Power, Character, and Leadership: The Case of Egyptian Revolutions

Power, Character, and Leadership: The Case of Egyptian Revolutions

Amal Nagah Elbeshbishi (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Morocco)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4203-2.ch002

Abstract

On the road ahead for Egypt, the formidable obstacle is a two-headed monster: character and leadership. Now, after two revolutions, it is time to analyze this monster. Egypt must deal with this as success in development is simply not possible without first slaying this monster. As Egypt embarks on its immediate future, targeting its immediate political, economic, and social priorities, it must not overlook the crucial objective of determining the character of the nation, and the responsibility of its leadership. This is a prerequisite that if not met will delay further progress and development.
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Introduction

Character and leadership are a formidable two-headed monster on the road ahead for Egypt. This obstacle must be tackled through a mix of soft and hard powers, employed to pursue varying strategic goals in conquering hearts and minds, to create convincing incentives and exercise influence. Now, after two revolutions, it is time to analyze this monster. Success in development is simply not possible without first dealing with this obstacle.

As Egypt embarks on its future, targeting in on its political, economic and social priorities, it must not overlook the crucial objective of determining the character of the nation, and the responsibility of its leadership. This is a prerequisite that, if not met, will negatively affect development.

This chapter is based on two main methodologies:

  • 1.

    Literature review on the socio-economic situation of Egypt; and

  • 2.

    Empirical analysis to explore the current state of Egypt’s socio-economic environment.

The following hypothesis is explored in this chapter:

Widespread unrest does not arise from the long-standing political failings of the system, but rather from its sudden perceived failure to use its soft and hard power to provide essential security to the population.

This chapter will outline the various institutions and factors needed to establish sustainable levels of economic prosperity, which in turn will usher in an era of development for Egypt. It is critically important to note that these institutions and factors are time-tested, proven elements of development all over the world. A necessity for a country's productivity and ability to spread prosperity to its citizens; they allow a nation to use available resources efficiently.

The focus is then turned to the mix of soft and hard powers we refer to as an all-critical two-headed monster; It deals with how the character of a nation is formed and the indispensable signs and characteristics of viable leadership. Without a character overhaul and the emergence of genuine and passionate leadership, the ability to produce sustainable development in Egypt will be greatly hindered.

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Development: Stages, Factors And Pillars

The World Economic Forum, in its annual global competitiveness report, examines the many factors enabling national economies to achieve sustained economic growth and long-term prosperity. The 2016-2017 global competitiveness report ranks countries on the state of their national economies. Egypt ranks 115 out of 138 economies in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI); measured on a scale from 1 to 7 Egypt scored a 3.67.

The global competitiveness report addresses three stages/factors of development and their respective pillars as shown below:

  • Stage I. Basic Requirements: Institutions; infrastructure; macroeconomic environment; health and primary education.

  • Stage II. Efficiency Enhancers: Higher education and training; goods market efficiency; labor market efficiency; financial market development; technology readiness; market size.

  • Stage III. Innovation and Sophistication Factors: Business sophistication; innovation.

These pillars are interdependent; while their strengths reinforce each other, a weakness in one area often has negative impacts on other areas. For example, innovation is very difficult without a well-educated and trained workforce adept at absorbing new technologies. Sufficient financing for Research and Development (R&D) or an efficient goods market makes it possible to take new innovations to market.

With regard to these three stages of development, Egypt is in stage II. To get to stage III's innovation enhancer pillars, Egypt's focus should be on stage II's efficiency enhancer pillars.

For any nation, solid character and competent, ethical leadership are prerequisites for viability and proper functioning of the twelve pillars, allowing for their expected impact on the economy to materialize. The alternative is a bleak state of paralysis and lack of development. The components of the twelve pillars that are both pertinent and problematic for Egypt are presented below.

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