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Égypt-actus
Égypt-actus
revue de presse sur l'actualité culturelle, archéologique, politique et sociale de l'Égypte
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Dans la ville du Caire, beaucoup d'habitants se débrouillent comme ils peuvent, sans l'aide de l'Etat.

Dans la ville du Caire, beaucoup d'habitants se débrouillent comme ils peuvent, sans l'aide de l'Etat. | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

For the residents of the Middle East andAfrica’s largest city, Cairo, 2013 ended with the often repeated government promise to finally provide basic services and development in the slums, where half of the city’s residents live. 

But instead of waiting for Prime Minister Hazem Al-Beblawi’s slum renewal project, announced in November, to bear fruit, many are simply coping as best they can without the state. 

When basic services are lacking, it is often down to slum dwellers to use their own initiative. They dig land, construct septic tanks and water pipes, install storage barrels, and raise community funds to get private engineers to build sewage pipes and connect them to the main network. 

“These communities have an inherent self-reliance in finding ways to get by,” said Thomas Culhane, co-founder of Solar CITIES, an NGO that invests in solar and renewable energy in poor communities. 

Few sit around waiting for the government to fulfil its promises. 

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Tensions sociales et grande pauvreté

Tensions sociales et grande pauvreté | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Des heurts avec la police ont éclaté à l'issue d'une manifestation ce dimanche 7 avril au Caire. Des milliers de personnes ont scandé des slogans contre le pouvoir islamiste après les funérailles de quatre Coptes. Des chrétiens d'Egypte tués au cours de violences confessionnelles survenues vendredi soir dans le gouvernorat de Qalyoubia, au nord de la capitale. Hier déjà, plusieurs villes égyptiennes ont été le théâtre de violences. A l'occasion du 5e anniversaire du Mouvement du 6 avril, l'opposition hostile au président islamiste s'étaient mobilisée. Au moins 8 personnes ont été blessées. Le pays vit une période de grandes turbulences sociales. Les Egyptiens sont inquiets, à la fois par la situation économique dégradée du pays et par le programme d'austérité que réclame le FMI.

La grogne, le mécontentement gagnent du terrain en Egypte. Depuis un an, les prix de la viande, du poisson, des produits laitiers, des pâtes n'ont cessé d'augmenter. La farine et le sucre de plus de 50%, les concombres et les pommes de terre de 100%. Et pour de nombreux Egyptiens qui vivaient des mille et un services rendus aux touristes, l'heure est au chômage et au désoeuvrement. Car la plupart des tour-opérateurs ne viennent plus en Egypte. Résultat : la misère gagne du terrain dans ce pays où des dizaines de millions d'Egyptiens vivent depuis toujours dans une grande pauvreté. Selon le rapport annuel du Fonds des Nations unies pour la Population, 23% des Egyptiens survit avec moins de deux dollars par jour. Et pour ne rien arranger, partout le diesel manque, de nombreuses stations d'essence sont fermées, ce qui a pour conséquences des coupures de courant, des transports perturbés et beaucoup de chômage technique en ville mais aussi à la campagne où les agriculteurs manquent de carburant pour faire tourner leurs tracteurs.


Evelyne Herber / Arte Journal

Plus : http://www.arte.tv/fr/tensions-sociales-et-grande-pauvrete/7440292.html

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Egypt’s future in a brave little girl’s hands

Egypt’s future in a brave little girl’s hands | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

As soon as I landed in Cairo, I could feel the heaviness of life, economy, politics and breath. It didn’t take long for the first Egyptian to blurt out that things were “better under Mubarak’s dictatorship than they are in the Muslim Brotherhood’s lair.” A slew of similar observations followed, mostly from poor people like a taxi driver who told me he sometimes works all day long to barely avoid sending his kids to sleep hungry. Not that life was much better before, but now they are “unbearable,” he said as he asked god’s forgiveness for wishing death over “this life of indignity!”

 

After spending a few days around Cairo the reality sinks in: Egypt is at a dangerously boiling point only waiting for a major explosion to occur, and its people are on edge. We’ve seen the danger and insecurity in the streets where knife-wielding gangs break into groups. The outcome can be anything between intimidation and threats until they’re paid off to leave or beating and even killing.

 

In other places, an intimidation of a different kind: Thousands of street vendors relentlessly and hopelessly pushing products to uninterested people.


