Liberalization reform, "Neo-centralism", and black market: the political diseconomy of Lake Nasser fishery development

Despite its relatively modest importance, and the current difficulties faced by the government in implementing liberalization in the rest of the country, the Egyptian government 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 institutioinal 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.


Béné, C., Bandi, B., Durville, F. (2008)
Water Alternatives 1(2):219-235