First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) David Lipton gave a public talk on Egypt’s economic outlook at the School on May 7.
The talk was part of the School’s aim to develop its student body with knowledge about the world of business, all while adding positive value to society with timely and productive knowledge dissemination led by industry-leading experts. With the Egyptian economy going through a wave of fluctuations since the government decided to float the Egyptian pound in November 2016, Lipton’s visit presented a perfect opportunity to understand how the economy’s progress is perceived by one of the world’s largest economic governance institutions.
In keeping in line with its mission to educate through practical experience, the School tabbed Nour Beshir – the vice president and president-elect of the AUC Business Association and an ambitious young student with a firm desire to join an international monetary organization such as the IMF after graduating – to be the talk’s moderator. Beshir skillfully guided the packed audience and allowed Lipton to seamlessly share a dense breadth of topics with attendees.
Contrary to the beliefs held by many in the country, Lipton affirmed that the Egyptian economy has been on a noticeably upward trajectory since its free-market regulations took effect nearly a year and a half ago.
“I think that Egypt’s economic program has been very successful,” he told the School’s knowledge portal, Business Forward. “The country was really in the danger zone, financially speaking, in the middle of 2016. And the steps that were taken, and they were bold steps, have normalized the economy, and I think have restored confidence in the country and in the world with respect to Egypt.”
Some of the positives, in Lipton’s mind, included the recent increase in competition and globalization within the Egyptian economy. The stability arising from replenishing the market’s foreign reserves was similarly highlighted as a notable positive as well.
Lipton was quick to note, however, that the economy is not fully out of the danger zone just yet. For him, it is imperative for the country to continue to think about modernizing the economy through utilizing newer technologies and granting the private sector more room to maneuver on the long run.
Dean of the School of Business Sherif Kamel echoed these sentiments, stating: “The private sector in Egypt needs an environment, an ecosystem that is comprehensively reformed where it [the ecosystem] becomes government enabled, youth-led, information-based, innovation-driven, private-sector supported and future-oriented.”
Despite these pertinent challenges, the mood of the talk was noticeably optimistic on the whole. There seemed to be a consensus among attendees that Egypt’s long-term economic future is very much bright – current difficulties notwithstanding.
Judging by the bright young business minds of Beshir and her classmates, it is certainly hard to disagree.
For pictures from the talk, click here.
For Business Forward's full-length interview with Lipton, click here.