A little girl fighting to make ends meet

In the midst of despair, I heard a girl’s voice threatening a male, “Get your hands off me. I’ll beat you up and break your arm if you touch me.”
I was shocked to find a little girl single-handedly fighting off a large man wanting to beat her up. This is no place for an unaccompanied minor to be fending off harassment, the kind Egypt has been plagued with for decades and much older and stronger women are trying to fight with hardly any success at all.

For the sake of this piece, I will refer to 9-year-old as Rajaa and I won't disclose her location to protect her identity.


Wishing for a better future

She clung to me for hours; we talked a lot during my journalistic assignment, before she herself became the subject of this column. Around me, she was polite, kind and smart. She shared her dreams and wishes: If she had 50 Pounds (about $8), she would buy a toy and sell it to a passerby.

 

More on: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2013/03/26/Egypt-s-future-in-a-brave-little-girl-s-hands.html

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Protocole pour la protection des enfants travailleurs

Protocole pour la protection des enfants travailleurs | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Egypt-actus's insight:
Un mémorandum d’entente a été signé entre le ministère égyptien de la Main-d’œuvre et le Programme international pour l'abolition du travail des enfants (IPEC), avec la participation notamment de l’Unicef, l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIT) et le Programme Alimentaire Mondial (PAM), avec une consolidation du ministère américain du Travail.



Le protocole se focalise surtout sur certaines régions en Egypte, notamment les plus pauvres, dont Assiout, où le nombre d’enfants travailleurs est flagrant et où le taux de paupérisme atteint plus de 61% de la population. Les chiffres sur ce gouvernorat sont vraiment choquants, puisque les taux d’analphabétisme atteignent les 35%, notamment chez les 15-35 ans, étant donné que cette ville, comme regrette son gouverneur, “a longuement souffert de marginalisation, ce qui a contribué à baisser les conditions de vie”. (Le Progrès égyptien) 
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Egyptians get more desperate as inflation and poverty bite

Egyptians get more desperate as inflation and poverty bite | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egypt has enough money for three months' supplies. What then?

Egyptians suffering deprivation and strife over the past two years have revived the original slogan of the 2011 uprising, “Bread, freedom and dignity”.

While revolutionaries in the streets continue demanding “freedom and dignity”, workers with and without jobs simply cry “bread”.

Hassan, a chef, says costs are rising “day by day. I used to give my wife 400 [Egyptian] pounds for shopping for two weeks. Now we buy the same amount of food for 800-1,000.

“For two years we have bought no clothes,” he says.

His eldest daughter, aged 24, is an elementary school teacher. The youngest, at 17, is still in school.

Hassan’s wife keeps refilling a prescription obtained from a doctor two years ago without returning to see if she still needs the medication because the family cannot afford another consultation. Hassan, who lives in Helwan outside metropolitan Cairo, has to travel an hour and a half to get to his job. “The metro [ticket price] is the same but the bus fare is higher,” he says.

“Many factories have closed in Helwan,” once famous for its steel works, “and many people have lost their jobs.”

 

Ahmad, a driver and father of two, complains of the rising cost of diesel, petrol, and cooking gas, and long queues at service stations. He has a son at university and another at school. Fees are backbreaking.

 

More on: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2013/0211/1224329906137.html

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Mursi splashes the cash as many Egyptians can’t afford to eat

Mursi splashes the cash as many Egyptians can’t afford to eat | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Reports that Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi recently sent his family and friends on an expensive vacation that consisted of a private jet ride to the Red Sea resort town of Taba and the booking of 12 rooms at the Hilton has caused outrage in country, battered by an ongoing political and economic crisis.

Earlier this week, an official at the Taba resort told the Egyptian newspaper, Almasry Alyoum, that Mursi’s family arrived on Wednesday.

The official also said Mursi’s family reserved 12 rooms at the Hilton Hotel, which overlooks the Red Sea, and in addition to the Mursi clan wives of officials from the Freedom and Justice Party came to stay.

Egyptian screenwriter Wahed Hamed on Sunday spoke out against the alleged luxurious vacation.. Hamed, in remarks published in the Egyptian daily Al-Shrouq, asked who was paying the bill for the 12 reserved rooms.

“The country is poor, and the [rate of hunger] increases every day. Mursi’s [financial] resources do not allow these huge expenses. And since when has Mursi’s family traveled via a private jet?” he added.

Almasry Alyoum reported the president’s family, as well as the others who accompanied them, returned to Cairo on Saturday afternoon, on a private jet.

