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Jobless and Desperate, Egyptians Risk All in Perilous Libya

A man is comforted by others as he mourns over Egyptian Coptic Christians who were captured in Libya and killed by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, outside of the Virgin Mary church in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A man is comforted by others as he mourns over Egyptian Coptic Christians who were captured in Libya and killed by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, outside of the Virgin Mary church in the village of el-Aour, near Minya, 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

 

AL-OUR, Egypt (Reuters) – Facing grim economic prospects at home, desperate young Egyptians are seeking jobs in Libya – a country sliding into lawlessness where armed groups battle for control and dozens of their compatriots have been kidnapped.

Tackling unemployment in Egypt – where half of the rapidly growing population is under 25 – is one of the toughest challenges facing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

He rules a country that has seen two presidents deposed in the past four years. The 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak was fuelled in part by anger over joblessness.

Affording a home and getting married is still difficult under Sisi for many young men unable to make a living.

The political and social unrest since Mubarak was ousted has scared foreign investors and tourists away from Egypt, the world’s most populous Arab nation with 90 million people. This has exacerbated the job crisis, and the unemployment rate has climbed from 8.9 percent to 13 percent in that time.

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