Parallel structures in the Egyptian government bureaucracy: A problematic quick fix

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Public Policy & Administration Department

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Research Article

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Public Administration

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This paper investigates the proliferation of parallel structures - also known as project implementation units (PIUs) and technical offices (TOs) - within the Egyptian public administration system and the pressures since the 1990s that have led to their increasing numbers, including the current political turmoil. To determine whether these structures are a viable tool for the implementation of reform in Egypt, the paper examines international experience, analyses the literature, and assesses the results of a brief survey of staff working in the traditional bureaucracy and those in parallel structures. The paper concludes that while PIUs may sometimes be necessary for initiating reform in the short term, long term sustainable reform requires genuine commitment of both donor and recipient governments to improve governance, build capacity within the traditional national institutions, apply performance management with a focus on policy impacts, and adopt alternative mechanisms in implementing development projects such as general budget support. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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