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HomeGeopolitical CompassNile Valley & N.AfricaOwners of the Republic: An Anatomy of Egypt’s Military Economy

Owners of the Republic: An Anatomy of Egypt’s Military Economy

Author: Yezid Sayigh

Affiliation: Carnegie Middle East Center

Organization/Publisher: Carnegie Middle East Center

Date/Place: November 18, 2019, Lebanon

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 360


Keywords: Egypt, Military, Formal Military Economy, Informal Military Economy


Yazid Sayigh, who is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center, provides an anatomy of Egypt’s military economy since the establishment of the republic in 1952. He argues that there is a transformation, both in the scope and scale, of the military economic activities since 2013, which represents a significant increase in the intervention of the military in the Egyptian economy. The report is divided into seven chapters. In the first chapter, it introduces the framework of military economy both from the historical and legal perspectives. Chapters two and three map the formal military economy, while chapters four and five discuss the informal military economy and the domination of the military through its relations with other economic partners. In chapter six, the report explores the transformation of the military’s role in the economy during Sisi’s era. The author states that until 2011, the military intervention in the economy was relatively modest. However, after 2013 it was transformed to the extent that it replaced the government and other civilian agencies leading to the weakening of the government and the marginalization of these agencies. Through introducing a timeline for the military role in economy, the report discusses how it turned from “sharing the pie” to enjoying “the lion’s share” of the economy. Sisi’s strategy justification for the military intervention in the economy is mainly due to serving his political goals including reinforcing political legitimacy of the regime and demonstrating credibility for its business and investment. However, the military economy did not manage to resolve any of its “chronic problems” facing the Egyptian economy that achieved a superior political status that would pave the way for more intervention and expansion in the future. Notwithstanding the deterioration of the social and economic conditions in Egypt, they are not hindering the military because of its negative intervention. Rather, the statement “Egypt is too big to fail” is used as a justification for the intensifying of the military’s role in the economy.

By: Yomna Soliman, CIGA Research Assistant



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