U.S. Ambassador Urges Egypt's Mohammed Morsi To Address Economic Woes

Ann Patterson Pushes for Reforms To Improve Life for Masses

It’s the Economy, Egypt! As anti-government protests rage, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is urging Mohammed Morsi to make reforms to boost the nation’s stumbling economy.
getty images
It’s the Economy, Egypt! As anti-government protests rage, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is urging Mohammed Morsi to make reforms to boost the nation’s stumbling economy.

By Reuters

Published February 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The United States has urged Egypt to move fast to agree a loan deal with the IMF, reform its energy sector and guarantee investors against “arbitrary acts” to avert a deeper slide in its economy.

In unusually blunt comments, U.S. Ambassador Ann Patterson said Egypt’s government and opposition must stop ignoring economic problems and work together to fix them.

“The most catastrophic path is for the government and the political leadership of the country - whether in power or in opposition - to avoid decisions, to show no leadership, to ignore the economic situation of the country,” she said in a speech delivered in Alexandria on Sunday, according to a text posted on the embassy’s website.

“The talks with the International Monetary Fund need to be brought to closure.”

Egypt has been negotiating for months on a $4.8 billion IMF loan but talks have been repeatedly delayed due to the Muslim Brotherhood-led government’s reluctance to cut goods and fuel subsidies on which poor Egyptians rely, an IMF source said.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil met IMF chief Christine Lagarde in Davos, Switzerland, last month and said an IMF mission would return to Cairo within two weeks to conclude an agreement, but there has been no sign of a resumption of talks and the government has yet to issue an updated fiscal plan.

Patterson highlighted Egypt’s dwindling foreign reserves and a growing reliance on imported food and energy as warning signs, noting that these were key determinants of social stability.

“Egypt’s numbers paint a bleak picture,” she said. “Currency reserves are at a critical level, roughly $14 billion or three months’ worth of imports.”

The reserves are kept afloat only due to regular injections of cash by Qatar and Turkey, she said, noting that a black market for dollars was growing and the exchange rate “needs to respect fundamental laws of economics”.

The falling value of the pound, which has lost about 8 percent against the dollar since Dec. 31, pushed annual consumer price inflation up to 6.3 percent in January. Prices climbed by 1.7 percent in the month - the biggest monthly jump since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

“These numbers do not take into account the billions that the government is in arrears to oil companies,” Patterson said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.