Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly holds a meeting with ministers in the New Administrative Capital, 3 March 2022. Egyptian Cabinet
"The crisis has cast a shadow over the entire world and left enormous negative repercussions, and we in Egypt are not isolated from the world, and therefore there are negative economic effects," he told a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
The state is working on mitigating the intensity of these impacts through guaranteeing the availability of basic commodities in markets, the prime minister pointed out, according to a cabinet statement released following the meeting.
Egypt has been monitoring the rise in the price of commodities worldwide, especially wheat, due to the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, two of the world’s top wheat exporters. Egypt, one of the world’s top wheat importers, gets around 80 percent of its wheat imports from both warring countries.
Madbouly called for following up on markets periodically amid the current conditions to prevent any price gouging attempts, warning that the government will not allow such practices since the country has already managed to secure a strategic reserve of various types of basic commodities.
On Sunday, the country's supply minister, Ali Moselhi, said that the strategic reserves of basic food commodities – including wheat, rice, meat and poultry – will last for months.
Madbouly offered assurances that the national megaprojects the state has been carrying out have started to bear fruit and help the country in weathering such crises, saying that these projects "protects us from being affected by any negative repercussions of disturbances or wars."
The premiere said the state-run silo projects contributed to providing a safe strategic reserve of wheat. Also, the presidential health initiative alleviated the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, the statement added.
In recent years, Egypt launched a national project to secure stockpiles of of strategic foods through the construction of nearly 50 silos distributed over 17 governorates, with a storage capacity reaching nearly 1.5 million tonnes.
In 2021, Egypt imported 5.5 million tonnes of wheat, on top of 3.5 million tonnes from local farms. Egypt also forecast wheat imports in 2022 to drop to 5.3 million tonnes due to an increase in local production.
The last year’s increase is ascribed to the silos project, in addition to the government's decision to raise the price of the wheat it buys from farmers, which encouraged them to increase the amount of land planted.
Madbouly also expressed his appreciation for efforts made by the country's ministries of foreign affairs, emigration and Egyptian expatriates, civil aviation and social solidarity in coordinating the repatriation of 175 Egyptians who were stranded in Ukraine.
During today's meeting, Emigration Minister Nabila Makram said the ministry is pushing ahead with efforts to coordinate with the Egyptian community in Ukraine.
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine started last week, around 6,000 Egyptians lived in Ukraine, including 3,000 students studying at Ukraine’s universities, especially in medicine.
The Egyptian authorities have been urging expats in western Ukrainian cities to head to the borders of Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary to be repatriated to Egypt.
Along with 140 other countries, Egypt has voted for a UN resolution on Wednesday calling for a halt to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from its western neighbour.
Egypt called for a quick political solution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis through peaceful means, warning of the crisis’s impact on the already-suffering global economy. The country also warned against economic sanctions that are not based on the mechanisms of the multilateral international system.