Egypt increases social support as economic crisis hurts

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Egypt will add one million families to a social safety net programme that provides cash transfers, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to more than 20 million, the presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

The “Solidarity and Dignity” programme began in 2015 with World Bank funding. Payments to families start at 350 Egyptian pounds ($18.50) per month and are conditioned on children’s school attendance.

Families whose children are married before the age of 18 are excluded from the programme, according to Egypt’s Social Solidarity Ministry.

The presidency said nine million needy families would also receive separate, exceptional aid over six months, at a cost of about 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($53 million) per month.

Egypt, which has a rapidly growing population of about 103million, has suffered successive economic shocks from the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Annual headline inflation has risen to above 13%, and the government is seeking new support from the International Monetary Fund.