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Sisi urges families to have 2 children to save the state $1 trillion

Egyptian President Abdel Fattal el-Sisi (L) and his wife Entissar Amer (R) arrive to the dinner on September 4, 2017 in Xiamen, China. [Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattal el-Sisi (L) and his wife Entissar Amer (R) arrive to the dinner on September 4, 2017 in Xiamen, China. [Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has warned the population not to have more than two children to keep costs on the state down.

On 1 January the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics announced that Egypt's population had hit 101.38 million and that it had increased by 1.38 million over the period of ten months.

There are roughly 20 million people in the Cairo and Giza governorates.

"Living conditions are getting worse and we need a trillion dollars to match the population increase," the Egyptian strongman announced at a medical conference in Ismailia earlier this week.

He added that living conditions would not improve until the population growth is under control. Around one third of Egyptians live below the poverty line.

Health Minister Hala Zayed added that Egypt's rising population is a great burden on the state.

READ: Biden approves $200m arms sale to Egypt despite promising tougher stance on rights abuses

Al-Sisi has previously said that overpopulation and terrorism are the biggest threats facing Egypt. In 2018 his administration launched the itneen kefaya, two is enough, campaign in a bid to change mindsets about high birth rates by raising awareness about contraception.

Last year Al-Sisi compared Egypt to Germany's population, which he said has not increased for the past 25 years and therefore did not need a power station, new infrastructure or a water treatment facility.

This means Germany does not need to allocate budget resources to cover its population growth, he concluded.

Al-Sisi himself has four children.

Critics have hit out at the government's attempts to blame poor living conditions on the vast population increase when he continues to invest vast sums into luxury projects that have little benefit for the average citizen.

The army controls huge amounts of the economy, holding a monopoly on many industries and is therefore a key source of corruption and the poverty that is a direct effect of that.

The government also has infinite resources for buying arms from Western countries which are often not even used.

Opponents have questioned whether if Egypt's population growth slows, the country's problems would really be resolved and citizens' living conditions improve.

Adding that a major improvement in living conditions would come if the government stops its relentless crackdown on freedoms.

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