New book by alumna Sarah Smierciak explores cronyism in Egypt

13 January, 2022

A new book by alumna Sarah Smierciak examines business-state networks in Egypt and highlights the complicity of international actors in facilitating inequality and elite capture. 

Using interdisciplinary methodology, the book argues that Western actors promoting market liberalisation have served as central partners in enabling elites to capture the fruits of Egypt’s economic reforms.

In the years leading up to the 2011 Revolution, Egypt’s crony capitalism reached new levels of visibility with the appointment of a 'Businessmen Cabinet'. The businessmen-turned-state representatives ushered in a wave of 'market liberalising' reforms, expanding avenues for the abuse of power.

Providing a detailed look at some of the period’s chief beneficiaries, including a number of Egypt’s wealthiest oligarchs, the volume follows their ascent from former President Hosni Mubarak’s first round of neoliberal reforms in 1991 through his last wave of reforms beginning in 2004 and ending in regime overthrow.

The final chapter examines the fate of these elites under the brief rule of Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohammed Morsi, and of Abdel Fattah el Sisi’s current military-backed regime.

The book, which is published by Routledge, had its origins in Sarah's research as a student on the MPhil in Development Studies in 2012-14. 

Sarah Smierckia (2021) Cronyism and Elite Capture in Egypt: From Businessmen Cabinet to Military Inc, Routledge.

Find out more about the MPhil in Development Studies