Capital Center for Studies Wins 2022 Middle East & North Africa Liberty Award
Every year as part of the Templeton Freedom Award Prize Program—generously sponsored by the Templeton Religion Trust—Atlas Network honors and rewards six think tanks around the world through the Regional Liberty Awards. Capital Center for Studies (Egypt) is the winner of this year’s Middle East and North Africa Liberty Award and its US$5,000 prize.
By the time the Egyptian government reached the decision in 2020 to liquidate the Egyptian Steel Company—a state-owned enterprise—the company’s losses had reached 9 billion Egyptian pounds. Despite the fact that the company had been operating at a loss for ten years, the government’s decision was unpopular with both the media and the public. Members of parliament faced backlash from many people worried about potential job losses from the reorganization of state assets.
Capital Center for Studies, an Atlas Network partner based in Cairo, saw the government’s approach to the Egyptian Steel Company as a productive step toward a more market-based economy. They launched their “What is Seen and What is Not Seen” educational project to show everyday Egyptians the reality of losses incurred by state-owned enterprises and how privatization could lead to a more prosperous country. Capital Center published a research report on the Egyptian Steel Company’s losses, including breakdowns by day and even hour, equipping friendly members of parliament to make the case for continuing with the liquidation. For example, they showed that the losses incurred by just two state-owned factories could fund COVID-19 vaccines for Egypt’s poorest regions or over one hundred classrooms.
The organization’s case for privatization gained significant media traction. Capital Center worked with one senator whose public debates and tv interviews on the topic reached millions of people. Ultimately, their work turned the tide in favor of liquidation, and the government successfully carried out its original decision on the Egyptian Steel Company. Capital Center for Studies’ work helped shift both public opinion and the opinions of lawmakers toward privatizing loss-incurring state-owned enterprises, a critical success in creating a more prosperous, market-friendly Egypt.