Oriental Hall, etc.

The official unemployment rate in Egypt rocketed to 13.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013. The news added to the gloom of Egyptians complaining that the country’s economic fortunes have taken a nasty turn for the worse since the January 25 revolution.

The official unemployment rate in Egypt rocketed to 13.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013. The news added to the gloom of Egyptians complaining that the country’s economic fortunes have taken a nasty turn for the worse since the January 25 revolution. However, there’s a crack of light in the darkness. Ayman Ismail, an assistant professor of management at AUC, says that entrepreneurship in Egypt is actually booming. According to Ismail, who holds the Abdul Latif Jameel Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, there has been a notable sprouting of business incubators in the past three years—including one that he has helped form at the School of Business. Young Egyptians are rushing to establish small startups, he says, partly because of the increasing scarcity of jobs in both government and the traditional private sector. While the trend is welcome, it won’t have an immediate impact. “There are three prerequisites for any economic growth in Egypt,” Ismail explained. “Political stability. Security. Rule of law.”

Experts participating in the Egypt-India Dialogue, a symposium on development sponsored by theIndian Embassy in Cairo, India’s Observer Research Foundation, and AUC’s School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in June, identified something they have in common: local media is playing a strong role, for better or worse, in shaping political discourse. Part of the problem in India, explainsSuhasini Haidar, an anchor for CNN-IBN (Cable News Network-Indian Broadcasting Network), is that a third of the country’s channels are owned by political organizations. “People who are not politically affiliated are finding it harder and harder to live in that television universe,” she says.Moataz Abdel Fattah, a professor of public policy and administration at the AUC, describes a similar media landscape in Egypt, but with a difference. With the unleashing of intense political competition after the fall of an authoritarian regime, he says, “We are discovering each other as Egyptians right now. The media plays an important role in that.”

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