Following months of delay and popular demands that he submit his candidacy for the presidency, Sisi finally resigned from his post as commander-in-chief of the armed forces March 26 in anticipation of running in the presidential elections scheduled for May.
Sisi, who led the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi last July, is facing a range of challenges that might put him in an awkward position with his base, which hopes he will solve the deteriorating economic situation. These high hopes led Sisi to emphasize, in his resignation speech, that he did not “possess miracle cures.” He did not mention hiseconomic reform policy.
“The Egyptian economy is suffering from crushing crises that all governments that came to rule after the January revolution were unable to contend with, despite announcements pertaining to a number of strategies aimed at raising the efficiency of the country’s economy,” Sharif Jaballah, an economist and researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Al-Monitor.
“The real challenge facing Sisi will be to achieve palpable progress in solving the economic problems, in a manner that would directly impact the lives of Egyptian citizens, instead of merely proposing plans and policies,” he added.
The state’s 2013-2014 draft general budget noted a number of economic problems, most important among them the state budget deficit’s rise to 167 billion Egyptian pounds ($23.9 billion), the equivalent of 11% of the GDP. Furthermore, total public debt grew to approximately 1.31 trillion Egyptian pounds ($187 billion), or 85% of GDP. Meanwhile, the cost of public debt alone doubled to reach 25% of the state’s public expenditures, estimated at 104 billion Egyptian pounds ($14.9 billion), in addition to the debt incurred by economic institutions owned by the state.