Political Vegetables? Businessman and Bureaucrat in the Development of Egyptian Agriculture

Political Vegetables? Businessman and Bureaucrat in the Development of Egyptian Agriculture

Political Vegetables? Businessman and Bureaucrat in the Development of Egyptian Agriculture

Political Vegetables? Businessman and Bureaucrat in the Development of Egyptian Agriculture

Excerpt

After the October 1973 war, Egypt began to curtail its ties with the Soviet bloc and forge an alliance with the United States. This reorientation made it eligible for massive economic assistance. Between 1974 and 1990 the United States Agency for International Development (AID) allocated $17 billion to promote Egyptian development. Cairo hosted the largest AID mission abroad and Egypt received more American assistance than any country except Israel. The World Bank also expanded its operations in Egypt, investing hundreds of millions of dollars in new factories, power plants, and land reclamation schemes. And, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) began to attend seriously to Egyptian development, advising Egypt's government on macroeconomic policy and helping Cairo to qualify for billions of dollars in commercial loans.

In the 1970s AID, the Bank, and the Fund--which together form the core of the official Washington development community--pursued independent agendas in Egypt. The World Bank and AID originally targeted their assistance on "basic human needs" through projects designed to improve water supply, irrigation and drainage, transportation, and energy supply. The Fund took a more conservative stance, trying to persuade the government in Cairo to reform its economic policies to create an atmosphere more conducive to development. But by the early 1980s the objectives of all three agencies had begun to converge and they increasingly coordinated and cooperated in their efforts to influence the Egyptian government.

This convergence within the Washington development community was, in large part, the result of an intellectual counterrevolution. In the 1970s a group of neoclassical economists, including Lord Bauer, Anne Krueger, Bela Balassa, and Deepak Lal, articulated a devastating . . .

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