CAIRO: Worse flagrant corruption, financial and political, has been officially sanctioned, condoned, protected and even practiced at the highest levels of government. Mega development projects promoted by the military regime turned out to be largely bogus and no more than empty sloganeering by the military regime.

One prominent example was the "New" Suez canal advertised as " Egypt's Gift to the World", that was billed to bring in many billions of dollars in additional revenues, ignoring the critical dependence of the canal revenues on the volatile volume of international trade, and a new symbol of great Egyptian pride. Instead of a new waterway as the name implies, it was nothing but an extension of a parallel sub-waterway, that existed since 1942 under the name of the " Farouk" (Ex-king of Egypt deposed in 1952) sub- canal, mainly executed by an international consortium headed by a Dutch company employing workers from 50 nationalities. Yet, a profligate celebration was held on the occasion of opening the sub-canal with the president triumphantly looking sailing through it aboard the ex-king Frouk royal yacht in the decorated military uniform of the supreme commander of the armed forces. Actual revenue figures turned out to have declined after the miracle project, in response to the slowdown of international trade as a result, of economic difficulties in China.

The other flagrant fiasco was an extravagant economic conference held in March 2015 and hailed as having been the venue for concluding investment deals hailed to bring in tens of billions of dollars as FDI. Months went past and not a single cent in investment, or otherwise, materialized, the civilian cabinet was blamed, its head promptly sacked and another, in fact a minister in the failed cabinet, appointed who retained most of the minsters of the previous one.

Most new "development" projects were capital intensive construction projects designed to benefit, in the first place, companies owned by the military or large capitalists.

The absence of serious, development projects generating good jobs on a large scale, meant that the twin chronic development failures of unemployment-poverty remained unabated, their burden falling heaviest on disadvantaged social groups, the poor, women, youth and children.

In addition to corrupt mismanagement, revenues from tourism, a major hard currency earner, were hit hard by deterioration in security in Sinai, and astounding blunders such as a three-hour aerial bombardment of a convoy of Mexican tourists in the western desert that left score dead or injured. In the last couple of years revenues from tourism reached a ten-year low, down to about $ 2 billion.

Sadly for the MLTE ,as mentioned earlier, their benefactors in Saudi Arabia were also suffering a crushing financial crisis.

In view of all the above, it is a little wonder that the anniversary of three years of the most recent phase of military rule witnessed huge rises in national debt and a significant decline in foreign reserves.

Thus the junta all but obliterated the first two first goals of the popular uprising, freedom and social justice. The destruction of the third goal human dignity, was achieved by the avalanche of violations of human rights mentioned above.

But the human dignity on ordinary Egyptians was further damaged by repeated administrative decrees. For example a presidential decree enabled the president to pardon convicted non-Egyptians of serving their sentences in Egypt. This was applied in the famous case of Aljazeera journalists, the Australian was released and deported first, followed by the Canadian. The remaining Egyptian was pardoned, for appearances sake among one hundred cases of unjust imprisonment at a later occasion.

When a Russian airliner fell in Sinai with about 200 passengers on Board, the presidency and cabinet mobilised to oversee the aftermath of the accident. While in a previous disaster in which more than 300 Egyptians drowned in a faulty Nile ferry, no official lifted a finger

A full assessment of the development morass in Egypt should stress the impending disaster that could hit Egyptians as the reservoir of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) begins to fill, costing Egypt a significant reduction in the flow of the Nile and the volume of electricity generated at the high dam. Available evidence points out that military president gave Ethiopia concessions tantamount o full control of the flow of the river in return for recognition of the military regime by the African Union.

Expected negative repercussions of Global warming, already evident in longer summers and higher maximum temperatures during summer months, will probably add another ecological impediment to human development in Egypt.

(The writer is presently Director of Almishkat Centre for Research and Training in Cairo).