The Nationalization of the Suez Canal referred to the transfer of the ownership, control, management and financing of the Suez Canal into the hands of the Egyptian government. It took place in July 1956.
REASONS FOR THE NATIONALISATION OF THE SUEZ CANAL
- The failure of the British to respect the 1936 Anglo – Egyptian agreement. It should be recalled that the British entered an agreement to construct the canal and upon completion, the British were to take 40% and Egyptian economy was to take 60% however, this was not respected hence the nationalization.
- The strong anti – colonial feelings of Nasser contributed to the nationalization of the canal. This is evidenced when Nasser gave military and financial support to the Africans in Kenya against British and the FLN of Algeria against French.
- Nasser’s recognition of the Bandung conference contributed to the nationalization of the canal. The conference emphasized positive neutrality of Africans against colonial masters i.e. capitalism which was being preached by the British hence the nationalization policy.
- The need to provide employment opportunities and generation of revenue compelled Nasser to nationalize the canal. Nasser reasoned that the expulsion of the British workers would create employment opportunities to the Egyptians, Egypt would be able to across the canal leading to nationalization.
- Nasser’s arms deals with Czechoslovakia contributed to the nationalization policy. Czech Republic supported the policy of communism which had been embraced by Nasser which contradicted with capitalism. This inevitably caused the nationalization policy.
- The withdrawal of the offer of the financial assistance for the construction of the Aswan High Dam made nationalization inevitable. Egypt under Nasser had applied for a financial loan in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. However, this had been blocked by USA and British hence the nationalization of the Canal to generate the funds to construct the dam.
- Nasser’s wish to establish his superiority in Egypt and in the Middle East led to the nationalization policy. It should be noted that Nasser attempted to establish the Arab League i.e. the composition of Arab countries in Africa and the Middle East and to sustain this program required money hence the nationalization principle.
- Nasser nationalized the Canal for personal reasons and prestige. It ought to be noted that Nasser wanted to consolidate his power by generating money from the Canal Zone hence nationalization policy.
- The need to increase the amount of the irrigable land in Egypt made nationalization inevitable. There was need to generate water from the Suez zone, Red sea and Mediterrean sea hence the nationalization of the canal to ensure food security.
- The impact of the Constantinople Convention made the nationalization policy inevitable. Articles in the convention emphasized the respect or property of independent countries and therefore Gamel Nasser based on the convention to nationalize the canal.
- Egypt’s military skills in Africa contributed to the nationalization of the canal. It ought to be noted that Gamel Nasser had established a strong army which he used to support African nationalists. This military strength gave Nasser confidence to nationalize the canal.