An official at the Smart Aviation Company said expenses for the flight per hour costs 6,000 U.S dollars. The official added that the total cost encompasses the time from when the jet was prepared for travel and until it lands at its destination.

Radwan Salam, head of the Smart Aviation Company, said he did not know who rented the jet which Mursi’s family boarded, Almasry Alyoum added.

During an interview with the channel An-Nahar on Saturday evening, Hamed, the Egyptian screen writers, acknowledged that Mursi’s wife, Najlaa Mahmoud, may have “nothing to do with politics.” But she “must look at the poor citizens.”

Reports on the alleged expenses of the vacation were also not well-received on the social networking website Twitter. One user tweeted: “I thank all the respectful citizens who paid the price for the Taba vacation.”

Another wrote: “All of this is from the citizens’ pockets.”

News of the president’s family’s vacation comes during a week of deadly clashes, which killed at least one leaving up to 48 people injured. On Friday, heated demonstrations kicked of riots between security forces and protestors in front of the presidential palace.

The clashes came amid anti- Mursi rallies in several cities following the unrest that killed 56 people, mostly in Port Said. Residents and families of 21 residents sentenced to death over a football-related riot in 2012 sparked the recent turbulence in the country.

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Under Egypt's political unrest seethes the rising anger of the poor

Under Egypt's political unrest seethes the rising anger of the poor | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Hands caked in plaster, hammers scattered at his side, Yousry Abdelaziz toils away almost forgotten in a workshop at the edge of a shantytown that echoes with gunshots and the hollers of boys peddling cabbages in the middle of the night.

The car mechanic next door is faring no better, even with his new marketing gimmick, a sculpture of mufflers and silver pipes twisting like fingers into the sky. A man has to try something to call attention to his business as the inflation rate rises, the Egyptian pound tumbles and sparse ingredients make subsidized bread as thin as paper.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Nationwide riots protesting President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-linked party have swept Egypt in recent days, killing more than 50 people, most of them in the coastal city of Port Said. Since its revolution two years ago, the country has been overwhelmed by ideological battles between liberals and Islamists, its ambitions obscured by clouds of tear gas and flashes of gasoline bombs.

But at the heart of the discontent is public anger over the battered economy, specifically the president's failure to improve the lives of millions of people like Abdelaziz who voted for him last year.

The stock exchange is wildly erratic, foreign reserves have plummeted and commodity prices are up. Crowds protesting unemployment — officially at 12.5% — have demonstrated against local governments across the country. Strikes for higher wages have spread from doctors to bill collectors to millworkers.

The Brotherhood often appears to be without answers, and steps it may need to take in the near future will only cause more pain. A series of austerity measures, including new taxes and cuts in subsidies, are expected before Egypt receives a $4.8-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

The economic problems are dire enough that in the midst of the current wave of unrest, Morsi made a quick trip to Germany on Wednesday to try to expand trade. Qatari royals visited Cairo last month and promised $2.5 billion in loans and investments to stave off bankruptcy. Analysts speculate about whether a new revolution of the poor will rise from the nation's slums.

 

More : http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-egypt-broken-economy-20130203,0,4495326.story

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‘No Glimmers of Hope’: Two Years After Egypt’s Revolution, an Economic Crisis Looms

‘No Glimmers of Hope’: Two Years After Egypt’s Revolution, an Economic Crisis Looms | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Ramadan Khalaf Amin, 24, a microbus driver who earns the equivalent of $4.50 a day, is one of the myriad faces of the Egyptian revolution the world does not know.
Egypt-actus's insight:

With the two-year anniversary of the revolt approaching, Egypt’s economy is struggling and the new Muslim Brotherhood-backed government is far from resolving the manifold problems of poverty and urban deprivation that bubbled beneath the 2011 revolt. If anything, a rapidly dropping currency combined with austerity measures mandated by international lenders mean that life is only going to get harder for the middle class and for the poor in the coming months.

Amin’s parents migrated to Cairo from the Upper Egypt town of Asyut years ago in search of work. He was born in Cairo and lived his whole life in Manshiet Nasser, dropping out of school after the fourth grade. Amin is actually faring better than many in his neighborhood. The family moved into recently built subsidized housing. He earns more than the quarter of Egypt’s 80 million people surviving on just a dollar and a half a day, according to government figures released in 2012.

He despairs at lacking government services in his neighborhood and the slow pace of change since the revolt. “I don’t think this area will ever change,” he says, referring to Manshiet Nasser. “People are not only poor but also uneducated.”

