Egypt is a place that inspires the imagination of many around the world. Located in northeastern Africa with a population of about 100 million people, Egypt was home to one of the world’s earliest urban and literate societies and continues to be an important political and economic power today. Furthermore, in recent years, Egypt has made a lot of progress in addressing poverty. Here are four facts about poverty in Egypt.
4 Facts About Poverty in Egypt
- Egypt’s Poverty Rate. Egypt’s poverty rate decreased in 2021. In 2015, the Egyptian government implemented a series of macroeconomic and social reforms. These measures were meant to stabilize the economy and promote sustainable growth. As a result of an increase in private sector participation in the economy, Egypt’s GDP growth reached 5.6% in 2019, up from 5.3% in 2018. Additionally, real estate, wholesale and retail trade, tourism, gas extraction and construction have all been significant factors in the growth of wealth. The change also positively impacted the unemployment rate, which decreased from 9.9% in 2017-18 to 7.5% in 2018-19. With a decrease in unemployment comes a decrease in poverty, except for the 2020 economic downfall due to coronavirus. The 2021 poverty level is 29.7%, while it was at 32.5% in 2018.
- Workers in Egypt. Despite positive trends in GDP growth and unemployment rates, Egypt’s poverty rate increased in 2017 and 2018. The majority of workers in Egypt were wage workers before and in 2018. Most of them had limited skills and therefore limited opportunities. Almost 60% of wage workers have informal employment, as is the case for 77% of poor wage workers. Apart from that, about one-fourth of the employed work temporary jobs. Without benefits of social insurance, inflation and other economic changes are likely to affect them.
- New Social Protection Programs. Egypt has struggled to meet the basic medical needs of its people in past years, but the country has had success with other social protection programs. The country transitioned from a traditional social care system to a more comprehensive social protection program. The new programs have provided housing units, implemented cash support and provided water and sewage support. The country has also worked with relevant authorities to secure health insurance and subsidized products for its people. This has allowed many individuals and families to rise out of the poverty line. The program has allowed more people to benefit from it because it aids those wanting to get out from below the poverty line, and it has worked. There has also been a 22% increase in loans and a 50% increase in pensions.
- Haya Karima National Project. In direct response to the high rate of extreme poverty in Egypt in 2018, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) initiated the Haya Karima Project in early 2019. The project was to help decentralize and provide the people with more resources while expanding from urban areas to the countryside. According to the Haya Karima Project’s website, “The initiative’s role includes closing the developmental gaps among centers and villages and their dependencies, investing in human development, and enhancing the value of the Egyptian personality.” This program is designed to unify the people in an economic sense and their country while keeping in mind all those on the outside borders. The program is ultimately about empowering the people and improving the quality of life for Egyptians.
These facts about poverty in Egypt show that while it has had several challenges, it is also showing great progress in the fight against poverty. With the series of new reforms, the Egyptian government has implemented new policies to lift people out of poverty. Decreasing the poverty rate can bring improvements in various sectors such as education and health care. If the country continues to improve its social protection programs, then it can set an example for the countries in the region.
– Veronica Rosas