Poverty increased in 2011, says report

The percentage of poverty in Egypt increased to 25.2% in 2011, state statistics agency CAPMAS has revealed, according to an Egynews report on Sunday.

The poverty rate increased from 16.7 percent in 1999-2000 to 25.2 in 2010-2011, according to Al-Ahram. 

Egynews said that the majority of the poor are concentrated in rural southern Egypt, where poverty stood at 51.4% in 2011, compared to 43.7% in 2009.

The most affected governorates were Assiut (69% living in poverty), Sohag (59%), Aswan (54%), and Qena (51%).

The report stated that 4.8% of Egyptians were in a state of pauperization in 2011, while 12.6% suffered chronic poverty. It added that 15.2% had entered this persistent state of poverty between 2009 and 2011.

Meanwhile, the government has launched its Indicative Pricing Program for fruits and vegetables in an effort to ward off price increases. The Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Mohamed Abu Shady, announced Saturday a list of suggested prices specific to every governorate, based on transportation charges, production seasons, and supply.

The minister also announced that he is looking into starting a systematic way to distribute supply commodities through supermarket chains and groceries, kicking off a two-month preliminary trial in Cairo’s Agouza and Maadi neighborhoods and Gleem in Alexandria. The ministry is currently selecting a governorate in southern Egypt to start distributing subsidized bread through a family ration card, to thwart smuggling of subsidized wheat, he added.

Moving forward, based on the evaluation on the first phase, the project will be implemented nationwide, Abu Shady said. 

In May it was estimated that 13.7 million Egyptians or 17 percent of the population suffered from food insecurity in 2011, compared to 14 percent in 2009, according to the UN World Food Programme and CAPMAS.

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