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Poverty in EgyptNearly one-third of Egyptians fall below the poverty line, with the unemployment rate trending higher than extremely impoverished countries such as Ghana, Lebanon and Zimbabwe. In 2011, lasting poverty rates and poor living conditions caused Egyptian retaliation against the government. Political instability has complicated Egypt’s foreign partnerships since that time, subsequently affecting all areas of the economy; as a result, foreign investment in the country’s resources has had notable fluctuations. The inconsistency in Egypt’s economy leaves few employment opportunities, especially among younger generations, inevitably affecting rates of poverty in Egypt.

Travel in Egypt

Typically, travelers visiting Egypt receive encouragement to exercise increased caution, per the U.S. Global Health Advisory. The country ranks two out of four on the U.S. Department of State’s safety scale; this rating indicates that the U.S. Department of State has approved travel there although tourists should recognize the possible risks. This system is not solely unique to the United States – many countries have similar regulations. However, due to the global impact of COVID-19, regular travel ratings are momentarily on hold.

Factors responsible for Egypt’s pre-pandemic, level-two status include levels of terrorism and lingering tensions with the U.S. Embassy. This score is an improvement from a travel rating of four in 2011. Egypt received this high rating during a violent national rebellion that broke out against police brutality, the poor economy and religious divides. When a country has a level-four rating, the U.S. Department of State tells Americans not to travel there.

Tourism’s Impact on Egypt’s Economy

In February 2019, research expert Amna Puri-Mirza provided a statistical analysis that demonstrated that a decline in tourism impacted the Egyptian economy. From 2010 to 2011, national profits from the tourist industry dropped 32 percent in reaction to the Egyptian rebellion. In 2015, news of a Russian airline crash that was traveling to Cairo decreased tourism from 14.7 million to 5.4 million people in 2016.

The connection between tourism and poverty in Egypt correlates with the market value of different services and goods that the country produces; profits from tourism hold a large percentage of the country’s overall income. In 2018, tourism supported 2.5 million jobs, indicating heavy reliance on the industry. When situations adversely impact tourism around the globe, this substantially impacts the economy, and in turn, poverty in Egypt.

Efforts to Reduce Poverty in Egypt

Working to ease economic stress, the Egyptian government succeeded in obtaining a loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2016. While there might be uncertainties for the future of the loan, it is certainly aiding the nation in the return of tourists. Research on Egypt’s travel and tourism show promising signs of continued recovery, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. In 2019, Egypt’s tourism level improved by 16.5 percent from the previous year, which is higher than the global average. Such an incredible growth rate is a promising sign for the rates of poverty in Egypt.

Foreign Relations with the U.S.

Despite past tensions, the partnership between the U.S. and Egypt has greatly improved. The established relationship could substantially impact the state of poverty in Egypt. The Trump Administration announced a priority of aid for Egypt; specifically, it intends to provide economic reforms and military funds to combat radical terrorism in Egypt. “Our relationship has never been stronger. And we’re working with Egypt on many different fronts,” said President Trump. Upon continuing a solid relationship with the U.S., the Egyptian government could utilize the support in developing a sustainable economy post-loan.

Other Initiatives

Egyptian President El-Sisiis and his officials are also working on economic reform needed to reduce poverty in Egypt. Like many nations, the sudden 2020 Coronavirus outbreak presents additional obstacles in accomplishing this goal. Experts expect that Egypt’s tourism industry will lose more than 40,000 workers to unemployment as a result.

Now, more families will be at risk of falling into poverty, causing a heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19. On March 20, 2020, The World Bank Group donated $7.9 million to fund Egypt’s emergency response. The nonprofit is working with Egypt to create financial, technological and health strategies to protect citizens. Ideally, the country should be able to avoid the anticipated increase in poverty in Egypt through this aid. Assisting the Egyptian economy has become an international effort. Not only is does The World Bank intend for the aid to provide the government with resources, but it also intends to disperse it among Egypt’s citizens, especially those experiencing poverty in Egypt.

Tourism is a key source of income for the country but has recently halted. Additionally, tense international relations and a poor global image have further damaged the already struggling economy. Fortunately, new global partnerships with Egypt have aided in encouraging tourism in Egypt. While the 2020 pandemic puts this travel on hold, the response of increasing aid will support the economy and prevent further poverty in Egypt. If aid continues, Egypt will receive a great opportunity to sustain its economy and people.

GraceElise Van Valkenburg
Photo: Pixabay

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in CairoCairo, the capital city of Egypt, is one of the most heavily populated regions in the country, causing a significant increase in social gaps. However, the future for Cairo looks hopeful. Below are the top 10 facts about poverty in Cairo.

