Sisi blames January 2011 revolution for Egypt's current economic crisis

Sisi blames January 2011 revolution for Egypt's current economic crisis
In his speech, Sisi blamed the January 25 Revolution for "turning public opinion against the state…playing a negative role in….wronging the state bodies..."
3 min read
Egypt - Cairo
25 January, 2024
Sisi is known for resorting to religious rhetoric in addressing the masses. [Getty]

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared the current economic crisis was caused by the 25 January Revolution of 2011, which overthrew long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

In an improvised speech during an official ceremony in Cairo marking the 72nd anniversary of "Police Day" held on Wednesday, 24 January, Sisi called on Egyptians to continue enduring the ongoing economic crisis.

Egypt has been undergoing the most challenging economic ordeal in modern history, with inflation hitting a record of nearly 40 per cent and food prices becoming out of the reach of poor and average-income households.

An unjust revolution?

In his speech, Sisi blamed the revolution and the incidents afterwards for "turning public opinion against the state…playing a negative role in….wronging the state bodies and the interior ministry."

"We spent more than two or three years [following the uprising] attempting to mend the relationship between the people and the state and interior ministry, which wasn't an easy job," he said.

"On 25 January, we were divided into two fronts, you and us…there is no such thing. Do you know what it is like to lose over 450 billion dollars throughout the events of 2011 and the following years?" Sisi rhetorically asked.

Meanwhile, experts argue that Egypt's economic woes were triggered by the state's mismanagement rather than external factors.  

"It is not the revolution that caused an economic crisis to happen. Rather, it is the poor judgment and the controversial economic measures taken by Sisi's government that led to such a dilemma," a prominent socio-economist told The New Arab on condition of anonymity.

Egypt's external debt soared by 5.1 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2022, reaching US$162.94 billion, a total of US$10 billion more than the previous quarter.

The value of the US dollar against the local currency in the Egyptian informal market skyrocketed to surpass 100 per cent compared to the official rate.

"It is all about the supply and demand. There is a high demand for dollars as Egypt is also a country mostly dependent on importation rather than local production, which requires the state to facilitate greenbacks to go on," economic analyst Ahmed Abdel-Thaher told TNA.

The prices have been set based on the value of the US dollar in the informal market, which has caused them to hike almost every week.

Government sources had previously told TNA that state institutions and army-affiliated companies secured their needs of dollars from the parallel market due to banks' scarcity of foreign currency.

One US dollar equals about 30.90 Egyptian pounds at banks, while its value surpassed 63 EGP in the informal market at the time of publication. 

Live Story

Religious rhetoric

"Don't you ever think that I, as an Egyptian, don't understand the sufferings witnessed in Egypt…But maybe Allah Almighty has wanted us to witness harsh conditions, he added.

Sisi is known for restoring to the religious rhetoric in addressing the masses, previously criticised for telling Egyptians not to worry about the country's economic future "because God exists."

"Egyptians are known for being religious or, let's say, pretending to be. So they can be manipulated accordingly," a high-profile clinical psychologist told TNA.

The Egyptian president had earlier described himself as a "doctor" sent by God to cure Egypt's "ailments".

"It is common for people in power to try to play God, having a high sense of their worth, which are known features of narcissism," said the psychologist, who declined to be named, fearing for their safety.

"Countries are not run based on feelings…Countries are run by policies, laws, and work. Does the crisis we are undergoing have a solution? For sure, but all solutions depend on us… God willing… [the crisis] will be over…May God preserve Egypt from any harm," Sisi concluded.