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

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

After having recovered from the internal political crisis and revolutionary uprising of 2011, the Egyptian economy recently slowed down due to the outbreak of the COVID-19. According to IMF estimates, GDP growth continued to decrease to 3.3% in 2021 from 3.6% in 2020. Despite this slowdown, Egypt remained one of the few countries with positive growth rate in 2021. According to the IMF's forecast, GDP growth is projected to recover to 5.2% in 2022 and 5.6% in 2023, subject to the loosening of health measures and a post-pandemic global economic recovery.

In 2021, Egypt's economy continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as recovery was delayed by renewed surge in infections and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants. Proactive measures taken to address health and social needs and support the most directly affected sectors, as well as the IMF-supported economic reform program, helped mitigate the economic and human impact of the crisis (IMF). In addition, before the pandemic, the country was already in a strong position as it had implemented an economic reform program comprising fiscal consolidation measures, the introduction of a floating exchange rate and large cuts in subsidies. In 2021, the budget deficit increased slightly to -7.6% GDP (from -7% GDP in 2020), and is expected to decrease to -6.5% GDP in 2022 and -5.6% GDP in 2023 thanks to economic recovery (IMF). Public debt-to-GDP ratio increased to 91.4% in 2021 (from 89.8% in 2020) and is expected to decline to 89.5% in 2022 and 86.2% in 2023 (IMF). The public debt’s non-resident and foreign currency portions are expected to increase with international financing (Coface). Appropriate monetary policy allowed the inflation rate to further decrease and to stay well below the central bank’s target range, reaching 4.5% in 2021. It should stay under control but increase to 6.3% in 2022 and 7.1% in 2023, according to IMF estimates. For 2022, the priority remains to support the economic recovery while continuing to preserve macroeconomic stability. The authorities are committed to pursue the structural reform program that aims at more inclusive and sustainable private sector-led growth,  durable jobs creation and improved external resilience (IMF). The country’s post-Covid-19 recovery will be guided by the Egypt Vision 2030 strategy, which comprises numerous programs related to transport, entrepreneurship, logistics, environment etc. (Oxford Business Group). Major risks include a persistent COVID-19 pandemic, less favourable financing conditions for emerging markets, and a drop in remittances (IMF).

The official unemployment rate, after reaching its highest level in the past 11 years in 2015 (13.4%), has been declining slowly since then. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it increased to 9.3% in 2021 and should remain at that level in 2022 (9.2%) according to IMF estimates. It is estimated that three-quarters of all employees are paid as unofficial workers, and 32.5% of the population lives below the poverty line (state statistics agency CAPMAS). Female youth unemployment remains very high (53% in 2019 according to the World Bank).

 
Main Indicators 20202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 382.52423.15469.09471.36510.85
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.53.36.64.45.2
GDP per Capita (USD) 34444
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.7-7.2-6.1-7.3-7.4
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 85.389.289.285.684.6
Inflation Rate (%) 5.74.58.512.08.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 8.37.37.37.37.3
Current Account (billions USD) -11.17-18.44-17.01-16.21-14.99
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.9-4.4-3.6-3.4-2.9

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

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture contributes 11.6% of the GDP (World Bank, 2020) and employs 21% of the active population (World Bank, 2019). The sector has historically been important for Egypt, and it accounts for about 20% of total exports and foreign exchange earnings. It appears as the most resilient sector in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The warm climate and the abundant Nile water allow for several annual harvests. The main crops are cereals, cotton, sugar cane and beetroots.

Egypt's non-oil industry remains rather limited. With automotive manufacturing, steel manufacturing, cotton cultivation, textile production and the construction industry, the secondary sector accounts for 32% of the GDP (World Bank, 2020) and employs 27% of the workforce (World Bank, 2019). The mining industry accounts for only 0.5% of the GDP, but is a strategic sector at the centre of the country’s development plan (Oxford Business Group). In spite of economic diversification efforts, the country continues to depend on the Suez Canal for a large part of its foreign income. In 2021, the Suez Canal Authority generated USD 6.3 billion revenues, the highest annual revenue in its history (Egypt Oil&Gas). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt also announced record oil production levels in 2020, exceeding 650,000 barrels per day, stable LNG production and LNG exports at full capacity in December 2021 (Reuters).