Poverty alone does not cause revolutions. Many other countries are poorer and more socially stratified than Egypt. People of a broad swath social classes participated in the uprising that toppled the Mubarak regime. Their grievances with the autocratic regime were many, including corruption, a lack of freedom of expression and an often terrifying police state. But a widening gap between rich and poor, eroding infrastructure, and government neglect of the shantytowns were also parts of the long, complex backstory of the popular uprising that toppled Mubarak.



Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/01/23/no-glimmers-of-hope-two-years-after-egypts-revolution-an-economic-crisis-looms/#ixzz2ImBUfkcf

 

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Egypt crisis threatens food for poorest

Egypt's economic crisis poses a threat to basic nutrition in the country of 84 million people where the poorest spend more than half their income on food, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday.

WFP country director Gian Pietro Bordignon's warning underscores one of the main challenges facing President Mohamed Mursi's government as it grapples with an economic crisis caused by two years of instability.

"The economic crises are putting more and more people in a very risky situation," Bordignon told Reuters in an interview. "The situation is deteriorating and has to be tackled right now because it's a very risky trend."

He added that the problem was not availability of food, but people's ability, especially the poor, to pay for it.

"There's no lack of food. There's lack of money for the families to buy food. It's a matter of economic access to food," Bordignon said. "One of the risks of the economic downturn is that there could be in the future less availability of food."

The poverty rate in Egypt climbed from 21 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2011 - the year Egyptians overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising that was partly fueled by economic grievances. Another 20 percent of the population lives near the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

 

Reuters

More : http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/11/us-egypt-food-idUSBRE93A0WM20130411

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Egypt's new economy excludes the poor

Egypt's new economy excludes the poor | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egypt’s 25 January Revolution produced few economic benefits for the country’s poor even though they were instrumental in overthrowing the old order.

The Muslim Brotherhood has other economic priorities, including pushing measures that further economic liberalization in Egypt.

Given the Egyptian media’s focus, it might be difficult to believe that Egypt’s 25 January 2011 Revolution was not one of the educated middle class. On the TV screen, these shiny young faces appear on talk shows, portrayed as the leaders of the revolution.

But 28 January 2011’s “Friday of Anger” belonged to the marginalized who – using the tricks they learned in their daily battles with the state apparatus in the slums – were able to defeat the police forces. Regardless, the media see the revolution differently: “This is the revolution of dignity and not of the hungry,” they say.

This discourse paved the way for state repression of social demands. It even reached a point where the media began depicting Egypt's working class– those that bolstered the revolution’s ranks with its mass mobilizations – of deliberately aiding the counter-revolution through strikes that hurt the economy. (...)

Post-Revolution, Little Help for the Poor

Even before the revolution, experts close to the ruling National Democratic Party saw signs of unrest rooted in growing poverty. This was clear in the First Investment Report: Towards a Fair Distribution of the Fruits of Growth prepared by the General Investment Authority in 2009, which warned of sharply rising poverty rates.

 

More on: http://www.albawaba.com/business/egypt-economy-unemployment-479976

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IPS – Democracy Tastes Bitter as Poverty Bites

IPS – Democracy Tastes Bitter as Poverty Bites | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Two years since the revolution, residents of low-income districts have little to celebrate.

 

On a recent Friday, coppersmith Alaa Moussa parked himself in the same spot where two years earlier he had stood defiantly with a handwritten banner addressed to then president Hosni Mubarak. His petition that cold February morning in 2011 had listed the key demands of Egypt’s 18-day uprising: “bread, freedom, dignity”.

 

His new message for President Mohamed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood reflected the growing desperation among the nation’s poor and unemployed. It simply stated: “bread, bread, bread.”

 

Moussa, a father of three from Cairo’s ramshackle Ramlet Boulaq district, says he joined the uprising against Mubarak because he believed the dictator’s fall would end the suffocating corruption and government repression that blocked all paths out of poverty.

 

It did not, and the disillusioned artisan says his hope of a better life for his family has been crushed by the stark economic realities of post-revolution Egypt.

 

“We hear promises every day, but we never see any improvement and things are much worse now than under Mubarak.”

 

In the two years since the uprising, Egypt’s battered economy has taken hit after hit. Political turmoil and labour unrest have shuttered factories, forced layoffs, and scared away tourists and investors. Economic growth has slowed to a crawl, while foreign reserves have withered to critically low levels.

