Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has called on local businessmen to help counter rising global prices triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Egypt needs you,” the dictator told over 20 businessmen in a video clip released by the government and reported by the National. “We need your efforts. Do we need your success too.”
“In all modesty, the country is now capable of taking off. What is left is for us to join hands. We are in the same boat.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, Egypt has lost roughly $20 billion in foreign currency.
Egypt’s tourism industry, which makes up around 15 per cent of the country’s GDP, is reeling from the impact of the war as Ukrainians and Russians were among the top visitors to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh.
This has compounded the effects of the coronavirus crisis, which also hit the tourism industry hard, leaving it with little time to recover.
Added to this is rising import costs, which led the government to place restrictions on imports from abroad leaving the country with a severe shortage of electrical appliances, furniture and wood.
Goods are stuck at ports across the country until banks can secure their release with dollars including food for chicks which led to a mass cull by poultry farmers earlier this week who said they were forced to do so as they had nothing to feed them with.
The government has been criticised for pouring money into “vanity projects”, most notably the New Administrative Capital for which ordinary Egyptians have seen little return.
Egypt has targeted businessmen in the past for resisting demands made by the security agency including founder of juice producer Juhayna, who refused to hand over company assets. His son was also arrested and held in solitary confinement, and it emerged that security officials had demanded that they relinquish control of Juhayna’s assets.
One top businessman in the construction industry said the Egyptian state had placed him on a terror list and syphoned close to $1 million worth of his assets.