TEXT OF STORY
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The crowds in Cairo and Alexandria and in cities all over Egypt have erupted in jubilation after President Hosni Mubarak announced he is stepping down — that according to the vice president of the country. The ripples are being felt around the world. Certainly in the Middle East.
And Marketplace’s Alisa Roth is with us live from Amman, Jordan with reaction from those quarters.
ALISA ROTH: Hello.
CHIOTAKIS: Is the end of this uncertainty — is this the end of what’s been plaguing the economy now? idea what this new government is going to look like.
ROTH: No, not at all unfortunately. In a lot of ways, there’s more uncertainty. As you said, Mubarak stepped down, but he handed power over to the military. Nobody has any idea what this new government is going to look like. So Egypt could become a democracy — but even if that happens, it’s not going to happen tonight. It’s not going to happen next week. And if it becomes a military dictatorship — well, who knows what that would do to the economy. So while this is clearly good news for the protesters and, maybe, ultimately, good news for the region, it’s way too early to say the uncertainty is gone.
CHIOTAKIS: So Mubarak has stepped down. Do the protesters just go home and say we’re done? What now for the economy?
ROTH: I think it comes back to this idea of uncertainty. It seems like the stock markets are pleased with the news that he’s gone. And that initial excitement could last for awhile. But oil prices fell. And excitement doesn’t sustain an economy. In the long run, it’s really going to come down to who’s in power in Egypt. What does that government look like? How stable is it? Is it pro-foreign investment, is it pro-investment? A lot of the economic problems that got Egypt into this to begin with — you know things like poverty, unemployment, high food prices — those aren’t going to disappear just because Mubarak left. And Egypt still has to convince investors and visitors and everybody else that it’s safe to come back. You know this is an economy that’s heavily dependent on tourism. And it’s also going to need foreign investment to get on its feet. So whoever ends up in charge is going to have a lot of work to do, economy-wise.
CHIOTAKIS: What and I hate to put you on the spot like this Alisa sort of off the cuff, but what’s the reaction been in Jordan. I mean this is just recent news. Have they found out?
ROTH: You know I think they’re hearing the way everybody else hears — watching TV and the like. I know that people were very excited this morning standing outside the Egyptian embassy, making their voices heard and saying, “Hey we want Mubarak out. Get out of here.” So I expect that there’s a lot of excitement all over the region.
CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace’s Alisa Roth joining us Amman, Jordan there in the Middle East –very close to Egypt. And we do appreciate it Alisa.
ROTH: Well, you’re welcome.
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