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The Egypt Bomb Goes Tick Tick Tick

Egypt is set to explode, according to former Finance Minister Samir Radwan. Joblessness stands at 74 percent for people under 30, according to government figures. This figure is unlikely to improve, the FT reports:

“I expect unemployment to increase because there are no signs that the economy is picking up,” says Mr Radwan. “Already some 1,500 [business] establishments have shut down.”

President Mohamed Morsi announced last week that Parliamentary elections will be held in April, prompting an outcry from his liberal opponents. But neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor any other potential candidate has any viable plan to ease unemployment. This, really, is all one needs to know about Egypt.

The economy is in a meltdown. And the situation on the ground will only be exacerbated by the hordes of young people (under-30s make up an estimated 60 percent of Egypt’s population) unable to find work to pay for the rising costs of basic goods. Radwan is right, the time bomb in Egypt is ticking. There is nothing worse for an unstable country than a restive, and hungry, youth. The only question now is, when the explosion comes, what will rise from the debris?

[Update: An earlier version of this post mistakenly stated that 74 percent of Egyptians are unemployed, rather than jobless. This error has been corrected.]

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