What pisses me off the most, is when someone who doesn't know what he is talking about, starts lecturing on TV, on how to develop the country. You hear all sorts of advice about moving out of the old Nile Valley and Delta, and how we -Egyptians- have locked ourselves into 4% of the total area of the country. You definitly hear this type of advice from religious people who would also advice other people to create more kids!!!!
To those, I have to ring a bell so that they start waking up; We have not enough Water, and not enough Energy. Our current share in the Nile is about 55 Bn m3/year, which is consumed entirely, divided between Agriculture 91%, Industry 6%, and domestic 3%. There is no way we can expand our share in the Nile, and with the basin countries growing in population, there is even pressure on Egypt to reduce its share. On the Energy front, the situation is not much better! in 30 years, we will run out of both Oil and Gas. To give you an example of what type of Energy we need; 6 or 7 recently planned mega projects, require as much energy as all the energy required for all industries that was built in Egypt since the sixties!!!
The point is that Water and Energy resources that was supporting 20 million people in the 1950's, is now required to support 80 million people in 2007!!!
All the crap about people being an asset and a resource ignores a basic fact, and that is that the quality of the population (40% illiterate) doesn't support this hypothesis! recently, when the Italian embassy wanted to give work visas for Egyptian welders, only 3 out 1000 passed the exam!!!
Back the to the title of my post, the way out!, I think that the only way out is to invest heavily in education, and I mean schools, and technical schools and not universities. I wish we can see model schools with foreign expertise, well equipped labs, and activity rooms. We need to enlarge our technical schooling system. the Mubarak-Cole initiative to enhance technical education in Egypt is a good start, but we need to do more, much more. The culture of the society has to change! I met with graduates of technical schools during my army service time, and they told that they basically didn't (want to) learn anything in their technical school, because, the culture is against it. Something has to be done in this domain.
The other thing is that the government needs to take severe measures to curb population increase! I know that this is a taugh nut to crack, but unless we do that, we are looking at a major disaster in 10 or 20 years. There will be starvation, public unrest, increase in crime, and the country will descend into chaos, religious groups will govern a failed state.