With the distraction of Brexit and Donald Trump, you might have missed that a country of more than 93 million people nearly went bankrupt this year. The International Monetary Fund stopped that from happening, announcing on Nov. 11 that it would lend Egypt the equivalent of about $16 billion. Brexiteers and Trump’s army of angry old white men might disagree, but the rescue of Egypt was evidence that globalization works. The IMF was created at the end of the Second World War to help make the planet a less chaotic place. The fund in 2016 prevented a dangerous region from becoming even more so.
But there is something else about that loan. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi agreed to all sorts of conditions. His government cut fuel subsidies and pledged to raise taxes, for example. Textbook. The IMF isn’t a charity; like any lender, it expects its clients to get their houses in order. But Egypt also said it would increase the number of spaces at public nurseries and make public transportation safer to “support women’s labour force participation.” That’s new. In September, Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, told Maclean’s that if Egypt wanted the fund’s money, it must do more to help women take jobs or start companies. A couple of months later, she proved that she had meant it.
Continue reading at Maclean's ...