In North Africa, Ukraine War Strains Economies Weakened by Pandemic

2:28 PM Aida Alami 0 Comments


CAIRO — On the way to the bakery, Mona Mohammed realized Russia’s war on Ukraine might have something to do with her.

Ms. Mohammed, 43, said she rarely pays attention to the news, but as she walked through her working-class Cairo neighborhood of Sayyida Zeinab on Friday morning, she overheard a few people fretting about the fact that Egypt imports most of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine.

War meant less wheat; war meant more expensive wheat. War meant that Egyptians whose budgets were already crimped from months of rising prices might soon have to pay more for the round loaves of aish baladi, or country bread, that contribute more calories and protein to the Egyptian diet than anything else.

“How much more expensive can things get?” Ms. Mohammed said as she waited to collect her government-subsidized loaves from the bakery.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week threatens to further strain economies across the Middle East already burdened by the pandemic, drought and conflict. As usual, the poorest have had it the worst, reckoning with inflated food costs and scarcer jobs — a state of affairs that recalled the lead-up to 2011, when soaring bread prices helped propel anti-government protesters into the streets in what came to be known as the Arab Spring.


Read the rest of the story on the New York Times

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