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!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • 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.