The Sad Truth About Life After Revolution in Egypt

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Egypt's post-revolution life hasn't been a bed of bread and roses. In the months since president Hosni Mubarak's departure, unemployment and corruption are up, and Egyptians are frustrated that life after the fall of the regime isn't markedly better than the days before it. Part of the problem? Egypt's tourism industry was badly hurt during the revolution and the uprising all but totally halted foreign investment. Annual economic growth is around 2 percent, and the country's currency reserves have decreased by 25 percent. And then there's the human factor: As people continue to lose their jobs in the struggling economy, they're considering taking to the streets again. “People are angry,” said Cairo resident Hassan Mahmoud, who was laid off from his $10-a-day job in a souvenir factory. “People in the neighborhood are talking about going back to the streets for another revolution — a hunger revolution.”

A key to resolving the current crisis in Egypt is managing expectations — at least for Egyptians who believed immediate economic improvements would take place. To illustrate the general level of desperation: When 450,000 temporary jobs were added to the public payroll, 7 million people applied. And to combat corruption, the government has halted most projects to reexamine contracts. “Many of the contractors in Egypt obtained land by corrupt deals with contracts filled with question marks,” said construction executive Ahmed Habib.

And some are outright second-guessing the revolution. Like Khaled Younis, who had to lay off all of his employees after the revolution because business dried up. “Many people here believe this revolution was a curse on us poor, simple folks,” he said. “They just want to be able to survive.”

Egypt’s Economy Slows to a Crawl; Revolt Is Tested [NYT]