Egypt is currently grappling with a serious economic crisis that is affecting all levels of society. With a population of 105 million people, the government has been struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living, and has been forced to borrow money to provide subsidies and maintain basic services. In addition, the country is facing a number of other economic challenges, such as a devaluing currency, high food inflation, and a shortage of foreign investment.

During a recent visit to Cairo, NPR correspondent Aya Batrawy spoke with a number of people who have been impacted by the crisis. For many average Egyptians, the economic situation has meant making difficult choices about how to spend their limited funds. Some have had to give up foods like chicken due to high prices, while others have had to cut back on other basic items like cooking oil. Even wealthier Egyptians are feeling the pinch, with many unable to travel abroad or afford imported goods.

As the holy month of Ramadan got underway, Batrawy observed that many people were stocking up on basic supplies in order to prepare for the month-long period of fasting and religious observation. However, even this traditional time of giving and charity has been impacted by the economic crisis, with many people unable to afford basic staples like chicken. One grandmother, Fatma Hassan, told Batrawy that her grandson had been asking for chicken, but that it had been two months since they had been able to afford it.

So why has Egypt found itself in this dire economic situation? According to Batrawy, a number of factors have contributed to the crisis. One major issue has been the government’s focus on large-scale development projects, many of which are very expensive and do not necessarily create long-term jobs or sustainable industries. In addition, the crisis has been exacerbated by external factors such as high grain prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which have had a major impact on Egypt’s ability to import wheat and grains.

Despite the severity of the crisis, the government has yet to implement any major solutions. For now, the country is continuing to borrow money in order to keep afloat, but this is not a sustainable long-term strategy. In order to truly address the root causes of the crisis, the government will need to take action to curb corruption and cronyism, encourage foreign investment in the private sector, and boost the country’s tourism industry.

As Egypt continues to grapple with these challenges, the clock is ticking. The country’s population is growing rapidly, and the needs of its people are only becoming more pressing. It remains to be seen whether the government will be able to take the steps necessary to turn things around and improve the lives of its citizens.