Economic and Political Overview

flag Egypt Egypt: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Outline | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Outline

Economic Overview

The Egyptian economy was one of the most resilient and continued growing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The positive trend accelerated in 2022 when GDP was estimated to have grown by 6.7%, although growth decelerated to 4.2% in 2023. The country faced challenges with elevated inflation and imbalances in its balance of payments. Despite these issues, fiscal support has maintained private consumption, which is expected to pick up momentum as inflation eases. Household consumption remained resilient, supported by controls on energy prices, food subsidies, and a series of fiscal packages. On the flip side, business investment has sharply contracted, attributed to heightened financial constraints and increased uncertainty, with a gradual recovery anticipated. The IMF expects growth to reach only 3.6% this year before it picks up to 5% in 2025.

In recent years, Egypt implemented an economic reform program comprising fiscal consolidation measures, the introduction of a floating exchange rate and large cuts in subsidies. The budget for FY 2023/24 anticipates an enhancement in the primary surplus, increasing to 2.5% of GDP from the previous fiscal year's 1.6%. However, the budget deficit was estimated at 4.6% of GDP in 2023, primarily due to elevated debt servicing costs. The government's strategy involves diminishing untargeted energy subsidies and broad-based food subsidies, while simultaneously expanding cash-transfer programs directed towards the most vulnerable. Public investment, including self-financed investments by public entities, is expected to see a substantial increase in FY 2023/24: notably, in October 2023, the government announced hikes in public sector wages and pensions, along with adjustments to personal tax exemptions. Therefore, the latest IMF outlook sees a budget deficit above 10% over the forecast horizon. The public debt-to-GDP ratio increased from 88.5% in 2022 to 92.7% in 2023, although the share in the hands of external lenders only accounts for around one-third of GDP. The exchange rate has shown minimal fluctuation since the beginning of 2023, following a series of devaluations that saw the Egyptian pound lose approximately 50% of its value against the US dollar since early 2022. The authorities continue to oversee the exchange rate and impose restrictions on certain foreign exchange transactions. The OECD invited Egyptian authorities to continue fighting inflation (at 23.5% in 2023) by keeping monetary policy tight and restraining public investment projects that are not urgently needed.

The unemployment rate stood at 7.1% in 2023, according to the IMF estimates, with female unemployment being around four times higher than for males. After a slight uptick to 7.5% this year, it is expected to return around 7.1% by 2025. It is estimated that three-quarters of all employees are paid as unofficial workers, 29.7% of the population lives below the poverty line and 4.5% live in extreme poverty, a ratio that has been decreasing in recent years (CAPMAS – latest data available). Finally, GDP per capita (PPP) was estimated at USD 17,123 in 2023 by the IMF.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 475.23393.91347.59328.85374.25
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 6.73.83.04.44.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 4,5873,7283,2252,9913,337
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.1-5.7-6.1-8.3-6.4
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 88.595.996.482.677.3
Inflation Rate (%) 8.524.432.525.713.1
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 7.37.27.17.06.8
Current Account (billions USD) -16.55-4.71-21.81-7.79-8.97
Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.5-1.2-6.3-2.4-2.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, Latest data available.

Note : (E) Estimated data

 

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture contributes 10.9% of Egypt’s GDP and employs 20% of the active population (World Bank, latest data available). The sector has historically been important for Egypt, and it accounts for about 20% of total exports and foreign exchange earnings. The country has 3.9 million ha of agricultural land and just 45,000 ha of forests (FAO). The warm climate and the abundant Nile water allow for several annual harvests. The main crops are cereals, cotton, sugar cane and beetroots. The country is also a major producer of long-staple cotton, which is used in the textile industry. According to the latest official governmental figures, Egypt's agricultural exports experienced a 15% surge in the first ten months of 2023, reaching a noteworthy USD 4.3 billion.

