Egypt is struggling to contain a population explosion that has surged in the past three years, exacerbating many of the social tensions that indirectly led to the 2011 uprising.
"It's the highest spike ever in all Egyptian history," said Magued Osman, director of Egypt's leading statistics firm, Baseera, and former head of a government thinktank. "It's unheard of to have such a jump in a two-year period."
The rising population is seen as a social timebomb which, if untackled, will exhaust Egypt's depleted resources, worsen a dire jobs market, and contribute to yet more social frustration. With 60% of Egyptians under 30 already, a bulging population will further reduce the limited opportunities for young people.
You can't maintain a good education system with this number of people. If the population increases, you need a parallel increase in the number of classes. The average class size is already very high – at least 40, and in some governorates it's at 60."
"Now you [already] have a very high level of unemployment (13.4%), especially among university graduates and young people.Without any hopes and opportunities, those people become frustrated, and a serious source of unrest – and that was a major push-factor for the unrest in 2011."
An expanding population will also drain Egypt's natural resources. The country already faces severe water, energy and wheat shortages – and lacks the foreign currency reserves needed to fund the import of extra supplies. "It's an issue that cuts across everything in Egypt."
Experts say population control, which was relatively successful during the 80s and 90s, started to fall off the agenda during the last years of Hosni Mubarak's government – and was largely ignored in the chaos that followed his removal in 2011. And after Mohamed Morsi, a religious conservative, was elected in 2012, that negligence became official policy. His administration publicly declared that population control was not a government concern.
But now the cogs are slowing turning again at government level. Family planning awareness programmes are back in motion – though Youssef(head of Egypt's national population council) is keen to emphasise their voluntary nature, for fear of causing offence in a conservative society.
About 65% of Egyptian women use some form of contraception.
Youssef's NPC has put in place a strategy that will promote girls' education, encourage geographic redistribution, campaign against child marriage, and educate young people about sexual and reproductive health, and family planning.
But whether Egypt's political class understands the importance of supporting such initiatives remains to be seen.
"The horizon of this problem is very long, which is contradictory to the horizons of politicians.Usually politicians want quick results that will enhance their reputation now. But with population you need some kind of long-term vision."