Mohamed el Dahshan is a compelling blogger, living through the transformation of Egypt from a dictatorship to . . . something else. el Dahshan is capturing, with sharp insight and equally sharp writing, the anguish of young, liberal Egyptians as the new, democratically elected regime provides ever-more evidence that it wants to control Egypt with the same iron rule as the former, dictatorial regime.

His message about the power of transparency ought to resonate deeply in our own, supposedly open, societies. el Dahshan is fighting for a society that we take for granted.

Never take it for granted.

mohamed el dahshan. economist, writer, speaker, compulsive traveller.

 

In preparation for the World Economic Forum in Davos which I attended last week, I was asked to share some thoughts on transparency and growth. This is my blog post on the subject.

 

In the 1990s, Uganda suffered from a problem of corruption so severe that, for every 100 dollars the government would disburse to schools across the country, only 20 would reach the destination; 80 dollars would somehow disappear, siphoned along the way. So, the Ministry of Finance decided to try a novel approach: it informed the local media, and placed posters in schools detailing the sums to be released. This time, 90% of the money reached its destination.

There are two main lessons here. One, that the problem was not resolved by a top-down decision to outlaw the practice, but really by informing, thus empowering citizens. And two, that this could have gone unresolved if it…

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