Arabeyes: Rising Cost of Living

Prices of commodities ranging from grocery to building material and rent are going up, up, up and being the true mirrors of their societies, bloggers from Yemen, Egypt, Kuwait and Qatar are speaking up.


From Yemen, Omar Barsawad offers the following explanation for the sharp rise in the cost of food produce. He writes:

World wide – Climate is changing fast. Farmers now grow bio-fuels crops leading to a reduction in the production of food. The World’s population is growing at an alarming rate; on its current growth rate, World population is expected to reach nearly 9 billion by the year 2050. – which would require food production to increase as fast; to keep up. As it is, right now, each day, more and more people have less food to eat or are going hungry.

He then zooms into Hadhramout in Yemen, giving us an account of how prices have changed over the previous year. He writes:

Here in Hadhramout, in the past one year – prices of the main staple foods: wheat and rice, have sharply risen. So have those of cooking oil, milk and meat. And of almost all of the other ingredients used in daily recipes. Other necessities too, have sharply risen in prices: pharmaceutical products and building materials, are now much more expensive than they were a couple of years ago. All these, is now having a direct impact on most people’s lives.

To overcome the problem, BarSawad describes how the Yemenis cope, saying:

But we Yemenis, being so full of pride as we are and at the same time being as humble as we are – do manage. We some how manage to survive and live dignified lives. Families and friends – within Yemen and those outside – who have more, care for and help those who have less. We share. And we care for each other.

On the other side of the equation, he says the prices of electronic goods are falling.

What I find most amazing, is that – while the prices of food and other necessities sharply rise here, the prices of electronic products have been falling. In particular, those of: cell phones, television sets, DVD players, satellite receivers et cetera.

Why is that you may ask. After some investigation, the blogger makes the following discovery:

The answer was simple: older model cell pones had their prices greatly reduced; the latest and newer models were very expensive and only very few could afford them. Same with the other electronic items; the older models had their prices very much slashed. For instance: CRT television
sets, which have become unfashionable and obsolete in America, Europe and other developed countries; and have no market there – are now being
dumped in to Yemen and other poorer, developing countries.


From Kuwait, Philq8 paints a similar picture. The Filipina blogger explains:

The increase of all commodities in Kuwait nowadays is really unbelievable. Prices in many private supermarkets adjust their tags from 10 to 40 percent. One cart full of groceries before cost only from 30-35 Dinars but now it costs from 50-55 Dinars! Landlord demands increase of rent!

To add insult to injury, the dropping dollar rates aren't much help. Philq8 writes:

Dollar is very weak nowadays which greatly affect our Peso’s exhange rates! Before, when you send Php 20,000, it will only cost around KD108 but now you need KD136 to reach that amount. Well, well…I’m glad that peso has higher value nowadays but what matters to me most is all the commodities in Phil. is also high, the prices did not decrease! Now, I don’t think everybody can survive at all!


Egyptian blogger Zeinobia has another axe to grind and co-relates between the increasing steel prices in the market and corruption. She explains:

I have just knew from resources in Twitter that they stop building houses and building in general because of the prices of Steel in the Sharqia Governate in North Delta !! Already the price of Steel reached there to L.E 7000 !!

The Prices in Egypt especially in the construction field reached to the highest level ever thanks to the Tycoon of Steel.

The contractors in Egypt are complaining because the prices of Steel affected the prices of other materials including the Cement which is already has its own crisis and problem.

The steel and cement in Egypt now are causing huge problem thanks to monopoly. People can't buy houses anymore , apartments not villas are so expensive now.

Even contractors and construction companies are complaining from this rise more than the public , because in the end they can't buy any material to build anything and even if they do build anything no body will buy it because of the prices ,it is just a closed circle.


In Qatar, Harley 60 had to take his landlord to court after doubling his rent. He explains:

My landlord tried to increase the rent on the villa from QR8000 pm to QR16000. Landlord put this in writing as an eviction letter, also stating that otherwise if we don't pay the new amount;he will use the property for his son who is getting married. We took legal advice, started paying the rent through the court and won our case last week. I think the landlord's case was not very solid as he asked for increased rent or eviction and he had 7 other properties in a row beside out villa. So, it is worth sticking up for your rights here and the legal system does not always favour local residents rather than expat residents. Seems that the rent laws are having some effect and that the judges are fair.

Too bad we can't take our grocers to court!


  • Tarek Ali

    Have you heard about the boy of 15 years old who was killed by the Egyptian policemen on the mehalla’s strike? The killed the boy violently because he was struggling for an increase of pay, what a mess!!!!

  • Tarek Ali

    Have you heard about the the blogger Tarek who wants to boycott the world, including Egypt because Egyptians insult the name of God on fights as well as foreigners who tease at Mohamed. how much funny is that guy! It would be much worth boycotting his Blogging site as he has really narrow vision. I am not saying that for any personal interest but very sorry about those people who still handle very trivial matters, ruling out more serious problems in our life. if he is so zealous like that against those who tease at Mohamed, then what about our Arabic presidents! are they better than what we call them athiets? our prisdents are devils and even much more worse. we must not distract ourselves, concerning minor issues.

  • Tarek Ali

    Have you heard that there will be aother strike in Egypt the 4th of May? I am in, and you?

  • Tarek Ali

    The problem of our Arabic countries is that there is not a unified mobilisation toward a unique issue. Furthermore, there is not a consistent reaction which may be organised in such way that it can overthrow our dictatorships. One time you see them full of anchor and for so long sleeping on their beds watching very boring fictions. No unity and that is the main reason which makes us be manipulated easily. One very famous criticism about our peoples cites that our nations, when they read they don?t understand and when they do understand they don?t act forward! Imploration is their basic characteristic and obedience is their curse. They confine themselves in a matrix of religious superstitions which may be the main reason of keeping us under the grip of the dictatorship. Detachment from religion is required as well as those elite who might help the simple persons to understand the bitter reality in which we have been living. Go figure that till now we have never had any democratic government elected by people and we are still getting lost determining our ideology. There should be a cultural rise conducted by intellectual class to awake our people.

  • […] di globalizzazione, in Yemen, i prezzi dei beni di prima necessità sono cresciuti mentre il costo delle attrezzature elettroniche è sceso. Il Kuwait ha visto un aumento dei prezzi, […]

  • Tarek Ali

    Egypt has renewed Emergency law. Its seems that it will last for ever.

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