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Eduard Cousin

Amsterdam, Netherlands
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About Eduard
Eduard Cousin is a freelance journalist based in Cairo since 2013 and covering the Arab region, writing on politics, security, social issues, economy, energy, and entrepreneurship. He is the author of a book on the aftermath of the Arab Spring in Egypt (In Dutch: Nu de wereld niet meer kijkt). Aside Dutch language publications, he has - among others - written for Al Jazeera English, Qantara and The Independent, and appears regularly on France24 English.
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Out of gas? Egypt’s ambitions to become a regional gas hub are dwindling

04 Oct 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Egypt's goal to become a regional gas hub is at risk as LNG exports to Europe ceased in June amid domestic power shortages and a severe debt crisis. The country's only major gas field, Zohr, has seen decreased output, and despite high gas prices due to the Ukraine war, Egypt's gas production hit a three-year low. The government reversed a decision to stop importing diesel and fuel oil, and technical issues have been denied as a cause for the production drop. Investments from BP and Eni may stabilize production, but infrastructure upgrades and regional cooperation are needed for Egypt to maintain its export ambitions.

Egypt is privatising – but is it enough to please the IMF and get more funding from the international financial body?

25 Jul 2023  |  Al Jazeera
The article discusses Egypt's privatisation efforts as it sells state assets to meet conditions of a $3bn loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In February, Egypt put 32 state-owned companies up for sale, and recently sold $1.9bn worth of assets, including stakes in various companies to the Abu Dhabi Development Fund and Egyptian entities. The IMF has welcomed the sales but postponed a review due to insufficient progress in economic reforms, including privatisation and a free-floating currency. Egypt's economy is suffering from high inflation, a hard currency shortage, and a significant debt burden. Analysts point to structural weaknesses in the economy, such as low private investment and export rates, and the expansion of military-affiliated companies. The IMF advocates for a free-floating exchange rate to address these issues, but critics question the effectiveness of this policy. The article also touches on fears of hyperinflation and the possibility of Egypt defaulting on its debt.

Youth Unemployment and Migration in Egypt: A Search for a Better Life

05 Apr 2023  |  Atlantic Council
The article discusses the high rate of youth unemployment in Egypt, particularly among those aged 15-24, and the resulting trend of migration in search of better job opportunities. The author highlights the challenges faced by young Egyptians, including the quality of education, the lack of opportunities in the labor market, and the difficulty in obtaining visas for study or work abroad. The article also touches on the government's efforts to address these issues, such as the Knowledge Bank and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's initiatives for youth. Additionally, the article covers the rise in applications for European visas and the dangers of irregular migration across the Mediterranean, as well as the International Organization for Migration's stance on the need for better education and opportunities to prevent irregular migration.

The IMF announced an ambitious reform programme for Egypt’s economy, but analysts cast doubt on its effectiveness.

18 Jan 2023  |  Al Jazeera
The article discusses the economic challenges facing Egypt, including a significant devaluation of the national currency, high inflation, and scarcity of basic goods. The government's agreement with the IMF to adopt a flexible exchange rate, privatize state-owned enterprises, and reduce public investment is highlighted as a response to the crisis. However, analysts are skeptical about the effectiveness of these measures, pointing to structural problems in the economy and the unsustainable nature of the economic model. The article also touches on the role of the military in the economy and the potential conflict between the government's actions and the IMF's conditions, particularly regarding the continuation of megaprojects. The IMF's leverage and the potential consequences of not adhering to the reform plan are questioned, with some analysts expressing doubt about the IMF's ability to enforce its conditions and the overall success of the reform program.

Live report from Cairo on the container vessel that was stuck in the Suez Canal for a week, blocking international traffic

The struggle for civilian rule in Sudan

19 Jan 2022  |  Qantara.de - Dialog mit der islamischen Welt
The article by Eduard Cousin for Qantara.de covers the ongoing protests in Sudan against the military junta that took power after a coup in October 2021. The protests are organized by local 'resistance committees' which have been a key force since the uprising against former President Omar al-Bashir began over three years ago. Despite a power-sharing deal signed between Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the army, the protest movement continues to demand the military's complete withdrawal from politics. The resistance committees are highly decentralized and are coordinating nationally to play a political role. They, along with other opposition groups, are working on a political charter to form a new technocratic government. The UN is attempting to mediate the crisis, but civil forces are skeptical. The military, with economic interests and fear of repercussions, is increasingly using force against protesters. However, the resistance remains determined, believing in the inevitability of their revolution's success.

