This anti-democratic drift might not have spurred Egypt’s economic ills, but it undoubtedly has made them worse. Tourism, the country’s economic lifeblood, which withered following Mubarak’s ouster in 2011, remains minimal as a result of widespread political and security concerns. The hotels in Egypt’s famed tourist town of Luxor, for example, are now reportedly mostly empty. Foreign direct investment into the country has dwindled to “near zero,” reports the Egypt Independent, as skittish investors seek greener pastures. And planned bailouts—chief among them a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund widely believed to be critical to Cairo’s fiscal health—have stalled amid the political turmoil.
The cumulative effect is that Egypt is fast becoming a Middle Eastern version of Haiti: a country without meaningful tourism, minimal foreign investment, massive capital flight, and eventually an exodus of its best and brightest. That, of course, will inevitably become a crisis for Egypt’s neighbors, who will be forced to shoulder the political and security burdens of its implosion. But most of all, it is a tragedy for Egyptians themselves, who, having once dreamed of greater political liberalism after Mubarak, have woken up to an economic nightmare presided over by the Muslim Brotherhood.