Facts About Poverty in Cairo

  1. During the years 2015-2016, it was recorded that 27.8 percent of the Egyptian population was living in poverty, which was considered the highest rate recorded for the area since the year 2000. Of the 27.8 percent, the city of Cairo made up a colossal 18 percent of the poverty in Egypt.
  2. The government created a metamorphic reform program to lower poverty in Cairo in 2014. The program was created to trigger the economy, boost business conditions and create equitable growth. This plan showed conclusive results almost immediately, although it didn’t fix everything right away. In spite of these efforts, the social climate still showed difficulties. With high inflation and the disintegration of income in some areas, growth is not as abundant.
  3. The Cairo 2050 project was put into action in 2007. The project was developed to bolster project overreach and contact with all shareholders and establish the Local Urban Observatory Unit as a monitoring mechanism for urban development.
  4. In 2017, statistics showed that Cairo has one of the lowest living costs compared to virtually every major city. The cost of living in Cairo dropped nearly 15 percent between 2016 and 2017.
  5. On January 30, 2018, Ghada Wali, the Minister of Social Solidarity in Egypt, explained to the United Nations that ending poverty in Egypt is the top strategy for sustainable development. Their plan is to encourage: micro, modest and medium enterprises; job creation; social preservation; entrepreneurship; as well as overseeing and reporting on poverty.
  6. The poverty line in Greater Cairo is severely underestimated and does not account for the cost of basic necessities. Communities who live in ashwa’iyyat, or unofficial housing arrangements, pay more for food than those who live in high-income neighborhoods.
  7. Inequitable subsidies for food and water is an issue. Although the vouchers are available to the poor, they are also accessible to the middle class as well as the rich thereby creating wealth inequality and fewer resources for those in more vulnerable situations. Besides this, electricity and drinking water are available to the poor and the rich at the same rate.
  8. With a total of 289 slums in Cairo alone, the capital of Egypt has the highest poverty rate next to Alexandria and Port Said.
  9. The Program of Action was adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. It sought to improve reproductive and health rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality — all of which will allow Cairo to provide opportunities to those who are usually neglected.
  10. The poverty rate in Cairo was extremely high in 2016. In January 2015, the unemployment rate was 12.8 percent, however, it dropped down significantly to 11.8 percent in January 2018.

Egypt has found itself in the throes of poverty and social unrest for many years. With the economy, education, population and development showing uneven statistics throughout protests and social issues that the country has found itself in, the people of Cairo still have hope. These top 10 facts about poverty in Cairo prove that Egyptians are resilient, strong people just fighting for a better future.

– Rebecca Lee

Photo: Flickr

How the Media Misrepresents Egypt
How the media misrepresents Egypt begins with the country’s own local and national media. All media in Egypt before the introduction of the Internet in 1993 was controlled by the Egyptian government through the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) and any broadcasters had to be a member of this union. The ERTU was completely funded by the regime and was responsible for approving any news that was broadcast.

After the Internet was introduced, the public began to understand the extent of the censorship they were being subjected to. The public protested for freedom of speech and the government made changes to allow more open broadcasting. In 1996, a media company by the name of Al Jazeera developed the first 24-hour news channel in Egypt and sought to change how and what news was reported in Egypt.

The Al Jazeera channel was launched by the emir of Qatar and funded by the Qatari royal family. The channel often spoke negatively of Egyptian and Arab officials. These actions initiated several arrests of broadcasters that were covering government issues. This caused the regime to once again censor the media by issuing a warning to all broadcasters to choose only pro-government and pro-military topics.

How the International Media Misrepresents Egypt

How the international media misrepresents Egypt is quite different than that of the local media. There are many Egyptians that are upset over how the international media reported on peaceful demonstrations against former president Hosni Mubarak. Meanwhile, the protests that have taken place in Tahrir Square have been portrayed in news reports as destabilizing the nation and focused on extreme violence. There are many Egyptian reporters that are livid over how the media misrepresents Egypt in this fashion.

Egypt’s own government has not allowed any media to cover the protests in Tahrir Square. This has resulted in the resignation of the head of the English-language station Nile TV, Shaheera Amin. Amin has stated that the only permitted reports are those that are pro-government. Some foreign journalists have been seized and brutally mistreated for trying to report on the rallies in Tahrir Square.

According to Stephenie Livingston of Gnovis, a Georgetown University journal, Egyptians feel that American media coverage creates stereotypes about their culture and religion. This portrayal of Egypt in the media creates incorrect perceptions and fosters negativity toward the Egyptian population. This is especially true for Egyptian women, who feel that the negative portrayal is inhibiting their battle for equal rights. Livingston also cites several studies that show that there are more negative media stories about Egyptian culture, women and political protests.

There are several solutions that can be implemented to change this negative portrayal of Egypt in the media. An important step is the broadcasting of positive media, such as balanced coverage of Egyptian culture and religion. Another is to encourage the universities of the world to perform more studies to help determine which factors the media are influencing. This can help determine which portrayals are effective in making positive changes.

How the media misrepresents Egypt begins with the local broadcasting that is so censored and governmentally managed that the portrayal of Egypt is pro-military. This has been causing a large conflict within Egypt’s own broadcasting systems and is so extreme that reporters are resigning. Foreign journalists are being seized for trying to cover political issues.