Egyptian Army Deals with Muslim Brotherhood Through Gallows and TV Series

16 Jun 2021  |  NRC
Human rights activists are alarmed by a surge in executions in Egypt, where the military authorities are settling scores with their opponents, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, through popular television programs. The Brotherhood is officially considered a terrorist organization in Egypt. The most notable executions this year took place during Ramadan, breaking the unwritten rule of no executions during the holy month. The TV series 'De Keuze II,' produced by a company linked to the Egyptian security services, glorifies police officers' role in the fight against terrorism and is seen as rewriting recent history in favor of the current regime. The increase in executions, particularly in political cases related to terrorism, has drawn criticism, though international condemnation has waned, potentially emboldening the regime to carry out more executions.

Burning fat in Ramadan by rowing on the Nile

23 Apr 2021  |  nrc.nl
In Cairo, the Egyptian Rowing Club becomes a popular spot during Ramadan, as rowing in the afternoon is seen as an ideal way to burn fat before the iftar meal. The sport has grown in popularity, especially among the wealthier Egyptians, with the Egyptian Rowing Academy offering access to non-members. Despite the challenges of fasting, participants find rowing manageable and satisfying, with the added benefit of feeling less guilty about indulging in the evening meal. The academy's success has led to the opening of new academies and some competition, but the quality and price of the original academy keep its members returning.

This is why human rights violations in Egypt become a blind spot for the outside world

03 Dec 2020  |  nrc.nl
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) staff, including director Gasser Abdel-Razek, were arrested and later released on bail, but face ongoing charges and frozen assets. The arrests followed a meeting with European and Canadian diplomats, raising concerns about the safety of NGOs in Egypt. Amnesty International reported a spike in executions in Egypt, raising further human rights concerns. Western countries have publicly condemned the arrests but face criticism for not imposing consequences on Egypt, which continues to receive European development funds and arms sales. Egypt's strategic use of migration fears and financial ties with international lenders like the World Bank and IMF ensures international support, despite ongoing repression. The article suggests that consistent international pressure is necessary to influence Egypt's human rights situation.

Egyptian Army Tightens Grip on Television

12 May 2020  |  www.nrc.nl
Egypt's television industry is increasingly under the influence of the military, with production company Synergy, backed by the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, leading the market with high-budget series like 'De Keuze' and 'Het Einde.' These series, particularly popular during Ramadan, often portray the military and police in a heroic light, aligning with the government's narrative. Critics like former publisher Hisham Kassem see this as an attempt to align all media with the state's narrative. Additionally, EMG's online video service WatchIT, akin to Netflix, faces criticism for technical issues and privacy concerns.

100 millionth Egyptian leads to stress

19 Feb 2020  |  NRC
Egypt's population has reached 100 million, exacerbating existing economic and social challenges. The majority of Egyptians live in densely populated areas along the Nile, leading to issues such as limited water availability and high youth unemployment. The government has initiated the 'Two is Enough' program to promote smaller families, but experts argue that more structural changes are needed. Despite some progress, traditional views on large families persist, particularly in poorer, rural areas. The article highlights the efforts and challenges faced by the government and healthcare professionals in addressing population growth.

Egyptian whereabouts of Pieter Bas H. still unclear

29 Sep 2019  |  NRC
Pieter Bas H., a Dutch national, remains in an undisclosed location in Egypt following his arrest for possessing a drone and filming near Tahrir Square. His family asserts he was unaware of the drone ban and was on a tourist trip. The arrest was publicized by Amr Adib, a TV presenter known for state propaganda. The Dutch Embassy is attempting to locate him to provide consular assistance. The arrest coincides with heightened tensions and protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, sparked by allegations of corruption from Mohamed Ali. The Egyptian government has responded with increased security measures and mass detentions.

Feature explaining the nature and causes of sectarian tensions between Christian and Muslims in villages in Upper Egypt

Analysis of Egypt's economic reform/austerity programme, diving into the question why poverty is rising while macro-economic indicators look positive.

Viral videos mobilize angry Egyptians

23 Sep 2019  |  bnr.nl
Unexpected demonstrations erupted in Egypt against President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi following viral videos posted by contractor and actor Mohammed Ali accusing al-Sisi of corruption and wasteful spending on palaces and other projects. The protests came as a surprise due to the heavy repression in Egypt, which usually deters public displays of dissent. Hundreds of people have been arrested and face potential long-term imprisonment. Ali, once part of the system he now criticizes, has called for protests and a revolution against al-Sisi, seemingly sparking a shift in the public's willingness to express their discontent.

Can Sudan's President Withstand Increasing Pressure from Protests?

