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Liberalization reform, ‘neo-centralism’ and black market: The political diseconomy of Lake Nasser fishery development

Author(s): Christophe Béné | Bastien Bandi | Fanny Durville

Journal: Water Alternatives
ISSN 1965-0175

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 219;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Small-scale fisheries | governance | political economy | economic reform | Africa | Egypt

Despite its relatively modest importance, and the current difficulties faced by the government in implementing liberalization in the rest of the country, the Egyptian governement decided to embark on a reform of the Lake Nasser fishery in the early 2000s. The objective of this article is to analyse the evolution of this reform from a political economy perspective. The paper looks retrospectively at the general context of the reform, describes the different institutional and economic changes that have resulted from its realization, identifies how the distribution of power between the different actors has altered the course of its implementation, and finally assesses the outcomes of the reform. The analysis shows that, while some major institutional changes have taken place, those changes have had little to do with a 'liberalization' as conventionally understood in neo-classical literature. Instead, the new status quo turns out to be one where the central government and its different parastatal agencies have managed to maintain their existing advantages. The failure to reform more thoroughly the system also led fishers and fish traders to engage in a large-scale black market activity in which a substantial amount of fish is smuggled through unofficial trade channels.
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