Egypt. According to countryaah, the current population of Egypt is 102,334,415. The Egyptian economy showed no signs of recovery and in the autumn, important commodities ended in business. The sugar shortage became a symbol of the difficult economic situation that led to the government implementing major austerity measures. The result was, among other things, sharply raised prices for food, electricity and gasoline, which created great frustration among sections of the population. In fact, about 40% of Egyptians live in poor conditions, which makes them vulnerable even to small price increases.
Since President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2014, Egypt has received generous contributions from Yellow Flags like Saudi Arabia, but after Egypt voted in September for a Russian resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council, Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco stopped its deliveries to Egypt, contrary to a previous agreement on continued deliveries for five years. Earlier in the year, grand plans were announced for a bridge construction between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which also agreed to transfer two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia in exchange for a large aid and investment package. Both agreements were met with harsh criticism and in June the decision on the islands was rejected by a district court.
Among other things, the UN and Amnesty International expressed repeated concerns about the human rights situation in Egypt. Several human rights organizations were forced to close or have their assets frozen. According to Amnesty, three to four people disappeared daily in the country, and according to a report presented by the organization in July, several hundred people were reported to have been removed and tortured by security forces over the past year.
Prior to the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the January 25 revolt, Egyptian security forces conducted raids on, for example, book publishers, theater venues and art galleries. Several thousands of private individuals had their homes scanned.
Press freedom was described to be in sharp decline and several journalists were arrested during the year. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists organization, at least four journalists were convicted of disseminating false information. Several journalists were arrested and detained or imprisoned. In October, three journalists were arrested while conducting a survey interview on a proposal by President al-Sisi that all Egyptians should donate their small money in bank accounts to the Egyptian state. The journalists were accused of sympathizing with the banned Muslim Brotherhood, for disseminating false information and for giving Egypt a bad reputation in Turkish TV channels. Later, reports came out that journalists had been tortured in the detention center.
In March, Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind was forced to leave his post after he said in a television interview that he would imprison Prophet Muhammad if he broke the law. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July, an unusual meeting seen as a sign of improved relations between the two neighboring countries.
During the year, several attacks were directed at the police and tourist destinations. In May, 13 policemen were killed in a grenade attack at a roadblock in Sinai, an attack that the Islamic State (IS) was believed to be behind. In another attack on a hotel in the tourist resort of Hurghada, a Swedish tourist, among other things, knives. The Egyptian tourism industry, which is one of the oldest in the world, was severely affected by the poor security situation. In March, a domestic airplane on its way from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and in May another setback to the severely affected tourism industry occurred when a passenger plane crashed in the Mediterranean on its way from Paris to Cairo. President al-Sisi finally admitted that it had been a terrorist act that led to a Russian passenger plane crashing across the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015.
al-Sisi was one of the few leaders who before the US presidential election in November made a positive statement about the disputed presidential candidate Donald Trump, who was later elected US president.
The IMF gives the green light for the next loan amount
According to thereligionfaqs, the IMF gives the go-ahead for Egypt to raise $ 1.67 billion in emergency loans. In total, Egypt has so far had access to $ 3.6 billion from a $ 5.2 billion one-year crisis package approved in June (see June 5), in addition to rapid support through RFI (rapid financing instrument) granted in the spring. The IMF believes that both Egypt’s government debt and the corona pandemic are jeopardizing the country’s economic recovery.
Several great finds from Pharaonic times
Antiquarian authorities announce that more than 100 intact ancient sarcophagi with mummies have been found during excavations in Saqqara south of Cairo, where pyramids, temples and tombs of various kinds from ancient times are already known. Just over a month earlier, a find was made of 59 sarcophagi, also about 2,500 years old, but this time, according to archaeologists, burial sites have been found for people who had a high social status. The site is located in Memphis, which was the capital of ancient Egypt and is a World Heritage Site by the UN organization Unesco. A new, large museum where the ancient finds will be displayed will be opened next year according to plans.
Peacekeepers die in crashes
A helicopter crashes in southern Sinai, killing seven people: five Americans, a French citizen and a Czech. They belong to an international force of peacekeepers and observers set up by Egypt and Israel as a result of the two countries’ peace agreement in 1979. The cause of the crash is to be investigated, but early reports suggest it may have been a technical problem.
Step two in the parliamentary elections
Polling stations close after the second stage of parliamentary elections in 13 provinces, including Cairo (see 25 October). After any final elections in November and December, the new House of Representatives will meet in January. Most of the candidates are considered inclined to support President Sisi and approve legislation according to the regime’s wishes.
Wave of arrests against human rights activists
A human rights organization, known by its English name Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, is meeting with diplomats from a number of EU countries. They talk about how respect for human rights can be improved in Egypt. In the weeks following the meeting, several leaders of the organization, al-Mubadara al-masriyya li-l-huquq al-shahsiyya, were arrested. On December 4, it is reported that they have regained their freedom after an international storm of criticism led by a gathering of film celebrities.