25 Jan 2019  |  DeWereldMorgen.be
The largest protests since the start of the uprising over a month ago have taken place in Sudan, with government figures reporting 29 deaths and Amnesty International citing over 40. The unrest began with economic reforms in January 2018, leading to price hikes and a plummeting Sudanese pound. The protests escalated on December 19th in Atbara and spread to Khartoum and Darfur, with calls for President Al Bashir's resignation. The Sudanese Association of Professionals and various opposition parties support the protests. Police have responded harshly, targeting doctors treating injured protesters. Al Bashir refuses to step down, blaming 'infiltrators' for the violence and controlling media portrayal of the protesters. Social media is blocked in Sudan, but activists are sharing images via VPNs. Al Bashir, charged by the ICC for genocide in Darfur, seeks financial aid from allies. The role of the military remains uncertain, with some reports of soldiers protecting protesters.

Reportage from a Moulid in Egypt's Nile delta. These Sufi celebrations are widely popular among some, but for others they are 'haram' and not part of Islam. However, historically Sufism and moulids play an integral part in Sunni Islam, in particularly in Egypt

Analysis of Egypt's strategy to combat radicalisation, that shows a gap between theory and practice.

Feature on the plans in Egypt to restore and revive the historical city centre of Cairo, explaining the contradictions that exist in those plans.

Profile of the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Egypt: Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb - A key player in post-revolution Egypt

Report on the arrest and soon-after release of the sons of former President Hosni Mubarak, including context about the long-standing rivalry between the Mubarak leadership and the Egyptian army.

Gevechten in Tripoli eisen tientallen levens, fragiele wapenstilstand bereikt

05 Sep 2018  |  Knack
Het artikel bespreekt de recente gevechten in Tripoli, Libië, die 61 levens hebben geëist. Een wapenstilstand, bemiddeld door de Verenigde Naties, is overeengekomen na twee mislukte pogingen. De regering van Tripoli heeft de noodtoestand uitgeroepen en het vliegveld gesloten. De gevechten betreffen voornamelijk de Kani Brigade en de Tripoli Revolutionaire Brigade, die beide beweren loyaal te zijn aan de centrale regering. De EU en Egypte hebben opgeroepen tot een einde aan het geweld. De situatie in Libië is complex met rivaliserende regeringen in Tripoli en Tobruk, en de aanwezigheid van milities en extremistische groepen. De regering is afhankelijk van de milities voor overleving en betaalt hen, wat leidt tot een strijd om economisch gewin.

Report from 10 days in government-held Damascus, Syria during the height of the Ghouta offensive

Closer to Allah and Enjoying TV

17 May 2018  |  NRC
In Egypt, Ramadan is a festive period akin to Christmas in the West, with decorations and media focused on the occasion. The predominantly Muslim population adjusts daily routines for fasting, with Cairo's rhythm changing significantly. Post-fast evenings are lively with meals and socializing. Television viewing spikes, with families following Ramadan soaps avidly. The economy slows, with reduced work hours and planning around the fasting month. Charitable giving increases, with organizations like Misr El-Kheir and the Magdy Yacoub Foundation receiving a significant portion of their annual donations. However, some criticize the commercialization of Ramadan and the excessive consumption associated with it. Egypt's Christian minority experiences the month differently, with one individual enjoying the Ramadan television series despite the daytime quiet.

Citizens primarily want peace quickly, whether with Assad or someone else

09 Apr 2018  |  www.vrt.be
Syrian citizens in Damascus are tired of the war and strive to lead normal lives amidst the conflict. Freelance journalist Eduard Cousin observed that while not necessarily pro-Assad, people desire peace, whether under Assad's rule or another leader. Despite the recent chemical attack and subsequent retaliation, which have diminished hopes for peace, residents of Damascus hope for a swift end to the conflict. Cousin noted the fear among Damascus citizens of increased American involvement. The Assad regime denies responsibility for the chemical attack, suggesting it has no incentive for such actions while winning the war. Some rebels and civilians have begun evacuating Douma, the last rebel-held city in Eastern Ghouta, with the Syrian army poised to regain control.

Article on the tourism potential and challenges in Sudan

Report on the proclaimed boom in archeology discoveries in Egypt, and what the antiquities ministry hopes to achieve with it

Speaking on the political and economic situation in Egypt as guest speaker on Dutch radio

Radio interview on the presidential elections in Egypt (in Dutch)

Analysis of the growing role of Egypt's military on the economy following the IMF pushed reform programme

Analysis of the dynamics behind the massive support of Egyptian celebrities, actors and musicians for the regime and President Al-Sisi in particular

Egypt's population grows explosively: 'The biggest threat to Egypt alongside terrorism'

26 Feb 2018  |  De Morgen
Egypt's population has grown by 22 million in the last decade, reaching over 96 million, with an annual growth rate of 2.6%. This growth is putting pressure on resources and services such as education and healthcare. The economic crisis has forced the government to take measures like devaluing the currency and reducing subsidies, exacerbating poverty levels. The government recognizes the severity of the situation, with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi calling population growth a major threat alongside terrorism. Efforts to increase awareness of contraception and the benefits of smaller families are underway, but religious authorities are cautious about endorsing birth control. Migration concerns are also on the rise in Europe, with Egypt working to control its borders with European assistance. The effectiveness of these efforts remains to be seen.

