I’m writing this column while taking a week off in Cairo.
It’s not the most obvious tourist destination but my husband is here to write a book and so he packed me with him.
There are so many things wrong with Egypt’s economy it’s hard to know where to begin — most obviously the bombings that are keeping most tourists away. But there’s more to it than that.
One thing that makes me truly proud about Kent is we’re tucked away in a corner of England but yet we can supply the whole chain of production in the economy — our local food producers and the Made in Kent campaign are one example.
In Cairo, the pitta bread that Egyptians eat as a staple is made from wheat imported from America because the system doesn’t make it a worthwhile crop for local landowners.
The sheesha pipes smoked in every café use imported tobacco because growing it in Egypt is frowned upon. Even the Arabica coffee isn’t produced here.
The famous Egyptian cotton industry is a shadow of what it once was.
And so, when tourism dried up with the violence of the revolution and its aftermath, the impact on the economy was more significant because other industries couldn’t begin to compensate.
Clearly, our problems in Kent are on an infinitely smaller scale but — along with getting the country’s politics sorted out — a Made in Cairo campaign could go a long way to helping sorting out the economy.