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For decades, millions of Egyptians have depended on the government to keep basic goods affordable. But a series of shocks to the global economy and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have endangered the social contract in the Middle East's most populous country, which is also the world's biggest importer of wheat. It is now grappling with double-digit inflation and a steep devaluation of its currency, prompting oil-rich Gulf Arab countries to once again step in with financial support as talks with the International Monetary Fund drag on. The possibility of food insecurity has raised concerns.

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A baker stacks loaves of Egyptian traditional "baladi" flatbread outside a bakery, in the Old Cairo district of Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 8, 2022. For decades, millions of Egyptians have depended on the government to keep basic goods affordable. But a series of shocks to the global economy and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have endangered the social contract in the Middle East's most populous country, which is also the world's biggest importer of wheat. It is now grappling with double-digit inflation and a steep devaluation of its currency. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

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FILE - A general view of Cairo, Egypt, May 25, 2022. For decades, millions of Egyptians have depended on the government to keep basic goods affordable. But a series of shocks to the global economy and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have endangered the social contract in the Middle East's most populous country, which is also the world's biggest importer of wheat. It is now grappling with double-digit inflation and a steep devaluation of its currency. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)

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FILE - A farmer carries a bundle of wheat on a farm in the Nile Delta province of al-Sharqia, Egypt, May 11, 2022. For decades, millions of Egyptians have depended on the government to keep basic goods affordable. But a series of shocks to the global economy and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have endangered the social contract in the Middle East's most populous country, which is also the world's biggest importer of wheat. It is now grappling with double-digit inflation and a steep devaluation of its currency. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)