Mubarak’s Odious Debts

NEW YORK – A glance at Egypt’s public finances reveals a disturbing fact: the interest that the country pays on its foreign loans is larger than its budget for education, healthcare, and housing combined. Indeed, these debt-service costs alone account for 22% of the Egyptian government’s total expenditures.

The impact has become impossible to ignore. With growing political uncertainty and a slowing economy, Egypt is likely to witness decreasing government revenues, increasing demands for urgent spending, and rising interest rates on government borrowing. This could lead to a fiscal catastrophe for the government at the very moment when the country is attempting a complicated political transition.