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Ramadan dessert sweetens Egypt's pain

Friday, July 18, 2014 - 01:26

During the holy month of Ramadan, Egyptians enjoy konafor, a traditional sweet treat that for some, at least, takes their mind off a fresh round of austerity cuts. Ben Holman reports.

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Food inflation has been a problem in Egypt for some time. However one dessert is still selling like hot cakes. During the holy month of Ramadan, family feasts are common place, and konafa, a sweet pastry, is a traditional favorite. Ibrahim Arafa owns one of the oldest konafa shops in Cairo. SOUNDBITE: Ibrahim Arafa, Owner, Arafa's, saying (Arabic) : "Konafa making started in the 1870s and consisted of a stone brazier that had a copper tray on top … Now we use a machine." Egypt's economy isn't running as smoothly. Government cuts are putting a strain on ordinary Egyptians. And there are worries too many could cause further civil unrest. Firas Abi Ali is from IHS Control Risks. SOUNDBITE: Firas Abi Ali, Manager, IHS Control Risks, saying (English) : "The government is facing an Islamist insurgency at the same time it's trying to fix the economy. If it manages to fix the economy it can defeat the insurgency because it will make sure that the Egyptian public doesn't en masse turn against the government. But if it fails to deal with the economic challenges then the position of the insurgence will obviously be strengthened." As public disillusionment builds, the government could find it harder to prevent tensions from bubbling over. Until that happens, Arafa's customers are enjoying their mouth-watering treats. Proving that people from all sides of the political debate have one thing in common: a sweet tooth.

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Ramadan dessert sweetens Egypt's pain

Friday, July 18, 2014 - 01:26