As a result of empirical data gathered through sociological surveys, the author argues persuasively that Egyptian economic reform policies – largely based on structural readjustment and rehabilitation programmes devised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank – have adversely affected the most seriously impoverished sectors of Egyptian urban society. The paper examines the correlation between theoretical suppositions of predicted adverse effect on this sector and actual repercussions as evidenced in such indicators as healthcare, sanitation, employment and access to education. While poverty has been a consistent problem and while these policies – which were undertaken in the context of increasing integration into the international market – cannot be blamed for its original occurrence, there is persuasive evidence that they have caused measurable harm, compounded existing inequities and increased the marginalization of Egypt's urban poor who appear to have been among the most adversely affected in the population as a result of the various initiatives.

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