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What’s behind Egypt decision to raise minimum wage, government salaries by 50%?

Egypt’s economy has suffered from high inflation for years, and now the spillover from the Gaza war is exacerbating the situation.
An Egyptian woman shops at a fruit market in Cairo, on March 17, 2022.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced significant wage hikes on Wednesday to address the cost-of-living crisis in the North African country.

Sisi raised Egypt’s monthly minimum wage by 50% to 6,000 Egyptian pounds ($194), starting in March. He additionally ordered all government monthly salaries to be raised by a minimum of 1,000 to 1,200 Egyptian pounds ($32-$39). The decisions were made to “lighten the living burdens on citizens,” according to a statement from Egypt’s State Information Service.

Why it matters: Egypt is marred in an economic crisis marked by high inflation, rising public debt, a shortage of foreign currency and related issues. The crisis has its roots in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting shocks to the global supply chain. Egypt imported the bulk of its grain from Russia and Ukraine before the war and has been hit hard by the conflict.

In August 2023, annual inflation hit an all-time high of 39.7%, according to Egyptian government statistics.

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