In 2019 CAPMAS released a report estimating the percentage of extreme poverty amongst the Egyptian public at 32.5%; one in every three Egyptian lives on 1.45$ a day. In 2017 a United Nations report highlighted that on average 40,000 Egyptian died because of pollution. Those figures represent the consequences of a cumulative “development” process that encompassed the economic, political and legal fields. In particular, the thesis focuses on the role of the New Commercial Law in disadvantaging vulnerable segments of the population and leading them to prison. I argue that the use of law as a tool of development in the context of neo-liberal reform has led to paradoxical outcomes that contributed to the underdevelopment of Egypt. Legal reforms under the umbrella of the liberal “rule of law” constitute the laws of poverty. This research sheds light on the role of “rule of law” as a pathway to economic development. It argues that “rule of law” projects must be designed with consideration to distributional outcomes. Those distributional outcomes could lead to creditor having the power to call upon the state to jail a debtor, they can also result in favoring certain economic sectors over others(non productive visa vis productive).


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Law Department

Degree Name

MA in International Human Rights Law

Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2021

Submission Date


First Advisor

Hany Sayed

Committee Member 1

Hany Sayed

Committee Member 2

Jason Beckett

Committee Member 3

Nesrin Badawi


93 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item