 

The small workshop where Moussa once fashioned ornamental brass lamps is closed, its owner having absorbed months of losses before laying off his six employees. Some have found jobs in other workshops at a lower salary. Others are still looking.(...)

 

“Since the revolution, employers are reluctant to hire,” he says. “You work for a few days, then get laid off, and start looking for work again.” (...)

 

Twenty-seven year old Ramy Shahin was working in an American company before the 2011 uprising. He now drives a taxi, earning about 120 dollars a month after expenses. With his second child on the way, he worries about rising living costs.

Egypt-actus's insight:

“At least a quarter of Egyptians live below the poverty line of two dollars a day,” says Cairo-based sociologist Madiha El-Safty. “You can imagine how dire their situation must be if they’ve resorted to borrowing to pay for meals.”

 

Across Egypt, rising prices and hoarding have created shortages of diesel, cooking gas, and food staples. Umm Farouk, a widow with four school-age children, queues for hours each day to buy subsidised bread made from low-grade flour pitted with pebbles and chaff.

 

“There were bread lines under Mubarak, there are bread lines under Morsi,” she says. “Nothing has changed. It’s a daily struggle.”

 

“The Muslim Brotherhood is only interested in the poor when they need votes,” says Shahin. “They have no experience running a country or setting economic policy, and their failures at both are destroying Egypt.”(...)

 

“Of course I’m disappointed,” says Umm Farouk. “The revolution was supposed to make our lives easier. Everything is going backwards

 

More on: http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/democracy-tastes-bitter-as-poverty-bites/

 

 

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Egypt's political elites and their estrangement from the poor

Egypt's political elites and their estrangement from the poor | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Evidence abounds that Egypt's political elite, both within and outside of its ruling Muslim Brotherhood, aren't engaged with the issue that brought them to power.

Egypt's political elite continue to fail their people. They are failing to empathize, they are failing to speak to the public in a way that makes them feel they're being listened to, and they're failing to craft approaches to turn around a dangerously listing economy.

Egypt's current economic and social problems have no easy fixes, and would confound an all-star team of political leaders. But compounding those problems is the fact that President Mohamed Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood, and the security forces – who are seen by the public as dangers to be avoided rather than keepers of the peace – are out of touch with the struggles of the nation's poor.

Their attitude veers between amusement, disgust, and contempt, and all of them were on display when, while answering questions in parliament earlier this month,Prime Minister Hisham Qandil was asked about Hamada Saber, a middle-aged laborer who was caught on film being stripped naked, beaten, and dragged through the street by police in front of the presidential palace on Feb. 1. Mr. Qandil managed, in very few words, to unintentionally outline how estranged Egypt's leadership is from the working classes when he launched into a set of unfocused comments that seemed to place responsibility for poverty squarely on the backs of the poor while sidestepping the issue of police mistreatment of Mr. Saber.

The poor, who may not be well-educated but aren't stupid, are well-aware of this contempt among the political elite – one reason so many average Egyptians say that what they wanted out of the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak was more "dignity." So far they're not getting it. (Dan Murphy/The Christian Science Monitor)

 

More : http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backchannels/2013/0219/Egypt-s-political-elites-and-their-estrangement-from-the-poor?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co


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Mursi’s lavish spending criticized as Egypt’s poverty worsens

Mursi’s lavish spending criticized as Egypt’s poverty worsens | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Reports that Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi recently sent his family and friends on an expensive vacation that consisted of a private jet ride to the Red Sea resort town of Taba and the booking of 12 rooms at the Hilton has caused outrage in country, battered by an ongoing political and economic crisis. 

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Poverty, disillusionment drive Egypt's protests

Poverty, disillusionment drive Egypt's protests | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
For over a week, street fighting has raged between Egyptian police officers and demonstrators. Increasingly willing to turn violent, the young protestors are often poor and feel abandoned and oppressed by the state.
Egypt-actus's insight:

Many demonstrators (...) have little to lose, are poor and enjoy few rights - including little protection against arbitrary arrests. Everyone is aware that the protestors cannot afford lawyers who would defend what civil liberties they have.

As such, frustration with the state is running high. It's no surprise then that Mohamed thinks little of the government, and he claims that state officials live on the backs of Egypt's populace. Despite being young, he reflects before answering questions and can ground them in a wealth of life experience. It would be a mistake to see him as a criminal as opposed to someone resolved to improve his lot in life.

