Egypt: Indonesian or South African parallel?

Paul Krugman compares Egypt’s economic performance prior to its political crisis to that of Indonesia and the Philippines.

He makes a compelling point that the comparison fails.

Egypt’s economic performance has been stable and much better than, say, South Africa’s for example.  Krugman suggests:

Egypt had decent growth — but the gains weren’t trickling down, and youth unemployment was and is a huge problem.

Which sounds rather more like South Africa.  Except with recent data showing unemployment at 9.7% (massively lower than South Africa’s 23.7%) and economic growth above 5% (higher than 3%) and income inequality measured by the Gini Coefficient of 34.4 (compared to South Africa’s 65, which is just about the highest in the world, as in most unequal) Figures from CIA World Factbook

Real GDP growth Unemployment Gini Coefficient
Egypt 5.3% 9.3% 34.4
South Africa 3.0% 27.3% 65.0

So if you were to back Egypt vs South Africa as most likely to experience violent political upheaval?

Published by David Kirk

The opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and other commenters and are not necessarily those of his employer or any other organisation. David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation.

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1 Comment

  1. Of course, in this country, theoretically regime change could be achieved at the polls, so at the moment we have to believe that the majority don’t want regime change.

    The worrying question to me is: Do the majority in South Africa feel oppressed, and if so, by whom?

    Scary thought.

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