Counting the Cost

Who will save Egypt's economy?

We ask if Egypt's interim government can bring the country's ailing economy and high youth unemployment under control.

Last Modified: 13 Jul 2013 10:53
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Egypt is a country 'too big to fail,' that is the thinking of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, who are pledging billions of dollars for Egypt to underpin its economy.

Because during his year in power, the ousted President Mohamed Morsi did not manage to fix it.

Long before the revolution two years ago, poverty in Egypt was chronic. For years, almost half of the population in Egypt was surviving on less than $2 a day. Critics say things only became worse under recently ousted President Morsi.

Tourism has declined, foreign investors are looking elsewhere, and foreign currency reserves are at dangerously low levels. For people in the country, that means a lack of jobs and rising prices.

"The main issue affecting the poor is the fact that inflation is so high," says Angus Blair, the president of the Signet Institute.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have offered $12bn in aid, and amidst the current political crisis a former finance minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, has been named interim prime minister.

"He [Hazem el-Beblawi] knows what's wrong with Egypt economically, he wants to sort it out. I think he'll take brave decisions and even though this is an interim government he'll put people of competence around him but really focus on boosting the economy," says Blair.

The country remains deeply divided and crime and violence have spiked as a result. While much of the focus is on maintaining stability, the economy is unlikely to make a speedy recovery. 

What will happen next to Egypt's economy? What needs to be done to bring Egypt's economy and youth unemployment under control?

We also look at Syria's economy after more than two years of conflict and war, and how businesses and traders have been forced to find new ways to get by.

Also on Counting the Cost this week: Zero-hour contracts: Where being employed means you technically do not need to work. Is the UK masking the true nature of unemployment by changing the rules?

Plus, gold miners in South Africa are demanding an end to slave wages as gold prices plummet. Are their demands unrealistic?

Watch each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630. Click here for more Counting the Cost.

Follow Kamahl Santamaria @KamahlAJE and business editor Abid Ali@abidoliverali


Al Jazeera
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