La dette odieuse de Moubarak

NEW YORK – Un examen des finances publiques de l’Égypte révèle un fait inquiétant : les intérêts que paie le pays sur sa dette extérieure sont plus élevés que les budgets de l’éducation, de la santé et du logement réunis. En d’autres termes, le service de la dette représente 22 pour cent des dépenses totales de l’État égyptien.

Les répercussions de cette situation sont devenues impossibles à ignorer. En raison d’une incertitude politique croissante et du ralentissement de l’économie, il est probable que les revenus du gouvernement égyptien reculent, accroissant d’autant la nécessité de dépenses d’urgence et la possibilité d’une hausse des taux d’intérêts des emprunts de l’État. Cette évolution pourrait conduire à une catastrophe budgétaire au moment même où le pays tente de réussir une transition politique complexe.

La dette publique de l’Égypte représente près de 80 pour cent de son PIB, très proche du niveau de 90 pour cent défini par les économistes Kenneth Rogoff et Carmen Reinhart comme annonciateur d’une croissance anémique et d’une vulnérabilité accrue aux crises financières et budgétaires. Les Égyptiens n’ont qu’à observer ce qui se passe dans leur voisinage septentrional, avec la crise de la zone euro, pour comprendre qu’il vaut mieux résoudre aujourd’hui le problème de la dette qu’attendre qu’il prenne des dimensions similaires à celui de la Grèce.

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