MIDEAST MONEY-Rising Arab Islamist parties woo private sector

Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:00pm GMT
 

* Parties espouse free markets, private investment, deregulation

* Turkey, not Iran, to be model for North Africa

* Islamic finance to coexist with conventional banking

* But political agendas could affect free trade commitment

* Biggest policy risk may be budget deficits

By Andrew Torchia

Nov 23 (Reuters) - Hassan Malek, one of the top financiers and business advisors of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, describes his movement's economic policy agenda: free trade, more manufacturing investment, and a crackdown on the corruption that has plagued business.

Islamic banking would be offered alongside conventional banking, as it is in Malaysia. The movement would advise citizens on lifestyle issues such as alcohol consumption and Islamic attire, but not impose rules.

"We want to attract as much foreign investment as possible...and this needs a big role for the private sector," Malek, a businessman with interests in textiles and furniture, told Reuters. He was jailed by Hosni Mubarak's government in 2006 and released after the former president resigned.   Continued...

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