President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Saturday that the military’s share in the Egyptian economy does not exceed 1.5-2%, which is worth EGP 3-4tn.
The president dismissed suggestions about the military having a share of 50% in the Egyptian economy, adding that he would hope that its share would reach that level. He also emphasised that the military cooperates with civilians, as almost 50,000 civilian employees and workers have been hired by the military. All of the military’s projects pay taxes and are subject to monitoring by the Accountability State Authority, according to Al-Sisi.
Aliaa El-Mahdy, a former dean of economics and political science at Cairo University, said that the actual size of the military’s share in the economy is unknown due to the lack of that kind of information. However, she believes that if the president said so, the experts should stick to his rate because he is the only official source until now, adding that the percentage he mentioned cannot be ignored.
El-Mahdy emphasised that the military has other important duties to attend to instead of expanding in the economy—most importantly protecting Egypt’s borders, which need attention near Libya, Sudan, and Gaza.
She believes that the public and private sectors can lead the economy without any need for military cooperation or even partnerships, adding that the government—which the military is a part of—has to focus on supporting the private sector to expand in Egypt.
Regarding the military’s involvement in some projects, she said that the private sector could have had a part in any projects, such as roads, buildings, or even digging the New Suez Canal.
A military that has a 50%-share in the Egyptian economy is not a wise thing, she noted.
From another view point, Abobakr Emam, head of the research division at Prime Holding, believes that the military’s share exceeds 2%, adding that the military has gas stations, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, cement factories, and also food and water companies.
He said that if the military only has a share of 2% in the Egyptian economy and is already crowding the private sector, one can only imagine the economic situation if the share is as much as 50%.
“I think the president meant that he wishes the military would have 50% because it would back him in developing the country,” Emam said, adding that this does not mean that the military will work to control 50% of the economy.