Nearly one-third of Egyptians live below poverty line

The poverty rate reached 32.5% across Egypt for 2017-18.
Thursday 15/08/2019
In this Feb. 14, 2017 file photo, a vendor counts his money at a bread stand in the Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
In this Feb. 14, 2017 file photo, a vendor counts his money at a bread stand in the Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

Nearly one-third of Egyptians live below the poverty line, up from 27.8% in 2015, Egypt's state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported, citing official figures.

The poverty rate reached 32.5% across Egypt for 2017-18, Al-Ahram said in quoting the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics as saying in a report released July 30.

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 ($3,550) for the same period.

The poverty figures were released as Egypt prepared to receive the final $2 billion tranche of a $12 billion loan package negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2016 in return for a strict austerity programme. The IMF approved the payment in July, 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 after the "Arab spring" revolution that ousted long-time President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Direct foreign investment has reached record levels but 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 in July in its latest round of subsidy cuts. The hike followed the government's raising of electricity rates 15% in May.

(AFP)