Economy may trump revolution in Egypt | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Economy may trump revolution in Egypt

The country's stagnated growth and high unemployment are timebombs that are largely ignored in the struggle between hard-line Islamists and social activists

  • Published: | Viewed: 1,117 | Comments: 0
  • Newspaper section: News
  • Writer: Samir Radwan
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Two years on, it may be too early to judge the success or failure of Egypt's 2011 revolution, but this much is clear: The young people who led the uprising feel betrayed, and the Islamist government that followed is focused on consolidating power when it should be ensuring economic recovery. 

The genius of the Jan 25 revolt was reflected in its slogan _ ''bread, freedom, social justice''. Those words expressed an aspiration for change that created unprecedented expectations, and today the country's mounting dissatisfaction is first of all due to the underperforming economy. It is no coincidence that the first word of the uprising's slogan was bread.

Egypt's economy faces daunting challenges. Technically in a recession, the country has experienced an extended period of slow growth, a big budget deficit, declining foreign-currency reserves and a widening gap in the balance of payments. The Egyptian pound is under intense pressure. Meanwhile, throughout the country more people are slipping below the poverty line, while those already beneath it are sinking ever deeper.

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