Egypt calculates the costs of political turmoil

Supporters of President Mubarak throw stones in the direction of anti-government protestors in Tahrir Square.

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The White House is talking with top Egyptian officials about ways to resolve the country's crisis. That includes a possible, immediate change in leadership. According to one bank estimate, the turmoil has cost the Egyptian economy at least $300 million a day. In closed businesses, Internet commerce and lost wages.

The BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi is in Cairo with us this morning. Hi there.

MAGDI ABDELHADI: Hello.

CHIOTAKIS: We've been hearing and seeing a lot about how foreign journalists are having a tough time doing their jobs there in Egypt. How are you doing?

ABDELHADI: You know I come from this part of the world, so I don't look foreign, but once you're in the square actually that the protest movement started in, you'd be surprised how welcoming the people are, especially for foreign journalists. I heard it with my own ears, saying, "We welcome foreign journalists because they tell the truth." But outside that area of course, it is not entirely safe.

CHIOTAKIS: What about the banks over there that have been shut down now for a week? We're hearing that they're going to try and reopen this weekend on Sunday. Is that still the case?

ABDELHADI: They could let the country run again if they want to if there is a political agreement at the top on how to proceed and my reading of it that there doesn't seem to be such an agreement. There is still a conflict of some kind of how to go ahead. The entire economy has moorless ground to hold. This country relies, for example to a great extent, on tourism. I've spoken to middle ranking businessmen who say, "Well, we're not doing anything." And hence the urgency of the state to try to get the economy going again because it's in their best interest. But without a political will to find an acceptable solution, acceptable to the people who took to the streets, to the opposition, this may drag on for a while.

CHIOTAKIS: The BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi is in Cairo. Thank you so much.

ABDELHADI: Thank you.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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