Nearly a third of Egyptians live below the poverty line, up from 27.8 per cent in 2015, Egypt’s flagship state-owned newspaper Al Ahram reported on Tuesday, citing official figures.
“The poverty rate has reached 32.5% across the republic for 2017-2018,” the daily quoted the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics as saying in a report released on Monday.
The agency specified the poverty line as an income of 8,827 Egyptian pounds ($533 a year, or around $1.40 a day).
It said the average annual income for an Egyptian family had risen to 59,000 pounds for the same period.
The latest poverty figures come as Egypt prepares to receive the final $2 billion tranche of a $12 billion loan package negotiated with the International Monetary Fund in 2016 in return for a strict austerity programme.
The Washington-based financial institution approved the tranche last week saying Egypt’s economic outlook had “improved markedly since 2016”.
Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, his administration has imposed sweeping economic reforms, floating the Egyptian pound and slashing state subsidies for basic goods and services.
The economy took a battering in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring revolution that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Direct foreign investment has grown to record levels but both household costs and the national debt have ballooned since the pound was floated in November 2016 leading to a sharp depreciation.
Egypt raised fuel prices again earlier this month in its latest round of subsidy cuts.
The hike followed the government’s raising of electricity rates by 15 per cent in May.
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