Finally, the services sector represents 51.8% of the Egyptian GDP (World Bank, 2020) and employs more than half of the population (52% in 2019). It is largely dominated by revenues from telecommunications and tourism sectors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the services surplus declined sharply from USD 13.0 billion in 2019 to USD 8.9 billion in 2020 and USD 5.1 billion in 2021, mainly as a result of the decrease in tourism revenues. Travel receipts fell from USD 12.57 billion in 2019 to USD 4.86 billion in 2021 (Central Bank of Egypt).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 20.6 26.9 52.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 11.5 31.8 51.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.3 0.6 3.6

Source: World Bank, Latest available data.

 

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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: 2024
Parliamentary: 2025
Current Political Context
Egypt’s presidential elections of March 2018 posed little challenge to incumbent Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi being re-elected with 97% of votes. In 2019, a constitutional referendum allowed President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to remain in power until 2030 (instead of 2022 as per the previous regulations), as well as re-introducing an upper chamber – the Senate - in the Parliament, after its abolition in the 2014 Constitution. Moreover, the amendments strengthened the powers of the president over the judiciary, giving him the power to appoint the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court and making him the head of the Higher Council for Judicial Authorities, which appoints the public prosecutor and judicial leaders. The 2020 elections strengthened parliament's pro-presidential group and weakened opposition voices. Egypt plays a pivotal role in regional stability and the fight against terrorism, but tensions remain with Ethiopia regarding the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam upstream of the Nile, on which about 90% of the country’s drinking water supply depends. Relations with Turkey have also been strained over Libya and gas development in the eastern Mediterranean (Coface).
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) [Abdel Wahab Abdel RAZEQ], Homat El-Watan (Homeland’s Defenders Party) [Lt. Gen. (retired) Galal AL-HARIDI], Al Shaab Al-Gomhouri (Republican People’s Party) [Hazim AMR], Wafd [Abdel Sanad YAMAMA] and Modern Egypt [Nabil DEIBIS].

Other parties include:
Reform and Development Party [Mohamad Anwar al-SADAT]
Egyptian Social Democratic Party [Farid ZAHRAN]
Freedom Party [Mamdouuh HASSAN]
Congress Party [Omar Al-Mokhtar SEMIDA]
Al-Nour [Yunis MAKHYUN]
National Progressive Unionist (Tagammu) Party [Sayed Abdel AAL]
Justice Party [Hamdi Stouhi]
Eradet Geel Party [Tayseer Matar]
Egyptian National Movement Party [Gen. Raouf EL SAYED]
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 February 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. 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

COVID-19 epidemic evolution

To find out about the latest status of the COVID-19 pandemic evolution and the most up-to-date statistics on the COVID-19 disease in Egypt, consult the daily statistics published by the WHO.
For the international outlook you can consult the latest
situation reports published by the World Health Organisation.

Sanitary measures

To find out about the latest public health situation in the Egypt and the current sanitary measures in vigour, please consult the dedicated page on the website of the US embassy in Egypt.

Travel restrictions

The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.
The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

Import & export restrictions

For the up-to-date information on all the measures applicable to movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including eventual restrictions on imports and exports, if applicable), please consult the website of the Egyptian Customs Authority (in Arabic).
For a general overview of trade restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Egypt on the
International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.

Economic recovery plan

For the information on the economic recovery scheme put in place by the local government to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Egyptian economy, please visit the dedicated page on KPMG’s website as well as the website of the Central Bank of Egypt (in Arabic). For an overview of the tax measures that have been adopted, refer to the PWC website.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the Egyptian government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Egypt in the
IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.

Support plan for businesses

For the information on the local business support scheme established by the Egyptian government, consult the dedicated page on KPMG’s website.
For a general overview of international SME support policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak 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.

Support plan for exporters

For the up-to-date information on possible support plans for exporters in Egypt, if applicable, please consult the website of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

 

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Latest Update: November 2022