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Egypt's Future

Egypt's Future

Egypt held a presidential election this week. The official results will be announced on Monday. Spoiler alert: incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be declared the winner.


Sisi has solved the near-term problem of how to hold onto power. Imprison thousands of potential troublemakers. Handpick your election opponent. Drive all credible challengers out of the race. To ensure turnout, pay people to vote and threaten fines on those who don’t. Count the votes. Declare victory.

But this won’t solve the longer-term problems facing Egypt, for which Sisi will now be held responsible. Nearly a third of the country’s 90 million people lives in poverty, a percentage that has grown over the past 20 years. More than half that population is under twenty-five.

In November 2016, to try to get its financial house in order, the government devalued Egypt’s currency and cut fuel subsidies. Angry protests followed. This time last year, bread riots erupted in many Egyptian cities following news that the state had reduced the number of subsidized bread loaves it allows each family to buy.

Egypt’s population is projected to reach 120 million by 2030, and 150 million by 2050. Population growth creates urban sprawl, which leaves less land for agriculture, exacerbating already serious shortages of food and water. Unless Sisi decides he cares as much about his country as he does about political control, this is the shape of things to come.

Meet Alessandra Cominetti, a recipient of MIT Technology Review Magazine's Innovators Under 35 award. As a lab technician at Eni's Research Centre for Renewable Energy in Novara, Alessandra has devoted her career to finding new solutions and materials to optimize solar energy. Much like the serendipitous encounter that resulted in her employment, her eagerness and willingness to try new things allowed her to stumble upon a material for the creation of portable solar panels.

Watch her remarkable story on the latest episode of Faces of Eni.

"If [the election] is very close and it ends up in the courts, that kind of protracted situation I think will lead many Americans to believe that it was an unfair election." Rick Hasen, election law expert and author of Election Meltdown, lays out some of the worst-case scenarios for Election Day, ranging from unprecedented voter suppression to dirty tricks by foreign actors. The conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 30. Check local listings.

"No election is conducted perfectly, and elections have all kinds of problems.We're going to have more problems because we're running an election during a pandemic." Election law expert Rick Hasen cautions that both campaigns could misconstrue honest mistakes in the administration of this week's national election as nefarious acts. The integrity of the election, he warns, could be compromised by human error and the unprecedented challenges posed by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Hasen's especially concerned about key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

With COVID increasing in France, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere, has Europe lost control of the pandemic?

Well, I wouldn't say lost control, but clearly it is a very worrying situation. With COVID increasing virtually everywhere, we see a new wave of semi-lockdowns... it's not as bad as it was in the spring... with the hope of being able to contain the surge during the month of November. Let's wait and see.

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An extended conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official under President Obama and the CEO of the think tank New America. Slaughter spoke with Ian Bremmer about how a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy.

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