In recent years, Egypt has been grappling with a multitude of challenges that echo the biblical plagues described in the Book of Exodus. From rising food prices and political instability to economic hardships and environmental issues, the country is facing a crisis of unprecedented scale. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s controversial suggestion that Egyptians could eat tree leaves as the Prophet Muhammad did during his imprisonment near Mecca starkly underscores the severity of the current economic situation. This article delves into the multifaceted problems plaguing modern Egypt, exploring their historical context and potential implications for the future.

Historical Context and Current Challenges

Ancient History and Modern Reality

Egypt’s rich history is well-documented, with its ancient civilization leaving behind iconic landmarks such as the pyramids and the Sphinx. The country’s strategic location along the Nile has made it a target for numerous empires, including the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Ottomans, French, and British. The Arab conquest of 641 AD brought significant changes, including the spread of Islam and Arab culture, which continue to influence Egypt today.

However, modern Egypt is vastly different from its ancient counterpart. Covering an area of one million square kilometers, Egypt’s habitable land is confined to the Nile Valley and Delta, which comprise only 4% of the country’s total area. With a population of 114 million, Egypt has one of the highest population densities in the world, leading to severe overcrowding and strained resources.

Population Growth and Economic Strain

Egypt’s population has tripled in the last 50 years, from 38 million in 1975 to 114 million today. The fertility rate, although lower than in the past, remains high at three children per woman. This rapid population growth puts immense pressure on the country’s limited resources and infrastructure. If the current rate continues, Egypt’s population could reach 150 million within the next 25 years.

The economic implications of this growth are dire. Many Egyptians struggle to access basic necessities such as food, healthcare, and education. The authoritarian regime and unfavorable international conditions further exacerbate the situation, making it increasingly difficult for the government to meet the needs of its citizens.

The Impact of Global Events

The Ukraine War and Food Prices

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 had a significant impact on Egypt, particularly in terms of food security. Egypt relies heavily on wheat imports, with 70% of its supply coming from Russia and Ukraine. The war disrupted these imports, causing wheat prices to soar by up to 60%. As the world’s largest wheat importer, Egypt faced a severe crisis, with the price of bread—a staple food—becoming a matter of national security.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a massive blow to Egypt’s tourism industry, which accounts for a significant portion of the country’s income. The number of tourists plummeted from over 13 million in 2019 to just 3.2 million in 2020, resulting in a 70% drop in revenue. Although tourism rebounded to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza threatens to undermine this recovery.

The Suez Canal and Regional Instability

The Suez Canal, a critical revenue source for Egypt, has also been affected by regional instability. The conflict in Yemen and tensions in the Red Sea have led to a significant decline in canal traffic, with profits dropping by up to 50%. This reduction in revenue has serious implications for the Egyptian economy, which relies heavily on the canal’s income.

Domestic Issues and Government Response

Inflation and Economic Policies

Egypt’s economic woes are further compounded by rampant inflation, which reached 40% in September 2023 and remained high at 32.5% in early 2024. Food prices have been particularly affected, with inflation rates exceeding 70% at times. The government’s efforts to manage the situation, including securing loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, have been criticized for maintaining an artificially high exchange rate for the Egyptian pound.

Infrastructure Projects and Controversial Deals

Despite the economic crisis, President el-Sisi’s administration has embarked on several ambitious infrastructure projects. These include the construction of a new administrative capital, a $25 billion nuclear power plant, and a 2,000-kilometer high-speed rail network. Critics argue that these projects are misguided, given that 60% of the population lives in poverty.

In addition to these projects, Egypt has engaged in controversial deals to raise funds. In 2016, the country transferred sovereignty of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, sparking protests and public outrage. More recently, Egypt sold the coastal city of Ras Al-Hekma to the United Arab Emirates for $35 billion. These moves have been seen as desperate attempts to secure financial aid at the expense of national assets.

Regional Geopolitical Tensions

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

A major source of tension for Egypt is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Ethiopia has been constructing on the Blue Nile. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90% of its water needs, and the dam poses a potential threat to its water security. Despite ongoing negotiations, no resolution has been reached, and Egypt faces the possibility of severe water shortages during dry seasons.

Relations with Israel and Gaza

The situation in Gaza also poses a challenge for Egypt. The recent conflict between Hamas and Israel has led to fears of an influx of Palestinian refugees into Egypt. The government is keen to avoid this scenario, given the country’s existing economic and social pressures.

Political Landscape and Human Rights Concerns

Authoritarian Governance

President el-Sisi’s governance style has drawn comparisons to that of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. El-Sisi has extended his tenure through elections that have been criticized for lacking democratic processes. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have highlighted the repression of opposition figures and the curtailment of freedoms under el-Sisi’s rule.

