THE RISE OF NORTH AFRICA
As Egypt goes so goes North Africa and likely the Middle East. When I visited the country, just a few weeks after the Tahrir Square revolution, Egypt was still not going anywhere.
The decision to visit Egypt so soon after the revolution was not an easy one. My job requires me to be on the cutting edge of market events anywhere in the world. And Egypt was and is in the midst of possibly the greatest revolution of our time: the transformation of the Arab world. If it fails, the world will be a worse place to live in, with uncertainty in natural resource supply, religious intolerance, and the affirmation of cultural backwardation for hundreds of millions of people—women especially. My publisher, colleague, and friend Robert Williams called me on my phone. “We need to go to Egypt,” he said. I answered, “Who’s we?” Of course I knew who “we” was, but it was funny nonetheless. I had some contacts in the region and our goal was to get a feel for the country and its investment outlook. Egypt’s proximity to major oil producing countries like Libya, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf nations makes it the perfect place to visit to gather intelligence without having to wait a month for a visa or getting hit by an errant NATO shell aimed at a Libyan dictator.
Within 72 hours of our conversation I was at the airport. Then the problems began. Weather delays, mechanical problems, and two missed flights as a result, were going to put me on the ground in Cairo ...