The Perplexing State of Egypt’s Economy

The economic turmoil that has engulfed Egypt has reached alarming proportions, with the country facing an economic crisis that has resulted in widespread hunger and poverty. The situation has become so dire that the government has recommended that people cook chicken feet, which are typically reserved for pets, as a source of protein. This has caused outrage and increased criticism of the government.

The root cause of Egypt’s economic woes is a complex issue with various contributing factors. Inflation is soaring, with Egypt experiencing a rate of just over 30% in March. Basic staples such as cooking oil and cheese have become unaffordable for many people, and the price of some products has doubled or tripled in a matter of months. This has made it difficult for people to feed their families.

The Bursting Causes of Egypt’s Economic Woes

Egypt’s over-reliance on imported food is one of the primary reasons for its economic struggles. Even the grain used to feed chickens is shipped in. The Egyptian pound lost half of its value compared to the US dollar last year, and the government’s decision to devalue the currency again in January pushed the cost of imports like grain even higher.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi often blames the turmoil that followed the 2011 Egyptian uprising and rapid population growth for the country’s current economic problems. However, analysts suggest that government missteps have worsened the economic situation. The power and influence of the presidency, military, security, and intelligence agencies have grown under President Sisi’s leadership. This has resulted in the expansion of regime-owned enterprises, with the military receiving state contracts for large infrastructure projects. Private sector involvement has decreased significantly, with non-regime-affiliated companies unable to compete. Foreign investors have also deserted Egypt.

The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have also contributed to the economic crisis. The complex interplay of these factors has led to a bursting crisis with no easy solutions.

The Impact of Egypt’s Economic Woes

The impact of Egypt’s economic struggles has been widespread and severe. The country has requested a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) four times in the past six years, and nearly half of the state’s revenue goes towards paying back these debts, which account for 90% of GDP. Gulf countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia are helping to support Egypt, but they have tightened their conditions for further investments.

Western countries and Gulf neighbors are concerned about the potential fallout if Egypt were to fail. Previous economic hardship has led to riots and contributed to the fall of former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi. There are already signs of growing public anger over the economy, which could lead to unrest.

The Human Cost of Egypt’s Economic Crisis

The human cost of Egypt’s economic crisis has been devastating. Many families are struggling to feed themselves, and some are turning to chicken feet as a source of protein. For many people, meat has become a luxury item, and even a single egg can be expensive. Some people can only afford lentil soup. The economic situation has caused great hardship for families like Wedad’s, a mother-of-three in her sixties. She used to live comfortably on her monthly pension of LE5,000 but now struggles to make ends meet.

The upcoming Ramadan season is approaching, and Wedad is worried that even chicken will soon be off the menu. The toll on human life and dignity is immense, and the situation calls for urgent action.

The Future of Egypt’s Economy

The outlook for Egypt’s economy is uncertain. The government’s missteps, reliance on imports, and the pandemic have all contributed to the current crisis. It remains to be seen if Egypt can recover from its economic woes and provide its people with the basic necessities of life.

The Hopeful Future of Egypt’s Economy

Despite the challenges, there is hope for the future of Egypt’s economy. The country has a large, young population that is highly educated and entrepreneurial. The government is working to attract foreign investment and promote private sector growth. There are also efforts underway to develop the country’s agricultural sector and reduce its reliance on imports.

In addition, many organizations and individuals are working to address the immediate needs of those affected by the economic crisis. These include charities, NGOs, and community groups that provide food and other essential items to families in need.

While the road ahead may be difficult, there is hope that Egypt can overcome its economic challenges and build a better future for its people. With a concerted effort and strategic planning, the country can turn this economic crisis into an opportunity for growth and development. The people of Egypt deserve a brighter future, and it is up to everyone to work together to make it a reality.