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It’s Cheap Cheese or ‘Hell’ as Egypt Awaits IMF Lifeline

  • IMF says Egypt must still cut subsidies, address exchange rate
  • Officials worried reforms could fuel unrest among poor
Photographer: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
Updated on

When talk-show host Amr Adib went on Egyptian TV to beg food companies to cut prices, he sounded an apocalyptic note. “We must all stand together,” Adib said. Otherwise, society falls apart, “hell breaks loose, the fire will consume us all.”

Egypt’s government keeps media on a tight leash, so the message probably had official backing. And sure enough, two days later, a group of foodmakers announced price cuts on air. The problem for President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is that he’s under pressure to take major economic decisions that will have exactly the opposite effect, pushing the cost of living sharply higher.