affairs is getting better.

We just have to keep making those hard decisions to get us off oil, though, with shaded solar parking lots, maybe it’s not so hard after all.