The Financial Times reports a rise in social unrest in Egypt, which has been attributed to inflation, rising food costs in particular. Inflation is soaring in most parts of the Middle East, from the affluent enclaves of the United Arab Emirates to the more distressed countries, such as Egypt. The main culprit is the record-level price of oil.
A wave of discontent has been sweeping through Egypt in response to mounting food prices and the return of long queues in front of bakeries selling subsidised bread – the only food item that has not recently risen in price.
Civil servants, industrial workers and even groups considered privileged such as doctors and university lecturers have been staging strikes and demanding higher pay to meet price increases of up to 50 per cent for some basic foods.
State university lecturers have gone on strike this week, bringing many classes to a halt for a day. “Faculty members in Egypt are normally a very conservative group who do not want to expose themselves to trouble,” said Hany Al Husseini, one of the strike organisers. “But now the economic situation has become so bad that people are prepared to do anything.”