News / Economy

Egypt's Unrest Hurts Economy

A HSBC bank branch remains damaged on the Arcadia shopping center, that was looted, damaged and set on fire by people in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2011.
A HSBC bank branch remains damaged on the Arcadia shopping center, that was looted, damaged and set on fire by people in Cairo, Egypt, January 30, 2011.

With an inflation rate near 13 percent and about 20 percent of Egypt's population living at or below the poverty level,  finding even the most basic necessities has become a daily struggle for many Egyptians. It is a situation many analysts say is bound to get worse the longer the protests continue.

"We've been standing in line for five hours just to get some bread; people are fighting over it. They are not happy with Mubarak. Look what they have gotten us into," said one man/

Although some blame the protests for the food shortages, even more blame President Hosni Mubarak's policies for the decline of Egypt's middle class.  

Elliott Abrams, a foreign policy analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the crisis has been years in the making. "People are asking for two things fundamentally.  They're asking for freedom and they are asking for bread.  Egypt has had a lot of economic growth, a lot of stock market rise, a lot of foreign direct investment.  But, it is not trickling down.  The rich are getting a lot richer; the poor are not getting richer," he said.

Despite economic reforms that have doubled Egypt's Gross Domestic Product since 2004, nearly 40 percent of Egypt's population gets by on less than $2 a day.  

"It used to be that college graduates, they get a sort of basic salary from the government and then they go out and get a second job to make ends meet. Today, people who are graduating in the past three years have a terrible problem getting enough money for housing, for a decent living. This economic discontent is behind the political discontent that is now rocking Egypt," said David Ottaway, the Washington Post's former Cairo Bureau Chief.

The unrest also threatens one of Egypt's most important sources of income - tourism, which supports one in every eight jobs. Thousands of tourists have cancelled visits and airlines say the busiest flights are outbound - as many more try to flee the country.

But at one Cairo's busiest bazaars, Canadian tourist Gary Lion says for now, at least, the protests seem a world away. "Of course we are not really used to what it should look like. This is still reasonably busy but we found the people here very warm and friendly, helpful and we really haven't encountered any problems," he said.

Outside the tourist bubble, Egypt's stock market and banks remained closed on Monday.  Analysts say the government's shutdown of the Internet continues to disrupt commerce - hurting thousands of companies that use the Internet to buy and sell goods.

Despite the tumultuous events that have rocked the country, Egypt's Suez Canal, a key passage for nearly 10 percent of the world's oil and other commodities, remains open.

But some are starting to question whether the canal will continue to remain isolated from the unrest.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8845
JPY
USD
117.71
GBP
USD
0.6643
CAD
USD
1.2669
INR
USD
62.019

Rates may not be current.