'A stale packet of chips': Here’s what five Egyptian pounds will buy, according to cash-strapped Cairenes

Published February 2nd, 2017 - 09:19 GMT
"A burnt bag of stale potato chips, half of which is just air." (Flickr)
"A burnt bag of stale potato chips, half of which is just air." (Flickr)

Egypt is in the middle of an economic crisis. The seemingly free falling value of local currency following the “floating of the pound” last year has meant soaring living costs for ordinary Egyptians.

The value of the Egyptian pound has reduced by half since the government stopped imposing a fixed exchange rate with the dollar. This, added to the introduction of a "value-added" tax on certain items, has pushed up the prices of consumer goods.

In this context, a hashtag has emerged allowing Egyptians to show the everyday impact of their country’s financial difficulties. Overnight Egyptians have been asking #WhatWillFivePoundsBuy?

Some were very literal:

#WhatWillFivePoundsBuy? One pound used to buy eight falafels, but now it’s only six falafels. I'm really sad about the falafel. So, five pounds only buys 20 falafels.

#WhatWillFivePoundsBuy? It buys a family pack of "Chipsy" potato chips which used to cost three pounds. Then the increased it to three-and-a-half after they increased the air [in the packet] by 20 percent. Then it reached four pounds half-way through December 2016, and so five [pounds] is magnificent...  

A number took the opportunity to criticize Egyptian President Sisi who has come under greater criticism over his handling of the nation’s economic woes:

#WhatWillFivePoundsBuy? Why don’t you let Egypt wake up to [five pounds]?

December’s 23.3 per cent consumer price inflation rate might not be a laughing matter for cash-strapped Egyptians, but some Twitter users still saw the funny side:

#WhatWillFivePoundsBuy? A burnt bag of stale potato chips, half of which is just air.

#WhatWillFivePoundsBuy? I used to get loads of things with [five pounds]... until the shopkeeper installed security cameras.

It’ll buy you an Egyptian flag so you can go see the match and support the national team! #WhatWillFivePoundsBuy?

And some just wondered who are all these lucky people who still have five pounds in their pockets?

#WhatWillFivePoundsBuy? I would really like this five pounds! 

 #WhatWillFivePoundsBuy?Who still has five pounds?! 

RA

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