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Africa Cup of Nations Notebook – Day 28



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Egypt has a strong social support system

Egypt, despite its social, political and economic challenges, has a functioning social welfare system. The government currently provides what they call “social solidarity pension” to 1.2 million families and hopes to increase this to 3.3 million families by 2020. The system supports impoverished families with children of school-going age, the elderly and people with special needs, mainly in Upper Egypt. Women comprise 88 per cent of the beneficiaries. The government provides monthly conditional pensions to vulnerable families and non-conditional pensions to poor, elderly citizens and people with severe disabilities and illnesses, as well as orphans. The government also has specific subsides for food and electricity power.

If you have appetite, eat: Algeria FA boss

Algeria’s Desert Foxes are on the brink of their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years and their second in history.

They have scored in all their six matches played with a goal count of 12 against two that makes them the most prolific team in the tournament.

No wonder the president of Algerian Football Federation, Zetchi Kheireddine, was bullish when asked about their title prospects: “If you have an appetite, you have to eat. We will work hard to win this trophy because it will be something wonderful for the Algerian people.”

Kheireddine has camped here to lift the mood in his team’s camp ahead of Friday’s final against Senegal.

Foreigners get phone lines for limited time

The authorities here keep tabs with foreigners in covert and overt ways.

One way is to control how and where you can get connected to the mobile phone network. Foreigners can only get a SIM card that works for just one month. After that, the line automatically goes dead whether you have loaded airtime worth a millions shillings or not. To register for a SIM card as a foreigner one has to provide their original passport whose details will be captured together with their visa. There is no option of extending the line once it expires. The only other option is signing up for a new line through the same process.

Dating is serious business here

Weddings are big business here. Every other day there is a procession celebrating holy matrimony.

However, for a young man to get married they must first have a fully furnished house. Young men, according to a helpful friend, do not bother to date until they have managed to put a roof under their own heads.

And dating is also a serious business. Unlike in Kenya where people date for fun and many easily have multiple dating partners, in Egypt, once a young man asks a lass out, he has to be serious from the first date. This is to say that it should lead to marriage at some point! Otherwise, he should not bother asking the girl out.

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