The biggest issue of how the media misrepresents Egypt is the numerous stereotypes against Egyptian women, culture and religion worldwide. These stereotypes are having a largely negative effect, especially on women’s rights. All Egyptians are fighting to have their voice heard to change how the media misrepresents Egypt.

– Kristen Hibbett

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in EgyptOver the past decade, the poverty rate in Egypt has steadily increased. As of mid-2016, the poverty rate in Egypt was 27.8 percent, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2010. This high poverty rate in Egypt has affected children, many of whom are malnourished. In mid-2014, 31 percent of children under the age of 5 were considered to have stunted growth because of malnutrition. Often, families who have little money opt to spend it on cheaper food options rather than nutritious food. 

Poverty in Egypt affects not only many children, but also populations living in rural areas. When compared to urban areas in Egypt, the poverty rate in rural areas was 37 percent higher as of July 2016.

But the information begs the question: why is Egypt poor? One report writes that there is a correlation between poverty and the number of family members. This is in addition to illiteracy. Given that impoverished people are less likely to enroll in education, they are also more likely to remain impoverished. Thus, the cycle of poverty remains.

Illiteracy and Poverty in Egypt

In 2013, 25.9 percent of Egypt’s population was illiterate. A lack of education in Egyptians can pass down through families, decreasing the likelihood that anyone in the family will be able to pull themselves out of poverty.

Beyond illiteracy, an increase in inflation has lead to an increase in food prices, which has also driven many of the country’s citizens into poverty. In June 2016, the yearly rate of inflation in the prices of consumer goods was 14.8 percent. 

As a means of combatting inflation and the increased price of food, Egypt’s government-issued ration cards to almost 70 percent of the population. In 2015, these food subsidies protected 4.6 percent of Egyptians from becoming impoverished.

The country’s illiteracy rate has decreased by over 10 percent since 1996 – at that time the illiteracy rate was over 39.4 percent.

Organizations like the Egyptian Authority for Educating Adults (EAEA) work towards decreasing Egypt’s poverty. The EAEA aims at providing people with the skills needed to work on their own projects, which is directed at getting more people in Egypt into the workforce and driving them out of poverty.

– Haley Rogers

Photo: Flickr

 

Poverty in Egypt
For years, poverty in Egypt has been no anomaly. Over a quarter of the population lives below the national poverty line, and many have found it difficult to secure work in a turbulent economy.

From 1995 to 2000, poverty in Egypt began to recede. The percentage of the population living under the national poverty line decreased from 23% to under 17%. However, progress began to reverse itself. In 2010, over 25% of the population was living under the national poverty line.

This rate has failed to drop since the Arab spring in 2011.

However, the Egyptian government and various international organizations have not been idle in addressing this problem. In recent years, millions of dollars have been donated to instill sustainable growth and development and to chip away at the current percentage of those living in poverty.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is at the forefront of international organizations helping Egypt achieve economic stability and poverty reduction. It has created a plan called the UNDP Strategic Plan 2014–2017 for Egypt. The plan prioritizes the elimination of poverty in Egypt.

UNDP’s strategies are wide-ranging and beginning to gain a great deal of traction due to Egypt’s recent governmental transition.

Human development, gender equality, environmental development, transparency and sustainable development are some of the many focuses that the UNDP has for the Egyptian people in an effort to make them self-sufficient in the long term.

The Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) is a pilot program the UNDP is testing in Egypt. The premise of the program is to empower individuals in rural areas by upgrading public services and providing more efficient agricultural and off-farm occupations.

Through these efforts, people can build and grow their own businesses. This will promote sustainable economic growth and development in these areas long after ENID discontinues aid.

ENID has given a special focus to women through the course of its debut. Seventy percent of the 573 individuals employed by ENID’s activities between 2012 and 2014 were women.

Outside rural areas, the UNDP is also creating jobs in the most impoverished govern-orates for young men and women. The majority of these new jobs are for women.

These programs are working wonders among the Egyptian people, but unfortunately they are not free to operate. The Egyptian Government foots the bill of the majority of these programs, followed by Japan and a collection of European states and organizations. The total amount of contributions from these organizations is just over $280 million USD. In a country of nearly 90 million residents, this amounts to roughly $3 per person.

Tackling Poverty in Egypt

Despite great progress towards poverty reduction in Egypt, there must be bigger changes. Just recently, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi emphasized the need for foreign investment in large and small Egyptian enterprises. President Sisi pointed out that the government has made stellar improvements to the national infrastructure, but it still needs aid in developing businesses to use these new resources effectively.

By 2030, Egypt hopes to be well on its way toward sustainable development and a transparent governmental system. Though the country still needs help to develop its domestic affairs, many are optimistic that Egypt will be able to stand on its own within a decade.

Preston Rust

Photo: Flickr