Dona Alaa Ali


One major problem facing Egypt is improper allocation of the country’s resources that potentially enhancing Egypt’s development. The Suez Canal Zone is one of these misused resources. In recent years, the Suez Canal area has not been efficiently exploited in parallel to its geographical importance in the world trade route. Thus, it is essential to set a sustainable development strategy and implemented it properly in order to upgrade this area and reap its potential advantages which may contribute to the country prosperity. Unless the Suez Canal region is efficiently managed, Egypt risks losing valuable development opportunities. This research argues that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) could offer a successful way to drive sustainable development in the country, provided this economic zone is appropriately established and customized to fits Egypt needs. The concept of SEZs is gaining global recognition and acceptance, particularly since its successful performance in the Asian Tigers countries, amongst others. Despite these achievements, SEZs in certain developing countries have negatively impacted on the sustainable national growth. Because there is no unified model to suit every situation, it is essential to plan a well-defined framework in the Suez Canal economic zone (SCZone) that supports inclusive growth in Egypt generally and in the Suez Canal region particularly. Such a framework could be built around a long-term commitment which supports economic growth in Egypt, relying on solid social and environmental standards. This dissertation focused on analyzing the role of the current Egyptian special economic zones in achieving its objective, and accordingly proposed a sustainable strategy that supports Egypt vision 2030 in the SCZone. Ultimately, this dissertation found that during 2002-2018 period, SEZs in the Suez Canal region have a significant positive impact on the economic growth whereas they have a significant negative effect on the social and environmental standards. Thus, for making growth more inclusive, the government should have more responsibility for improving the human capital and supporting clean production practices in the SCZone.

Degree Name

MS in Sustainable Development

Graduation Date


Submission Date

September 2019

First Advisor

Ahmed El Safty, Mina Ayad

Committee Member 1

Shah, Ali

Committee Member 2

Sahlool, Ahmed


112 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


This research would not have been possible without the guidance and support of many people whom I highly gratitude for. Foremost, I would like to offer a special thanks to my advisor Dr. Ahmed El Safty for his tremendous efforts and time dedicated from day one to shape the way that approached my thesis. Your guidance, patience and motivation have helped me throughout the research. I could not imagine having better mentor for my study than you. Beside my advisor, I would like to thank Dr. Mina Ayad who assist me developing all the econometric models in such a high standard. I cannot forget to thank Dr. Rania Roushdy from the Economic department, and Dr. Salah El Hagger, Dr. Tamer El khouly, and Dr. Ahmed El Gendy from the Engineering department, for providing me tools to choose the right directions to successfully complete my dissertation. I would like to seize this opportunity to thank Mohammed Khaled the program coordinator for his endless cooperation. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge my friends and collogues in the Center of sustainable development Sara Harb, Ahmed Tarek, Dina Baha, Loay Maher, and Amira El Barmelgy for your continuous encouragement and ultimate assistance. You have stood by my side all the times, and I have learned greatly from you guys. Definitely, above all, I express my deep gratitude to my family for all love, support, prayers and encouragement. Especially, my husband Mustafa, my beloved daughter Talia, my mother, my sister, and my mother in law. You have supported me throughout my entire journey and words cannot describe how am I grateful to all of you. Mustafa, you are the most motivational person, and you know that I would not have reached to this stage without you by my side. My pretty, cute girl Talia, I love you more than you can imagine. Thank you dear for being such a kind girl in hard times. Mom, sister and all above mentioned, I really owe sincere gratitude for bearing me through the thick and thin no matter what. Finally, I am grateful to the American university in Cairo that granted me the opportunity to study and work with some of the best and brightest cadres in the academic field. Thanks God for all these blessings. Dedication It is with pride and affection that I dedicated this thesis to my dear father who passed away a few months ago. My father was immensely proud that his daughter was working on her master degree. Until the last moment in the hospital, he was asking me if I have finished my thesis or not. He was always believed in my ability to be a successful person. My father is gone but his belief in my success in the academic arena has made this journey possible. I am really sorry that my father did not get to see my completed dissertation. So, this work is for you dad. I wrote this dissertation while you are around all the time. Every single moment you have been around inspired me and encouraged me to finish what you have always asked me to finish. Thank you for everything. You held my hand for a short while, but you will hold my heart forever. Rest in peace Insha'Allah, Alaa El Din Mohammed Ali (1959, 2019).