“Choosing Our Future”: Global Best Practices and Local Planning in the Egypt Human Development Report

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Since the 1990s, the UN has introduced several initiatives to promote global governance worldwide. The article examines one such initiative, the Human Development Report, in a local context and through analysis of the Egypt Human Development Reports (EHDR) between the years 1994 and 2010, probing into how newly established global best practices resonated in this flagship of Egyptian socioeconomic planning. The Human Development Report raises poignant questions about the interrelations between this new initiative of global governance and processes of economic and political neoliberalization in Egypt and worldwide. The article demonstrates how a seeming paradigmatic shift in development economics—a search for development with a human face—ended up supporting an existing model of economic reform and structural adjustment. Particular attention is paid to the role assigned to economic and political choice in planning, and how the new global best practices put forward in the EHDR limited the project’s potential implementation.