GZERO Media logo

A River of Challenges for Egypt's Sisi

A River of Challenges for Egypt's Sisi

Forty-one years ago this month, Abdel Halim Hafez, the Egyptian heartthrob who defined Arab popular music of the 20th century, died in a London hospital of a parasitic disease called Bilharzia. Last week, the Egyptian pop singer Sherine Abdel Wahab was sentenced to 6-months in prison for spreading fake news. Her crime? Joking that she wouldn’t sing the song “Have you Drunk from the Nile” because the river is rife with Bilharzia.


She wasn’t wrong, but it’s the latest example of strongman president Abdel Fattah el- Sisi’s pitiless crackdown ahead of the presidential election later this month. The vote itself won’t be competitive — all serious opposition candidates have been cowed or imprisoned, and his only opponent is an obscure politician who openly supports him.

But after the vote is over, Sisi faces a daunting set of challenges. Economic reforms have stabilized the government’s finances, but ordinary Egyptians are still reeling from painful subsidy cuts and discontent is high.

At the same time, Sisi’s bargain with millions of middle-class Egyptians — security at the price of political repression — has been shaken by a spate of jihadist attacks and an intractable Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.

And about that Nile again… the river’s political significance goes beyond the recent bacterial ballad: Ethiopia is building a massive new dam on its portion of the Nile that could sap vital water supplies from Egypt. Failure to reach a negotiated solution with Addis Ababa could stoke tensions between two governments that each have an interest in using nationalism to distract from domestic challenges

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

More Show less

For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal