King Salman Egypt Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Egitto in vendita

CAIRO – La visita in Egitto della scorsa settimana del re saudita Salman ha portato a 22 accordi, incluso un finanziamento da 22 miliardi di dollari per rispondere ai fabbisogni petroliferi dell’Egitto e per risollevare la sua moribonda economia. Ma il generoso aiuto è costato caro: l’Egitto ha dovuto rinunciare a due isole del Mar Rosso che aveva conquistato nel 1950. Non sembra vera quindi la storia raccontata dalla leadership egiziana secondo cui il Paese resterà una grande potenza regionale. In effetti, l’Egitto non può nemmeno gestire le sfide domestiche poste da una popolazione in rapida crescita che dipende da sussidi inaccessibili – una situazione che i jihadisti stanno sfruttando con grande successo. Come ha fatto il Paese ad arrivare a questo punto?

Quando Muhammad Ali sconfisse gli inglesi nel 1807, l’Egitto divenne il primo Paese arabo a guadagnarsi di fatto l’indipendenza. Ma il nipote di Ali, Ismail, sperperò quell’indipendenza con spese dissolute, creando una dipendenza dall’assistenza esterna che persiste sino ad oggi.

Innanzitutto, Ismail fu costretto a vendere le azioni dell’Egitto nel Canale di Suez nel 1875 per coprire i deficit di bilancio. Quando ciò si dimostrò insufficiente per fermare l’emorragia fiscale, i creditori europei istituirono una commissione per garantire i pagamenti. Fino al 1877 oltre il 60% delle entrate dell’Egitto servì per onorare questo debito. Nel 1882 gli inglesi presero il controllo del Paese per proteggere i loro investimenti.

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