Monday, April 7, 2008

Egypt in crisis

"But it is not just the price of bread that is stretching Egyptians’ meager budgets to the breaking point. An investigative report by al-Misri al-Yawm concluded that the price of basic foodstuffs rose at rates of at least 33 percent (for meat), and as much as 146 percent (for chicken), from 2005 to 2008. The official annual rate of inflation for January 2008 was over 11 percent and over 12 percent for February. The Mahalla workers have popularized the demand for a national minimum wage of 1,200 Egyptian pounds a month to cope with this inflation. This move has embarrassed the trade union federation into advocating increasing the minimum wage from 115 Egyptian pounds a month, which has been the rate since 1984, to 800 Egyptian pounds a month. A family of four would live just below the poverty line of $2 a day on 1,200 pounds a month."

Joel Beinin for the Middle East Report Online. Essential read at a time when the crisis deepens in Egypt. Yesterday's strike was not as successful as expected, I hear. Strongly worded article very critical of the regime by the director of Middle East Studies at the American University of Cairo. Good for AUC.

No comments: