Date of Defense

Fall 12-15-2011

Date of Graduation

Fall 12-2011


Political Science

First Advisor

Gunther M. Hega, Political Science

Second Advisor

Mustafa Mughazy, Foreign Languages

Third Advisor

Howard J. Dooley, History


Egypt; Economic Development; Koosa; Political Stability


Egypt is one of the most powerful countries of the Arab world, and yet it is still considered a developing country. Two of the major problems with which modern Egypt is struggling are a lagging economy and political instability. Though no single issue has caused the current economic and political conditions, one central causal factor is widespread corruption. Egyptians could spend hours over coffee discussing the issue of corruption- or “koosa,” as it is often referred to in Egyptian colloquial, meaning connections or favoritism.

In February 2011, Egypt became one of the first nations of the “Arab Spring” to overthrow its authoritarian government, namely the Mubarak regime. This essay will seek to answer the following questions: (1) How did corruption become so widespread in today’s Egypt, (2) how has corruption affected Egypt’s economy, and (3) what role did the demand for ending corruption play in the 2011 revolution?

This essay will show that corruption had become endemic to Egypt, particularly through recent corrupt administrations, including Mubarak’s administration. In addition, corruption has had adverse effects on Egypt’s economy. It has been one cause of the sharp disparity between the wealthy and the poor, has redirected funds out of the country, and has inhibited the successful establishment of businesses unalloyed with the regime. Finally, in the 2011 revolution, ending corruption was a defining demand of protestors and opposition groups to Mubarak’s government, and has continued to be a spotlight issue. In conclusion, one final question will be addressed: What are the possibilities that a new government can start afresh and keep corruption to a minimum? If corruption has become so widespread in Egypt, there may or may not be “a light at the end of the tunnel” for extricating it from the governmental and political systems, or from society as a whole.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only