Inside Story

The Egyptian army’s growing economic empire

Cairo set to build a new Suez canal, with Sisi saying the army will oversee the project.

It is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of the Egyptian government’s principle sources of hard currency.

President Abdel Fattah el Sisi announced a $4bn project this week to boost the Suez canal’s shipping capacity, cut transit times and help Egypt’s ailing economy.

Sisi has also said that the military will oversee the Suez project – in concert with an expanding military role in Egypt’s economy.

Much of the Egyptian’s military’s financial dealings are unknown. Its budget is secret and its industries are unaudited and untaxed.

In November, Sisi decreed that in emergency cases government ministries could skip a bidding process, and instead award development contracts to the company of their choosing.

Economic analysts estimate that the military’s holdings account for as much as 40 percent of the Egyptian economy.

On Inside Egypt we discuss the influence of Egypt’s military in economic life.

Presenter – Sami Zeidan


Sami Nader – economist and columnist for Al-Monitor’s Lebanon Pulse.

Marwa Maziad – from the University of Washington and columnist for Almasry Alyoum.

Omar Ashour – author and senior lecturer in Middle East Politics and Security Studies at University of Exeter.