- Title: Sisi's hot potato: Egyptians hit back after remarks on austerity
- Date: 7th November 2018
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (NOVEMBER 7, 2018) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING IN CAIRO VEGETABLE MARKET VARIOUS OF WOMAN PICKING POTATOES POTATOES AT MARKET STAND (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHOPPER, SAFAA, SAYING: "The prices start to decrease, but we hope they decrease even more. They (the potatoes) cost eight (pounds) and ten (pounds), but we hope (the prices) will drop a bit more." PRICE LABEL READING (Arabic): "9 EGP ($0.50)" WOMEN PICKING TOMATOES AT MARKET STAND EGGPLANTS AT MARKET STAND MAN YELLING TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS PEOPLE PACKING VEGETABLES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHOPKEEPER, AHMED HENDAWY, SAYING: "As you can tell now, the prices decreased from 10 EGP ($ 0.56) to 5 EGP ($0.28). Look at how many people are shopping" VARIOUS OF SHOPPERS PICKING VEGETABLES
- Embargoed: 21st November 2018 19:50
- Keywords: Egyptian President Sisi Sisi remark on potatoes potato price internet poll World Youth Forum
- Location: SHARM EL SHEIKH AND CAIRO, EGYPT / INTERNET
- City: SHARM EL SHEIKH AND CAIRO, EGYPT / INTERNET
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00395IBZ2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT DOES NOT CONTAIN SOUNDBITE OF SISI SAYING "Do you want to build your country and become a worthy state, or are you going to look for potatoes?"
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke daily at the World Youth Forum in the resort of Sharm al-Sheikh this week, touching on topics from Syria's reconstruction to religious tolerance -- but it was a remark about potatoes that stirred the pot the most.
"Do you want to build your country and become a worthy state, or are you going to look for potatoes?" Sisi asked, prompting a wave of criticism and jokes on social media.
A Facebook poll run by a local news service based in Egypt's port city of Alexandria asked people whether they would rather build a worthwhile country or eat potatoes. The poll registered approximately 24,000 votes, 89 percent of which were for "eat potatoes".
Sisi was referring to a sharp increase in the price of the staple vegetable over the past two weeks from around 6 Egyptian pounds ($0.33) per kilo to as much as 14 pounds, widely dubbed a "potato crisis" by local newspapers and which has become a hot topic of conversation on the street.
The remarks hit a nerve with Egyptians battered by years of IMF-backed austerity measures and rising food prices, which are a key challenge for Sisi. Egypt is committed to the reforms under a $12 billion IMF loan deal agreed in 2016 and aimed at attracting foreign investment.
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