Unrest in Sudan after austerity measures imposed by the IMF

06 Feb 2018  |  DeWereldMorgen.be
Sudan is experiencing daily protests against increased bread prices following the removal of subsidies, which doubled the price of bread. The police have been cracking down on these protests, resulting in arrests, including opposition leaders and journalists. The austerity measures are a result of pressure from the International Monetary Fund, leading to a significant devaluation of the Sudanese pound. The black market for currency exchange remains out of control, and fuel shortages are imminent. The economic issues stem from the loss of oil revenue after South Sudan's secession in 2011, with the situation exacerbated by a civil war halting oil production in South Sudan. The poorest are severely affected, with some collecting spilled grains to feed themselves.

Egypt mosque terror attack branded an 'unprecedented' atrocity as militants murder 235 people

25 Nov 2017  |  The Independent
Egypt experienced its deadliest terrorist attack in modern history when gunmen assaulted a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula during Friday noon prayers, killing 235 and injuring 109. The attackers used off-road vehicles and blocked escape routes, targeting the al-Rawdah mosque, known for its Sufi congregation. No group has claimed responsibility, but experts suggest Isis's Sinai branch is likely behind it due to their history of violence against Sufis. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared three days of mourning and vowed that the military and police would retaliate. International leaders condemned the attack, while the incident raises concerns about the ongoing violence and the effectiveness of Egypt's military campaign against terrorism in Sinai.

Copts in Egypt are scared and feel unprotected

29 May 2017  |  Trouw
Coptic Christians in the Egyptian village of Nazlet Hanna mourn the loss of seven community members in a recent attack by Islamic State extremists. The attack targeted a bus and a car en route to a monastery in Minya, resulting in 29 fatalities. The assailants forced passengers to recite Islamic prayers and executed those who refused. This incident is the latest in a series of attacks on Copts, heightening their fear and distrust towards the government's ability to provide protection. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's retaliatory bombings in Libya, targeting camps allegedly linked to the attackers, have been met with skepticism. Sectarian tensions in the region have historically led to violence against Copts, who feel hated and mistreated by Muslims.

Radio interview with BBC World Service on the death of 20 football supporters in a stampede in front of a stadium in Egypt in February 2015

Egypt’s Youth and the Pull to Migrate

28 Mar 2016  |  www.atlanticcouncil.org
Egypt faces a significant youth unemployment challenge, with 42 percent of 15-24 year-olds unemployed, prompting many to consider migration. The majority of Egyptian migrants are young males seeking better living standards, often in Arab countries. Education quality and limited job opportunities post-graduation are driving factors for migration. President al-Sisi has made efforts to address youth concerns, including declaring 2016 as the 'year of the youth' and launching initiatives like the Knowledge Bank. However, irregular migration to Europe is on the rise, with the International Organization for Migration advocating for workforce development as a solution to irregular migration.

The Gain of Egypt's Revolution: No Longer Looking Away

28 Jan 2016  |  decorrespondent.nl
Five years after Egypt's revolution, police violence and repression continue unabated, with the state's attempts to suppress dissent seemingly exacerbating the situation. The death of lawyer Kareem Hamdy in police custody and the subsequent investigation highlight ongoing abuses. Despite the risks, citizens, activists, and lawyers are increasingly willing to speak out against such injustices, marking a significant cultural shift from the Mubarak era. While the situation in regular prisons shows some signs of improvement, military prisons like Azouly remain opaque and rife with human rights violations. The article suggests that the willingness of Egyptians to confront these issues may be the true gain of the revolution.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis denies pledging allegiance to ISIS

04 Nov 2014  |  Dailynewsegypt
Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM), a militant group based in Sinai, denied reports of pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) after international media circulated an unsubstantiated statement. ABM has been responsible for several attacks since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Egyptian security forces have been conducting raids in Sinai, where a prominent ABM member, Shahata Farhan Al-Maaqta, was allegedly killed. Zack Gold, an adjunct fellow at the American Security Project, noted that while there is affinity between ABM and ISIS, ABM has consistently denied a formal relationship.
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