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Sisi mocked for pleading for 'spare change'

With an IMF loan of $12bn agreed with Egypt, the president has asked Egyptians to hand over pennies to help close the spending gap
A video showing Sisi as a toy taking money has been shared more than two million times (Screengrab / Facebook)

Egyptians are getting used to hearing the government ask them to make economic sacrifices in the face of a struggling economy.

However on Monday a new plea to the public for small change from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sparked amusement among his hard-pressed people.

Sisi took to the stage at a housing project launch and asked Egyptians to donate extra "change" - even pennies - to help fund Egypt's social spending.

Announcing a new housing project, the former military leader said: "I don't know how we can do it but, you know that extra change, the 50p or one pound in our day-to-day transactions, can you put it towards these projects?"

Giving another example, Sisi said when cashing in a salary cheque for 1,250.80 pounds "can't we donate that extra 80p or whatever?" 

"We are talking about possibly 20-30 million people. If everyone donated their extra change of one pound we are talking about potentially big numbers," he said.

The IMF recently agreed a $12bn loan with Egypt in return for fiscal tightening, with the prospect of painful reforms around the corner to fulfil the terms of the deal. A quarter of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day.

In 2015 the investment minister, Ashraf Salman, stated Egypt had received $23bn in aid from the Gulf monarchies in just 18 months.

Egyptians quickly took to social media to respond to the president's request. 

Remember that economic conference in Sharm el-Sheikh?


'I have no change'


Where will it go?

Translation: "Give me spare change so we can raise salaries for... the army, the police, and the judges"

Translation: "You took 64bn from the people and you didn't do anything with it, what will you do with our change?"

The Sisi piggy bank?

How about wishing wells?

Egypt's economy has been suffering greatly with youth unemployment at 42 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank.