Egypt: Can austerity measures indirectly curtail population growth?

By Sherif Tarek
Posted on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 18:39

A general view shows a crowd and shops at Al Ataba, a market in central Cairo
A general view shows a crowd and shops at Al Ataba, a market in central Cairo, Egypt February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt has been witnessing economic reforms that have added to its population’s financial woes for over five years. More austerity measures are on the horizon as President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stresses that parents should not count on the state to feed their children.

Deadly so-called “bread riots” infamously erupted across Egypt in 1977 when Anwar el-Sadat cut subsidies for a number of staples, including flour and cooking oil. The unrest forced the late president to backtrack on his decision, which was part of an IMF deal.

The thorny issue was shelved for more than four decades afterwards, until President Sisi, again on the back of IMF agreements, relaunched the decision by slashing 20g from each subsidised loaf of bread last summer.