Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

The Mediterranean Debt Crescent: Money and Power in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

The Mediterranean Debt Crescent: Money and Power in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey

Article excerpt

The Mediterranean Debt Crescent: Money and Power in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, by Clement M. Henry. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996. xviii + 300 pages. Notes to p. 306. Bibl. to p. 321. Index to p. 336. $49.95.

Reviewed by Nemat Shafik

Systematic analysis of the role of banking systems in the Middle East and North Africa has been neglected by scholars of the region. Clement Henry's book is thus an important contribution because it describes the evolution of very different banking systems across five countries. Henry's central hypothesis is that financial oligopolies are likely to pressure patrimonial regimes to move toward greater accountability and political pluralism, especially when there is competition between Islamic financial intermediaries and conventional commercial banks. Henry's hypothesis is sometimes unpersuasive since there are many examples of alternative combinations of financial development and democratization. That, however, is not a problem since the main contribution of this book is not the overarching hypothesis and thematic chapters, but the case studies that analyze the evolution of the financial systems in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey. The country chapters are rich in historical detail, contain useful information on the characteristics and performance of banks, and analyze the links between political power and key players in the private sector. …

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