Hernando de Soto wrote a book published in 2000 called The Mystery of Capital
which followed on his article
in "Finance and Development" (the IMFs quarterly journal). The book can be summarized in
this quote from his journal article:
"Much of the marginalization of the poor in developing and former communist nations comes from their inability to benefit from the six effects that formal property provides. The challenge these countries face is not whether they should produce or receive more money but whether they can understand the legal institutions and summon the political will necessary to build a property system that is easily accessible to the poor."
One of the aspects this book addresses is the fact that the process of registering one's property in many of these nations is extraordinarily complex and time consuming, and thus encourages non-compliance. This image, taken from the book, demonstrates the complexity of legally registering land for use in Egypt. The authors actually went through the process of legally registering for a variety of property types and uses in five countries, of which Egypt was one. Notice in the lower right corner there is a tally - 77 steps and 31 entities had to become involved in order to be fully compliant.
The argument this book makes is that only legally registered land (and all the attendent processes and laws which make it possible for land to be registered) allows for further use of the land/business/whatever. That is, one cannot take out a mortgage, or sell stocks, or anything else, with something one does not own. And because it is so difficult to legally own many things in these countries, their development is stymied.