Egypt Requests $4.8b from IMF
Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi formally requested a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during his meeting with IMF chief Christine Lagarde. Negotiations between the IMF and Egypt has spanned more than a year, and the initial request was expected to be $3.2 billion. Abdallah Shehata, economic advisor to Morsi, told Ahram Online that the government will present Lagarde with a new economic program that has an emphasis on “social justice.” Devaluation of the Egyptian pound is not reportedly part of the economic plan. Two groups planned to protest the loan request because the loans have “international conditions that will impoverish the Egyptian people” and “pose a threat to Egypt’s political and economic independence,” event organizers said on Facebook. The groups included ‘We are all Mina Daniel’, a revolutionary group named after a leftist Coptic activist killed last year in clashes with the military, and the Egyptian Communist Party.
It was also announced that Morsi will appoint a Christian, a woman, and a Salafist to his team. The individuals include Samir Marcus, a prominent Christian thinker; Pakinam al-Sharkawy, professor of political science at Cairo University, and Emad Abdel-Ghafour, a Salafist Party leader. Additionally, a spokesman said President Morsi will visit the United States on September 23, his first trip there since taking power in June.
Shadi Hamid contends that “Muslim Brotherhood critics have a strong case on the group’s worrying censorship,” and he suggests that the Brotherhood’s “aggressive majoritarianism and intolerance of criticism has undermined its own legitimacy and the legitimacy of Egypt’s institutions in the eyes of a significant number of Egyptians.” Zvi Bar’el writes that “A public discourse that allows for criticism is a phenomenon Egypt has not known for decades, especially the ability to criticize the government, the bureaucracy, and even the president and his family,” despite the recent press freedom setbacks in Egypt. Amro Ali suggests that “In the satellite TV and social media era, it’s going to be tougher for would-be leaders to get away with unwarranted legend-building,” referring to the habit of old despots relying on “circulated tales of personalised democracy.”