(Repeats story first filed on Sunday)
* Egypt's Sisi sworn in as President
* Unemployment fuelled revolution, calls for change
* Sisi faces challenge to turn economy around, create jobs
By Asma Alsharif
CAIRO, June 8 A few hundred meters from the
fluttering flags, patriotic songs and dancing crowds outside the
constitutional court where Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in as
Egypt's president on Sunday, the mood was decidedly downbeat.
In the Dar el-Salam slum, frowning, pensive men sat on
stools on a cracked sidewalk surrounded by crumbling bare brick
buildings, hoping to be picked up by contractors, their hammers
and picks beside them.
The lucky ones get a day of back-breaking work for meagre
Unemployment, low wages and poverty triggered the 2011
revolt that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak but delivered few
tangible benefits, making Egyptians sceptical of their leaders.
"The revolution happened and we haven't seen a thing. I hope
the situation will improve, but God only knows," said Ahmed
Mohamed, 57, his face worn by 30 years of toiling on
construction sites to try to support his three children.
Stagnation has dragged on since former army chief Sisi
ousted Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer after
mass protests against his rule. While official figures put
unemployment at around 13 percent, the real figure is widely
believed to be far higher.
The calls for bread, freedom and social justice which fired
up the revolt that removed Mubarak and rang out against Mursi
could also become Sisi's nightmare if he does not move fast to
fix high unemployment and a widening budget deficit.
The unemployed day labourers sit on the same stools, on the
same sidewalk, year after year. None seemed confident Sisi is
the leader who will finally reach out to them.
HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?
Egypt's Gulf Arab allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates and Kuwait have given Egypt more than $12 billion in
cash and petroleum products since Mursi's fall.
But none seems to have trickled down to the poor, who
represent one in four of the population living on less than
$1.65 a day.
Some, like Ghazzawi Mostafa, a 26-year-old father of two,
fear history is repeating itself: domination by the wealthy
while the less fortunate go unnoticed.
"The state is still the same. We're always the bums sitting
on the sides of the street," said Mostafa. He makes around 200
Egyptian pounds ($27.97) a month on odd jobs.
Officials forecast economic growth at just 3.2 percent in
the fiscal year that begins July 1, well below levels needed to
crate enough jobs for a rapidly growing population of 85 million
and ease widespread poverty.
Aside from the country's financial difficulties, a sore
point for many is the inequality in wealth distribution that has
been the norm for decades.
Under Mubarak, political and business elites thrived while
the poor were neglected, creating a large gap in the
distribution of wealth which eventually fuelled the 2011
A newly implemented minimum wage system guarantees that
public sector workers will make at least 1,200 Egyptian pounds a
month, but some officials earn far more and in the private
sector, wages can reach almost a million pounds a month.
Near the upscale strip of the Corniche in the Cairo suburb
of Maadi, where top government officials live, the unpaved
alleys of Dar el-Salam exude a putrid smell as puddles of sewage
are left to fester for weeks.
Fathi Bayoumi, a 60 year old tailor, stands in front of his
two-by-four metre shop. A web of electric wires dangle on the
bare red brick wall and attach to a single light bulb above his
sewing machine, the only accessory in his shop.
"When I go out of this area and see the difference in
lifestyles, I return depressed and not wanting to talk to
anyone. There is a huge gap and those people cannot imagine the
conditions we are living in," Bayoumi said.
"There are no officials who visit these areas. They just get
their positions and forget about us. People are tired We say
may God help Sisi. I'm hopeful because I have to be so that I
($1 = 7.1502 Egyptian Pounds)
(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; editing by Philippa Fletcher)