After the revolution - Starvation and regret become commonplace in Egypt
Hopes that new regime would revitalize economy have all been dashed
Egypt, both the Arab world and Africa's most populous nation rose up to
depose President Hosni Mubarak two years ago, hopes ran high that a new
regime would usher in a new era of economic prosperity. Nothing could
be further from the truth, as the Egyptian economy has stagnated, the
country's currency lost much of its value and inflation bumped up food
Egypt today is a Land of Want. While the government currently subsidizes basic types of bread, other staples are becoming more expensive.
Egypt today is a Land of Want. While the government currently subsidizes basic types of bread, other staples are becoming more expensive. Kidney bean prices grew by nearly 24 percent in the year to March; onions were up 12 percent and tomatoes 10.1 percent.
Dr. Nadia Belhaj Hassine, of the International Economic Research Center blames most of Egypt's woes on the "huge problem of inexperienced government." The overall global downturn, regional turmoil and Islamist rhetoric has frightened away international investors.
"They are not aware of what has been done in the past and what should be done," she said. "They don't have any vision about what kind of economic reforms to undertake in the short and long term and how to improve the investment environment."
Some pin hopes on a $4.8-billion International Monetary Fund loan will help stabilize the economy, but the deal has not been signed. Foreign reserves, which were $36 billion in 2011, now stand at $13.5 billion, just enough for three months of such crucial imports as wheat and gas.
The Egyptian pound in the meantime has lost 13 percent of its value against the dollar in the past year, making essentials more expensive, hitting families particularly hard.
Around a quarter of the Egyptian population lives below the poverty line. Another 20 percent hover just above it. There are also indications that there are malnutrition rates of around 30 percent are also on the increase, he said.
Poverty and malnutrition has visible and long-term effects, Gian Pietro Bordignon, World Food Program country director says.
"Without essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, children cannot grow their brain potential. They have a lower academic performance," he said. "Malnutrition is not only a personal problem of human suffering but impacts the nation as a whole."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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