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  1. #1
    Oscurito Oscurito is offline

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    Egypt is facing disasters on every front

    There are now more than 2 million more people living in Egypt than there were a year ago. While third world countries are generally seeing their birth-rates fall, Egypt's - for whatver reason(s) - has started to rise again, back up to where it was about 25-30 years. But this time around, with a longer life span, it can only mean one thing: a booming population.

    These days, population is the only thing in Egypt that's booming. Unemployment is high and the economy is unable to absorb the more than one million entrants to the labour market every year. Most years, population growth exceeds growth in GDP and the country has recently received a $12bn bailout from the IMF just to cover funding needs and to try to address a yawning budget deficit.

    The currency has plunged this year, down 50% since early November and 60% since March. The country is heavily reliant on food and fuel imports and it's the poorest who are worst hit. Food prices are soaring and the recent decision to curb fuel subsidies has added to woes caused by runaway inflation. Fuel prices jumped by 47% overnight on November 3rd.


    Mind the steps! The Egyptian pound has had a horrific year.

    Lord knows, the al-Sisi regime has been trying hard to make ends meet. It recently effectively sold a couple of islands (Tiran and Sanafir) in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia, prompting much local outrage. Back in the 1960s, Nasser insisted that the islands were Egyptian. However, they're now in Saudi hands and it's hard not to see a link between their surrender and Saudi promises on investment and economic aid.

    At the current rate of growth, the population of Egypt will exceed 100 million by the early winter of 2019. That's more than the combined populations of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Yet Egypt has less arable land than any of them apart from Jordan and Libya, both of which have populations about one-fifteenth that of Egypt. And, while other Arab countries have been able to increase their proportion of arable land, in Egypt it has only increased slightly since 1960. Hence the huge bill for food imports.

    All other things being equal, Egypt should have a population similar to Libya. The only reason it's supporting 15 times as many people is the river Nile, flowing across the arid desert since time immemorial and leaving a thin sliver of green land in its wake - a stark contrast to the burning white sand on either side.

    However, even that might be about to change. The Blue Nile - one of the two major tributaries into the Nile - rises in Ethiopia and the Addis Abbaba government sees in its powerful torrents a resource to develop its impoverished country. In defiance of Egyptian concerns, the Ethopians have powered full steam ahead and are building what they call the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. When completed, this will be the largest hydroelectric power generating complex in Africa. The Ethiopians insist that there will be benefits for downstream countries such as Egypt with more control over flow rates. However, two-thirds of the water in the Nile comes from the Blue Nile and if the dam means less water flowing into Egyptian farm land, that could spell disaster for the teeming millions on the Nilotic floodplains.

    Egypt matters to Europe because of its proximity and size. The collapse of the Libyan state opened a gateway for hundreds of thousands fleeing war and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. If Egypt collapses, it won't be just sub-Saharan refugees sailing across the Mediterranean: there'll also be millions of Egyptians - and that's before we start discussing the apocalyptic scenarios being predicted for North Africa because of global warming.


    The slums in Cairo are now more like those in sub-Saharan Africa
    Last edited by Oscurito; 15th December 2016 at 03:46 PM. Reason: Missing 'and'.
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  2. #2
    Dame_Enda Dame_Enda is offline
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    Egypt is now on the market for economic patrons. Will it be Trump or Putin? The Saudis promised help but maybe the recent oil price drop changed that.
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  3. #3
    Oscurito Oscurito is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dame_Enda View Post
    Egypt is now on the market for economic patrons. Will it be Trump or Putin? The Saudis promised help but maybe the recent oil price drop changed that.
    Given the recent rapprochments between Putin and a certain president-elect, it could be Putin and Trump.

    I'll say no more.
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  4. #4
    Truth.ie Truth.ie is offline

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    But-----but...in Ireland we are told by our betters that a growing population is a sign of progress and we need more people (immigrants) to boost the economy.

    Also research shows that North Africa will get wetter and greener if we have global warming. Vegetation has increased across the Sahara n the last 10 years.

