Extending the state of emergency and going forward with other exceptional security measures is bound to have a positive effect on Egypt’s failing economy, experts confirmed.
Not only will the two-month extension make investors more confident about the safety of throwing their capital in Egypt, it will also help their businesses thrive in no time, said Adel Al-Deeb, economic expert and Cairo University professor.
“The investor needs to feel safe in order to be drawn back to Egypt,” Al-Deeb explained. “And what could bring that feeling of safety better than reinventing the spirit of the 30-year-long static atmosphere of [former President Hosni] Mubarak’s reign?”
The ousted president’s reign was blessed with a continuous state-of emergency which even survived his ouster, outliving it for 15 months.
Haitham Marei, researcher at the Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, argued that extending the state of emergency automatically makes citizens feel safer. “It’s a message from the authorities that they’ve taken all the necessary measures to secure the country against the current wave of Islamist-led terrorism,” Marei said. He added that a poll conducted by the Baseera centre revealed that 80 percent of Egyptians actually feel safer under the state of emergency.
“It shouldn’t be any different for foreign investors,” Marei said. “They know quite well without the state of emergency, the state is incapable of securing their businesses.”
Al-Deeb called the argument that a state of emergency would stall investment “an old-fashioned rumour”. He explained that nothing stalls investment other than proliferating terrorism, adding that the state of emergency was specifically activated to reverse that reality.
Mahmoud Hammad, a strategic expert and army veteran, said a scenario where the state of emergency keeps getting extended until it’s indefinite is “impossible”. Such was the case with the state of emergency during Mubarak’s 30 years in power.
“Egypt has never been through more difficult times in terms of security concerns,” Hammad said. “Such times necessitate the existence of exceptional security measures which we will be quick to get rid of as soon as those times are over.”
He stated that the terrorist threats facing Egypt today are much graver than the 1990s’ wave of terrorism, which included the 1997 terrorist attack on the Luxor Temple that left 62 people killed, including 58 tourists.
“We have Islamist protesters loose on the streets almost everyday holding giant yellow hands and chanting for their ousted president’s return!” Hammad said, in reference to ousted President Mohamed Morsi. “If that’s not a threat on security, I don’t know what is.”
Al-Deeb stated that under the amendments to the article discussing the state of emergency within the 2012 constitution, a state of emergency would be the closest thing we’ve seen to a war. The latest constitutional amendments granted media utter freedom except in times of war and when a state of emergency is declared.
“All economic research proves that times of war remarkably refresh warring states’ economies,” Al-Deeb said, optimistic about the kind of future the extended state of emergency holds to Egypt’s economy.
On Thursday, interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree extending the current state of emergency for two months. The state of emergency was first declared on 14 August, following the forcible yet completely justified dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins. It was due to expire on Saturday.