The interview with Mohamed is interrupted by a series of explosions. The tails of tear gas shots are visible, and within just a few seconds, the entrance to the street is hardly visible. Demonstrators run and scream. A young woman wearing a head scarf stumbles into view and passes out. One of the boys grabs her by the arm and runs to the nearest ambulance.

 

 

More : http://www.dw.de/poverty-disillusionment-drive-egypts-protests/a-16573098?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co

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Egypt’s Free Economy Excludes the Poor

Egypt’s Free Economy Excludes the Poor | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egypt’s 25 January Revolution produced few economic benefits for the country’s poor even though they were instrumental in overthrowing the old order. The Muslim Brotherhood has other economic priorities, including pushing measures that further economic liberalization in Egypt.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Despite the steady economic growth in the last decade of Mubarak's rule, the proportion of the population living below the national poverty line rose from almost 17 percent of the population in 2000 to 22 percent in 2008, according to the latest figures available from the World Bank.

Nevertheless, when SCAF took power after the fall of Mubarak, they ignored these facts and rejected the expansionary budget presented by Minister of Finance and prominent NDP member Samir Radwan. Instead, the first post-revolution budget was austere: workforce training funds were scaled back to 1 billion Egyptian Pounds ($151 million) from an original 2 billion, and funds for low-income housing were never raised by the expected EGP500 million ($75 million).

Furthermore, SCAF sought to protect the rich from any burdens, such as the tax increase proposed by Radwan on the distribution of capital gains by financial institutions.

Although the last days of SCAF's rule witnessed an open struggle between the military class and Islamist forces, the conflict was not an indication of different economic policies. “The Islamist parties, which between them won a majority in the 2011-12 parliamentary election appear to favor the continuation of a broadly pro-market policy..." explained an April 2012 report from Chatham House titled “‘Bread, Dignity and Social Justice': The Political Economy of Egypt's Transition.”

 

The new Egyptian Constitution is a glaring example of the bias of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) towards market liberalization. It stipulated linking salaries with production for the first time and neglected to set a ceiling for agricultural property.

But the constitution aligns with the Brotherhood’s previous positions: the group had been the primary opponent of agrarian reform during the Nasser era and endorsed a 1992 act liberating the relationship between landlord and tenant on agricultural land. The act had abolished gains won by peasants and was faced with wide-scale opposition in 1997.

 

More : http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/egypt%E2%80%99s-free-economy-excludes-poor

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Egypt's slum crisis persists amid housing abundance

Egypt's slum crisis persists amid housing abundance | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

More than 16 million people out of a population that has exceeded 80 million currently live in Egypt’s slums, most of which are based in the Greater Cairo metropolitan area.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Inhabitants are forced to live in inhumane settlements, owing to a severe shortage of affordable housing in the cities, suffer from lack of electricity and sewage services, and are subjected to mistreatment by the state, including regular forced evictions.

Thousands of poor Egyptians who survive in slum areas are left on their own to deal with extreme heat in the summer or treacherous rain stints in the winter, such as a recent storm that drenched shanty towns across the country.

The ever-growing number of slum dwellers highlights the huge disparity in the distribution of wealth, residential units, and unequal access to housing options.

The Egyptian Centre for Housing Rights (ESCR), an NGO specialised in defending citizens' right to adequate housing, said in a recent report that although millions of citizens lack proper shelter there are almost six million vacant residential units in Cairo alone. The report also stated that almost 250,000 families own more than three housing units while 18 per cent of Egyptian families live in "one room" units.

The deteriorating slum issue is perceived by the Egyptian government as a "ticking social bomb." The government has repeatedly said that it lacks the resources to build enough units to keep up with high birth rates.

However, the problem cannot be reduced to scarce resources or inadequate infrastructure, but should rather be attributed to the absence of a "social justice" mindset in formulating housing policies, ESCR said in several press statements since the January 2011 popular uprising.

"Governmental policies since the 1970s have always been biased to big capital and profit accumulation rather than the society's lower tranches. Governments literally ignored informal housing; it was never their priority," Khaled Ali, a prominent labour lawyer and former presidential candidate, told Ahram Online.

Housing experts and activists have denounced "neoliberal" policies that were implemented in 1991 as a result of the Economic Reform and Structural Adjustment Program (ERSAP) introduced in Egypt by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), deeming it the main reason for persistent housing inequality in the country.

 

More : http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/62321/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-slum-crisis-persists-amid-housing-abundance.aspx

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