Egypt, with a population of 83 million, is the largest Arab country in the Middle East. It is an important broker for peace in the region but faces challenges of its own, including high youth unemployment. More than a quarter of Egyptians are in the 15-to-24 age group. At least 90 percent of Egypt's unemployed are under 30 years of age.
Egypt ranks 112 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index. Some 1.6 million people (2 percent of the population) live on less than, US$1.25/day and 15 million (18 percent of the population) live on less than US$2/day. Economic stresses include significant wealth disparities, labour market mismatches, and limited trade and investment. Social pressures include the exclusion and marginalization of women, a demographic youth bulge, poor quality education and illegal migration.
Egypt is implementing market reforms that are improving economic growth somewhat but not enough to substantially raise living standards for the average Egyptian. The Government of Egypt has also launched several initiatives to combat corruption.
While Egypt is on track to meet most of the Millennium Development Goals, women face substantial social—and often legal—restrictions on their activities, leading to low female participation in the economy and in social and political institutions.
According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2012, Egypt ranks 126 out of 135 countries in equality between women and men. The unemployment rate for women is double that of men.
Canada's international development program in Egypt is closely aligned with the country's economic plan, The Sixth Five-Year Plan 2007-2012, which seeks to create employment through market reforms, stimulating investment and promoting private sector participation in the economy.
The goal of Canada's international development program in Egypt is to help the country generate economic growth by strengthening the enabling environment for small and medium-sized enterprises and providing skills for employment to marginalized people.
In order to encourage private sector growth, Canada is continuing to help Egypt provide financial services (such as banking, loans and micro-finance), as well as business developement services (such as identifying new markets, designing products and improving account management) to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Canada is also helping Egypt to provide skills for employment to marginalized people, particularly women and young labour market entrants, to boost the productivity of the private sector. This support mcan include training and technical assistance, apprenticeships, entrepreneurial skills and literacy.
Key anticipated results
- The number of new micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will grow by an average of 15 percent per year by 2015
- Female unemployment will be reduced by 10 percent by 2015
Progress on Aid Effectiveness
Egypt adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Although some progress has been made toward donor harmonization, alignment and mutual accountability, improvements are needed in local ownership, namely in identifying national priorities, and results-based monitoring frameworks.
The Government of Egypt and donors have recently developed the Cairo Agenda for Action on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 189 KB, 7 pages), which addresses these concerns.
- Established 20 business development service providers within existing non-governmental organizations in 10 governorates, who now serve more than 4,000 clients annually, reaching a total of 22,000 enterprises (micro, small, and medium- sized) including 7,000 women-led enterprises
- Created 2,217 jobs (60 percent for women) as a result of the business development services provided to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
- Delivered vocational training to almost 1,500 people of whom 450 found employment (45 percent of the newly employed are women)
- Helped more than 5,700 people (68 percent are women) access microloans and targeted business development services, providing them with an opportunity to start microenterprises.
- Provided vocational training to 358 people: 174 studied administrative topics and 184 studied technical topics. About 60 of the students are women. Provided career counseling for 480 people; more than 105 found jobs so far.
- Developed a series of nine intervention tools to improve the working conditions and learning opportunities of working children.
- Extended the outreach of financial and business services for small business through the provision of 4,201 loans; 64 percent of the loans went to women-led organizations.
- Helped some 18,000 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, about one third of which are owned by women, increase sales, exports and profits by using supported business development services—although only 6 percent of micro and small enterprises in Egypt are owned or operated by women, 30 percent of the clients served by the Canadian-supported business development service providers are women and one third of their staff are women
- Helped create more than 300 jobs in the handicraft sector, 194 for women
- Provided literacy training to 19,578 people, including 16,438 women
International development projects in Egypt
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