Egypt's non-oil industry remains rather limited. With automotive manufacturing, steel, cotton cultivation, textile production and the construction industry, the secondary sector accounts for 32.7% of the GDP and employs 29% of the workforce (World Bank). Overall, the manufacturing sector alone accounts for 16% of GDP, whereas the mining industry accounts for only 0.5%, but is a strategic sector at the centre of the country’s development plan, as the government aims at increasing its share of GDP to 5% over the next two decades (Oxford Business Group). Despite economic diversification efforts, the country continues to depend on the Suez Canal for a large part of its foreign income. The total production of all petroleum products in Egypt reached 74 million tonnes in 2023, including 28 million tons of crude oil and more than 45 million tons of gas, according to a report by the country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. In the same year, Egypt signed 29 agreements valued at USD 1.2 billion for oil and gas exploration.

Finally, the services sector represents 52.2% of the Egyptian GDP and employs more than half of the population (52%). It is largely dominated by revenues from the telecommunications and tourism sectors. According to official governmental figures, Egypt attracted around 13 million tourists during the first nine months of 2023, with tourism revenues estimated to amount to nearly USD 14 billion by the end of the year, marking a 15% y-o-y increase.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 19.8 29.1 51.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 10.9 32.7 51.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) 4.0 6.6 6.4

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.

 

Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
55,7/100
World Rank:
130
Regional Rank:
11

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
5.47/10
World Rank:
62/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Abdel fattah El-Sisi (since June 2014 ; re-elected for a second term in March 2018)
Prime Minister: Mostafa Madbouli (since June 2018)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2029
Parliamentary: 2025
Current Political Context
In December 2023, Egypt held its presidential elections amid prior speculation that they might occur sooner than anticipated. The incumbent President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who initially assumed office in the aftermath of the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, was eligible for re-election due to a constitutional amendment in 2019 that extended term limits from four to six years, ensuring he would not exceed the maximum presidential service of 12 years at the time of the election. On December 18, he was reported to have secured victory with 89.6% of the vote, and the voter turnout was stated to be 66.8% of registered voters.
Egypt continued to play a prominent role in regional diplomacy, hosting negotiations between the opposing Libyan factions and seeking to mediate conflicts in other parts of the Middle East. Nevertheless, the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza is expected to put high pressure on Egyptian diplomacy.
Main Political Parties

Out of more than 100 parties, only about 20 are under the dome of Parliament, 5 have parliamentary bodies with more than 10 deputies within the House. These parties are:

  • Mostakbal Watan (Nation's Future Party): nationalist, populist
  • Al Shaab Al-Gomhouri (Republican People’s Party): nationalist
  • Homat El-Watan (Homeland’s Defenders Party): centrist
  • New Wafd Party: liberalism, conservatism
  • Modern Egypt: centre-right, liberalism
  • Reform and Development Party: liberalism, centrist

Other parties include

  • Egyptian Social Democratic Party
  • Freedom Party
  • Conference Party
  • Al-Nour Party
  • National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu)
  • Justice Party
  • Eradet Geel Party.
Type of State
Republic based on the Constitution adopted by referendum in January 2014 (amended in 2019). The State has a presidential system of Government.
Executive Power
The President is the Head of State and the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. He is elected for a six-year term of office. The President is the head of the executive branch and appoints the Prime Minister, who must be approved by a confidence vote in the Parliament. The President also appoints the head of the Council of Ministers. He can dissolve the Assembly and rule by decree.
In 2019 the Parliament voted to remove the limit of two terms for the President, whose term has been extended from four to six years.
Legislative Power
The legislative power is bicameral since the constitutional referendum of 2019 was approved by the House of Representatives in June 2020. It established an upper chamber called the Senate, composed of 300 seats (100 members directly elected in single seat constituencies, 100 directly elected by closed party-list vote, and 100 appointed by the president). The House of Representatives is composed of 596 members elected for a period of 5 years by universal suffrage. The President may dissolve the House of Representatives.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
166/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
6/7
Civil Liberties:
6/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Egypt, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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Latest Update: June 2024