Challenges to Stability in Egypt

Source: Hoover Institute

Author(s): Lisa Blaydes

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The last ten years have seen forms of political disruption within Egypt that were virtually unimaginable a decade ago—from the 2011 protest uprisings; the 2012 election of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi to the Egyptian presidency; the 2013 coup d’état which unseated Morsi; and the 2014 formal assumption of power by current Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt has witnessed a period of staggering political change. Few analysts would disagree with the statement that demographic circumstances and technological developments played a crucial role in sparking and sustaining the popular movement that set this chain of events into motion.

Yet for all of the political change that has taken place, the last ten years have also witnessed important forms of continuity. From an institutional perspective, Egypt remains an autocracy with a political regime undergirded by a powerful, economically-influential military. And from a demographic perspective, many of the same challenges that Egypt faced a decade ago—like a large youth population struggling with relatively high rates of unemployment—continue to be relevant concerns today. Given these forms of change and stasis, where is Egypt heading? While it is impossible to know with any degree of certainty, I will identify some relevant developments that are likely to impact Egypt in the future. In this paper, I discuss trends in autocratic stabilization, the demographic outlook, the challenge of training and finding employment for the country’s large youth population, population-level health challenges—like obesity-related diseases and Hepatitis C prevalence—as well as how climate change and insecurity of water resources are complicating all of these concerns.

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