The explosive growth of Egypt’s population from around 20 million in 1950 to over the current 95 million has far outpaced the rate of job creation, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) stated in its annual report entitled ‘In Pursuit of Equality and Prosperity in Egypt-2018 Results,’ which was released last week.
For the past 30 years, the economy has not grown fast enough to absorb the generations completing education or vocational training, the report cited, adding that new sources of productive employment are needed.
“The Egyptian educational system is not seamlessly and consistently aligned with the needs of the Egyptian labour market. Effective systems that can inform technical and vocational education and training are needed,” the report said.
Egypt’s economic landscape continues to be marked by regional disparities, with rural Upper Egypt showing higher poverty rates than metropolitan Egypt, the report acknowledged.
Furthermore, Egypt’s rapid population growth represents an urgent challenge in terms of how to maintain and grow sufficient numbers of jobs to welcome the vast majority of the working age population into the labour market. Yet this challenge is a compelling opportunity, because integrating prepared and motivated women and men into the ranks of the employed will support continued economic growth and improvement in living standards.
Moreover, Egypt’s economic activity rate-which measures the success of an economy in engaging its citizens in economically productive activity-stood at a comparatively low 44.3% in 2018–in large part due to the extremely low level of workforce participation by women, the report declared.
On the other hand, the unemployment rate decreased from 12% in 2017 to 10% in the third quarter of 2018, according to Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). However, female and youth unemployment remain significantly higher. Egypt’s sustainable development strategy (SDS) 2030 target rate for unemployment in 2030 is 5%.
While unemployment fell in 2018, the proportion of informal and precarious employment significantly increased, the report mentioned, adding that more than half of all workers lacked health insurance or pension benefits.
Continued support to reform the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) through capacity-building programmes is required, as well as the ILO’s support of a new vision for the small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) unit, and of newly opened local offices, the report said.
Noteworthy, Egypt first joined the ILO in 1936 and the ILO Cairo office was established in 1959, so in 2019 we reflect with pride on 60 years of achievements in the country, in addition to celebrating 100 years of results on a global level.