    And those slums can be found in any major capital of Europe these days.
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  5. #5
    Oscurito Oscurito is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth.ie View Post
    But-----but...in Ireland we are told by our betters that a growing population is a sign of progress and we need more people (immigrants) to boost the economy.

    Also research shows that North Africa will get wetter and greener if we have global warming. Vegetation has increased across the Sahara n the last 10 years.

    And those slums can be found in any major capital of Europe these days.
    Your last line is nonsense.

    i'd like to see some authoritative links re climate predictions for North Africa.

    Some countries have aging and shrinking populations. They need more people of working age.

    Other countries have booming populations and few resources. They need fewer people. Simples...!
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  6. #6
    mossyman mossyman is offline
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    Good OP.

    The whole of North Africa could be in trouble soon, with instability from the Libyan situation spreading to neighbouring countries.

    There was a good article in the spectator recently about how Algeria could be heading for civil war. The President there is on his last legs.

    When Bouteflika [The President] goes, Algeria will probably implode. The Islamists who have been kept at bay by his iron hand will exploit the vacuum. Tensions that have been buried since the civil war will re-emerge. And then Europe could be overwhelmed by another great wave of refugees from North Africa.
    How Algeria could destroy the EU

    And as you say global warming is another factor. Syria experienced three years of unprecedented drought in the years preceding the war which drove hundreds of thousands from the countryside and into the cities contributing to the unrest.

    Overpopulation, Islamic extremism, global warming, inequality, resource wars, etc. are coming together to undermine whatever progress has been achieved in these countries.
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  7. #7
    Oscurito Oscurito is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by mossyman View Post
    Good OP.

    The whole of North Africa could be in trouble soon, with instability from the Libyan situation spreading to neighbouring countries.

    There was a good article in the spectator recently about how Algeria could be heading for civil war. The President there is on his last legs.



    How Algeria could destroy the EU

    And as you say global warming is another factor. Syria experienced three years of unprecedented drought in the years preceding the war which drove hundreds of thousands from the countryside and into the cities contributing to the unrest.

    Overpopulation, Islamic extremism, global warming, inequality, resource wars, etc. are coming together to undermine whatever progress has been achieved in these countries.
    The drought in Syria is the elephant in the room when it comes to talking about the causes of the war. People assume it was due to oppression by Assad and lack of democracy but if economic conditions hadn't deteriorated, it's arguable that the war would never have occurred.

    That news out of Algeria is depressing. The war there in the 1990s was horrific with armed gangs roaming the countryside randomly selecting towns and villages to massacre the inhabitants. I think Algerians would accept anything rather than a return to those days.
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  8. #8
    captain obvious captain obvious is offline

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    Agreed, a very good OP with a lot to chew on.
    Their relationship with Saudi Arabia is pretty strained at the moment. They suspended oil aid back in Oct the result being the most recent cliff in your graph.
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  9. #9
    petaljam petaljam is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscurito View Post
    The drought in Syria is the elephant in the room when it comes to talking about the causes of the war. People assume it was due to oppression by Assad and lack of democracy but if economic conditions hadn't deteriorated, it's arguable that the war would never have occurred.

    That news out of Algeria is depressing. The war there in the 1990s was horrific with armed gangs roaming the countryside randomly selecting towns and villages to massacre the inhabitants. I think Algerians would accept anything rather than a return to those days.
    Al Gore mentioned the drought in Syria in a (on the whole rather upbeat*) speech he gave in February about climate change.
    That was the first I'd heard of it, it doesn't seem to figure on the media radar at all. He said something like 60% of farms were destroyed and 80% of livestock, or maybe the opposite, but something huge anyway. I could hardly believe it at the time, but it seems to be exact.
    I'll look it out in a minute.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/al_gore_th...climate_change

    * I suspect if he were to make the speech now it would be a lot less optimistic, alas.

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  10. #10
    Hunter-Gatherer Hunter-Gatherer is offline

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    a booming population and rents out of control. Sounds like another banana republic i can think of. But Egypt is without the pubs.
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