"Asked about the troubled Egyptian economy, the recently appointed prime minister, Kamal Al Ganzouri, began to cry.
Mr Al Ganzouri, 78, told reporters in Cairo that the situation was "worse than anyone can imagine".
If the facts did not bear him out, his comments could have been mistaken for a political trick to help quell protests destabilising the country's democratic transition nine months after Hosni Mubarak was forced from power by a popular uprising. Economic data show the country on the verge of a downturn that could have lasting implications for Egypt's political future.
Tourism revenues were expected to drop by a third to about US$9 billion (Dh33bn) compared with 2010. (...)
New investments into Egypt have reversed, with $65 million flowing out of the country in the first half of this year compared with a $4.2bn inflow in the same period in 2010. The economy grew at just 1.2 per cent in 2011, down from 5.1 per cent in 2010, according to IMF data.
This is having a devastating effect on unemployment, which rose to 11.9 per cent in the third quarter, up from 8.9 per cent in the same quarter of 2010, according to Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics. (...)
Ahmed Borai, the former minister of manpower, warned this summer that "if there is no real movement to realise social justice, then we will also face the 'Revolution of the Hungry'", calling unemployment one of the worst problems in the Egyptian economy." (Bradley Hope/The National)