The Egyptian revolution, Part II: Confronting top-down, centralized government control

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The Egyptian people must still overturn an overbearing force that has marginalized them for generations: top-down government control of budgets and local development.

Egypt’s central government administration consumes the far majority of public resources, allocating just 15 percent for local administration spending, which is less than half of the average percent spent by developed countries. Three quarters of Egypt’s local spending goes toward wages and salaries, leaving just 6 percent of the remaining for local capital expenditures over which local officials have minimal discretion.

The centralized system in Egypt denies the people’s decision-making in prioritizing resources and projects in accordance with their needs. Centralization’s cumulative effects make it a main contributor to stratifying Egyptian society along economic, gender, regional, and sectarian lines.

Egypt can decentralize authority and catalyze democracy-building and human development by passing the long-delayed Local Administration Law. The draft law transfers power from non-elected governors to people’s representatives to the Local Popular Councils, to manage sub-national jurisdictions and public service delivery.

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