News / Economy

Egyptians Wonder if Sissi Can Heal Egypt's Economic Woes

Egyptians Wonder if Sissi Can Heal Egypt's Economic Woesi
X
Heather Murdock
June 02, 2014 6:55 PM
During his campaign, Egypt's president-elect Abdel Fattah el-Sissi promised to heal the nation's ailing economy. And, while many Egyptians have high hopes for newfound safety and prosperity, Sissi has called on Egyptians to make sacrifices and warned it will take years to reform the economy. But after three years of upheaval and no clear economic program, how much sacrifice can they take? Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Cairo.
Heather Murdock
During his campaign, Egypt's president-elect Abdel Fattah el-Sissi promised to heal the nation's ailing economy. And while many Egyptians have high hopes for newfound safety and prosperity, Sissi has called on Egyptians to make sacrifices, warning it will take years to reform the economy.

After three years of upheaval and no clear economic program, however, it's unclear how much more such sacrifice they can take.
 
Once popular with tourists, this market has mostly local shoppers a few days after the presidential election. Sissi has been declared the winner. Pre-election pro-Sissi music still blares on the streets.
 
Locals say the tourism industry, like others in Egypt, has flat-lined [disappeared].

Poor business

Ahmed Alaa makes traditional boxes and games out of wood and mother-of-pearl. He said business has been bad since the 2011 revolution.

“Before the revolution we was working very much, and there were many tourists in Egypt. But after the revolution we feel very, very bad because the economy in Egypt - it’s not only the tourist [industry] -- everything is damaged and everything [has fallen] down," said Alaa.

Sissi’s ideas to improve the economy already were in play before the votes were counted. The government plans to cut subsidies and reduce the national deficit.  
 
Mohammad Gad is a senior economic reporter at el-Sharouk, a prominent Egyptian newspaper. He said the plan could backfire, and a large reduction in fuel subsidies could cause even more unrest.

“To some degree this is an unprecedented move by the Egyptian state to deal with the subsidy, but without having a clear vision and alternative policies that would ease the economic pressure on both people in dire poverty and the middle class, it could bring down the social system," said Gad.

Despite widespread poverty, the incoming president has called for sacrifices from the Egyptian people, suggesting they eat less food, walk more and use less electricity to help their economy recover.
 
He said he will significantly improve the economy and the security situation within two years.

“The Egyptians expected a lot of things.During two revolutions they were aspiring for bread, freedom, social justice. The Egyptians wanted to live like this.I need to give them security and stability and complete development," said Sissi.
 
Limited patience

But activists say the Egyptian public will not wait two years for change.  

Human rights worker Abdelrahman Hany said the public will lose patience.

“People will take to the streets for two reasons: first regarding Sissi, because he would not fulfill everything he promised regarding economic recovery, or take the first steps towards economic recovery," said Hany.
 
Sissi will be Egypt’s third president in three-and-a-half years after the last two were ousted following popular protests. Sissi, the former army chief and defense minister, has been running the country since the army imprisoned former president Mohamed Morsi last July.
 
Thousands of people have been killed or arrested since then, accused of being associated with Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Despite the turmoil, and an income of less than $150 a month, the wood craftsman Ahmed said for now he can live with some sacrifices.
 
“We need to work more and we need to give Egypt more because we can change the life, different than now, you know," he said.

Ahmed also worried that the people will not have the patience to wait for reforms. In the meantime, though, he hopes that at least with a real president in charge again, some tourists will return to his market.

You May Like

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Multimedia Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalistsi
X
May 04, 2015 3:32 PM
Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8916
JPY
USD
118.82
GBP
USD
0.6479
CAD
USD
1.2019
INR
USD
63.500

Rates may not be current.