Over the past years, Egyptians have gone through economic conditions that have affected the most important aspects of their lives, for reasons that the official discourse attributes to “global conditions”. However reality offers a different explanation, part of which is mentioned in a new report by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
The research paper, published in late March, titled “How the poor live in light of the high prices.. The impact of high inflation and the devaluation of the Egyptian pound on Egyptians’ rights”, found that these two factors “cause an increase in the cost of living to rise in a way that affects the rights of citizens”, even describing the situation as “storms” that strike the standard of living of Egyptians. The report recommends taking measures to improve the situation, most notably “seeking growth based on the production of real goods and services.”
What is noteworthy is that this is in line with varying international reports, which have consistently praised Egypt’s growth rates in the past while following economic policies that led to the current situation.
The cancer of inflation.
The report, prepared by Mai Kabil, a researcher in the initiative’s Economic and Social Justice Unit, noted that the rate of increase in consumer prices (inflation) “jumped to its highest levels in more than five years, recording 9.32% for the entire republic in February of last year. The rise in food and drink prices was driven by the impact, which also affected basic goods and services, such as transportation, healthcare and education,” according to official data from the Central Bank and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The researcher considered that this situation “represents significant pressure on the living standards of most Egyptians, and poses a danger to the poor, who are unable to provide their basic needs, and whose percentage of the total Egyptians was close to one-third two years ago (according to government statistics) at the beginning of the crisis,” warning of “increased risks as the pound continues to be subjected to pressure, and many international investment banks predict its price will be reduced again soon.”
In a report published by the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, the American economic newspaper monitored that there are pressures from Egypt’s allies and supporters in the Arab Gulf for a sharp new devaluation of the pound, which is expected in the near future as the economic crisis intensifies and existing economic policies continue.
The report, which examines the impact of high prices on the poor through statistics, lists inflation as the primary factor related to the devaluation of the Egyptian currency, “in contrast to the high rates of price increase, in a way that directly affects the economic and social rights of citizens, and their access to adequate food and basic services, and increases the high levels of inequality in terms of income and wealth.”