International Aid and Its Implications

In an attempt to stabilize the country, the European Union has provided a €7.4 billion aid package to Egypt. While this aid is intended to help the country address its economic challenges, critics argue that it rewards el-Sisi’s autocratic leadership without ensuring meaningful reforms.


Egypt is at a critical juncture, facing a multitude of challenges that threaten its stability and future. From population growth and economic strain to regional conflicts and political repression, the country must navigate a complex web of issues. While President el-Sisi’s administration has embarked on ambitious projects and secured international aid, the long-term success of these efforts remains uncertain. The true victims of Egypt’s modern plagues are its people, who continue to grapple with the consequences of these multifaceted crises.


Q: What are the main factors contributing to Egypt’s economic crisis?
A: Key factors include rapid population growth, high inflation, reliance on wheat imports from conflict zones, and regional instability affecting tourism and Suez Canal revenues.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Egypt’s economy?
A: The pandemic significantly reduced tourism, a major revenue source, leading to a 70% drop in sector income in 2020. Although tourism has rebounded, ongoing regional conflicts pose new challenges.

Q: What is the significance of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for Egypt?
A: The dam threatens Egypt’s water security as the country relies on the Nile for 90% of its water needs. Ongoing disputes with Ethiopia over the dam’s impact have not been resolved.

Q: How is President el-Sisi’s governance compared to his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak?
A: El-Sisi’s governance has been criticized for authoritarian practices, including repression of opposition and lack of democratic processes in elections, drawing comparisons to Mubarak’s rule.

Q: What are the implications of Egypt’s recent land deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE?
A: These deals, seen as desperate attempts to secure financial aid, have sparked public outrage and controversy, as they involve relinquishing control over strategic and valuable territories.

Q: How does Egypt’s population density compare to other countries?
A: When considering habitable land, Egypt has one of the highest population densities in the world, with 2,850 people per square kilometer, twice that of Bangladesh and three times that of Palestine before the Gaza War.

Liked it? Take a second to support Ryan Hite on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

By Ryan Hite

Ryan Hite is an American author, content creator, podcaster, and media personality. He was born on February 3, 1993, in Colorado and spent his childhood in Conifer, Colorado. He moved to Littleton in 2000 and spent the remainder of his schooling years in the city. Upon graduation from Chatfield Senior High School in 2011, he attended the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated from the university in 2015 after studying Urban Planning, Business Administration, and Religious Studies. He spent more time in Colorado in the insurance, real estate, and healthcare industries. In 2019, he moved to Las Vegas, NV, where he continued to work in healthcare, insurance, and took his foray into media full time in 2021. His first exposure to the media industry came as a result of the experiences he had in his mid to late teens and early twenties. In 2013, he was compelled to collect a set of stories from his personal experiences and various other writings that he has had. His first book, a 365,000-word epic, Through Minds Eyes, was published in collaboration with Balboa Press. That initial book launched a media explosion. He learned all that he could about creating websites, marketing his published works, and would even contemplate the publication of other works as well. This book also inspired him to create his philosophy, his life work, that still influences the values that he holds in his life. Upon graduating college, he had many books published, blogs and other informative websites uploaded, and would embark on his continued exploration of the world of marketing, sales, and becoming an influencer. Of course, that did not come without challenges that would come his way. His trial-and-error approach of marketing himself and making himself known guided him through his years as a real estate agent, an insurance agent, and would eventually create a marketing plan from scratch with a healthcare startup. The pandemic did not initially create too many challenges to the status quo. Working from home did not affect the quality of his life. However, a series of circumstances such as continued website problems, social media shutdowns, and unemployment, caused him to pause everything between late 2020 and mid-2021. It was another period of loss of momentum and purpose for his life as he tried to navigate the world, as many people may have felt at that time. He attempted to find purpose in insurance again, resulting in failure. There was one thing that sparked his curiosity and would propel him to rediscover the thing that was gone from his life for so long. In 2021, he started his journey by taking on a full-time job in the digital media industry, an industry that he is still a part of today. It was at this point that he would also shut down the rest of the media that he had going at the time. In 2023, he announced that he would be embarking on what has become known as PROJECT30. This initiative will result in the reformation of websites, the reinvigoration of social media accounts, the creation of a Youtube channel and associated podcast, the creation of music, and the continued rediscovery of his creative potential. Unlike past projects, the purpose of this would not expound on the musings of a philosophy, the dissemination of useless news and articles, or the numerous attempts to be someone that he was not. This project is going to be about his authentic self. There are many ways to follow him as he embarks on this journey. Most of all, he wants everyone to be entertained, informed, and, in some ways, maybe a little inspired about the flourishing of the creativity that lies within the mind and soul of Ryan.

Leave a Reply