• Short Summary

    More than three years have passed since President Anwar Sadat was assassinated.

  • Description

    GIZA, CAIRO, EGYPT, MAY 27, 1984: GVs & SVs Hosni Mubarak walks into voting station. Marks ballot paper. Casts vote. SV EXTERIOR Mubarak interviewed. (English SOT) (5 SHOTS)

    CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 30, 1984: GVs & SVs Accused behind bars in courtroom singing. Accused cheering. (3 SHOTS)

    COUNTRYSIDE NEAR CAIRO, NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 1984: GVs & SVs Cornfield with pyramid in background. Workers and women and children in fields. Water buffalo being led through field. Buffalo under tree PAN TO Houses by canal. Factories by Nile. Chimneys. Men loading bricks and working on construction site. (11 SHOTS)

    CAIRO, 1979: GV EXTERIOR Helwan steelworks. INTERIOR Worker watching molten metal. Steel in vat. (3 SHOTS)

    RED SEA, APRIL 1980: GV TILT DOWN FROM drilling tower TO rig on pontoon. SVs Workmen. Pipe being lowered into bore hole. (3 SHOTS)

    CAIRO, JANUARY 20, 1977: GVs & SVs Burnt out bus in street after food riots. Fire-damaged night club. Workmen clearing up and salvaging bottles. (5 SHOTS)

    CAIRO, NOVEMBER 1984: GVs & SVs Busy street INTERIOR Bread being baked SCU Dough being mixed PULL BACK TO SV mixer. Rolls being made. Rolls being sold at hatch. SV Meat carcase PAN TO Customer inspecting meat. SVs Butcher cutting carcase. SV Cans of milk PAN TO Shopkeeper. SCU Jam label SVs Woman buying pasta. Bag being filled. SCU Pasta in sack. SV Women waiting in market for supplies. (14 SHOTS)


    MUBARAK: "I think the representatives will represent the whole Egyptian population and will have to work firmly for the sake, and the interests, and the welfare, of the Egyptian people."

    Initials PW/JRS/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: More than three years have passed since President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. His successor President Hosni Mubarak has run through more than half his presidential term, yet his Egypt is still plagued by formidable economic and social problems. High on President Mubarak's list of concerns is Egypt's mushrooming population growth. With a new baby born every 23 seconds Egypt's current population of 47 million is expected to double over the next 23 years. This problem is compounded by the country's inability to feed itself -- the world's oldest agricultural society now imports 65 per cent of its food. Inflation is more than 20 per cent, and the country has a 19 billion dollar foreign debt. There are also the problems of food subsidies and crumbling infrastructure in the big cities.

    SYNOPSIS: May 27, and President Mubarak votes in the elections won by his ruling National Democratic Party. The poll was marked by violence and allegations of vote rigging. In the previous parliament the combined opposition held only 21 of the 392 seats. In this poll, for 448 assembly seats, the National Democratic Party took 391 seats with the opposition group, the WAFD, gaining the remaining 57. President Mubarak hailed the election as a turning point in his country's history.

    Crammed behind the iron bars of a huge cage in a Cairo court stand more than 300 Islamic extremists accused of plotting revolution following President Sadat's assassination. No death sentences were imposed and 174 men were acquitted. The extremist Moslem groups have been outlawed but the trial was a forceful reminder of the tensions beneath the surface in Egyptian society.

    In agriculture the ancient ways, some as ancient as the Pharoahs, still prevail. But the number of machines and the number of women and children in the rural landscape grows everyday -- they are doing the work of men. Some villages have lost up to 50 per cent of their man-power over the last five years. The men have drifted to the cities where they can double or treble the average farm wage of 2.5 dollars a day. Cairo's infrastructure is crumbling under the onslaught. City services designed for two million now have to cope with 12 to 14 million. Rural workers also escape abroad where, in four years, they can earn as much as they would in a lifetime on the land in Egypt. Officially there are some three to four million expatriates who remit an estimated four million dollars back to Egypt. Farmland is lost to construction at the rate of 50,000 acres a year -- particularly in the fertile Nile delta.

    A steel mill near Cairo. Heavy industry, while expanding, is still unable to sustain exports which could alleviate the trade deficit.

    Even the merging oil industry has been hit by the world glut. Oil exports are likely to fall towards the end of the decade because of increasing domestic consumption.

    But it is the subsidies on food prices which are probably the most sensitive barometer of social unrest. In 1977 President Sadat had to suspend price rises after two days of rioting in which up to 65 people died and more than 2,000 were arrested.

    At the beginning of October last year, in an attempt to cutback on Government spending, Mubarak announced a rise in the price of bread and other subsidised items. There were riots, and within hours, the Government was forced to climb down and restore the lower bread price and roll back price rises for macaroni and cooking fat. Egypt has one of the highest per capita rates of bread consumption among developing countries -- wheat imports in 1983 were in the order of six million tonnes. Egyptians have grown to depend on subsidies for food, fuel, cigarettes and a host of other consumer goods. They have been built into the system since the days of President Nasser. But they are a constant drain on the economy and present a thorny problem for the Government. For the ordinary Egyptian in this market place, any price rise could be disastrous -- while for the Government it could be the spark which sets off riots and revolution.

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