Arab countries lag behind the rest of the world on nearly all governance indicators, particularly those related to voice and participation. Together with a lack of transparency and low accountability, this has led to greater corruption and the emergence of the soft state. A sense of alienation and exclusion, especially among youth, contributed to popular dissatisfaction, which remains unsolved after the revolution. This paper focuses on ways to improve participation in policymaking and economic planning, and to provide a guiding vision to recover from the crisis after the revolution, using Egypt as an example. The paper reviews the experiences of Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia, which indicate the importance of achieving a national consensus on an economic vision for the future, and the policies and programs needed to achieve it. Successful East Asian countries have put in place consultative processes (including different government departments, the private sector and civil society) to agree on national development plans and monitor their execution. The situation has been very different in Egypt where an institutional coordination mechanism among the various stakeholders to build a national vision was missing. The research paper adapts the experiences of East Asia to Egypt’s situation, and presents a proposal for introducing the concept of “inclusive planning” in economic planning and policymaking.
[Stabilization is] difficult to do in Iraq and especially Syria because no one wants the U.S. to put lots of forces on the ground to be doing that and locals will struggle to do it well.