Egypt Economic Conditions

Egypt Economic Conditions

A first attempt to modernize the productive system, based on agriculture for millennia, was initiated during the British protectorate, with results however that benefited the privileged few, mostly foreigners. The problem, as the imbalance between agricultural production and demographic increase increasingly accentuated, arose again from the 1950s, with the establishment of Nasserian dirigisme. Despite considerable difficulties, the new regime reached concrete goals with the nationalization of the Suez Canal (1956) and the construction of the Aswan high dam. At the same time, radical structural reforms were decided, which involved the splitting of land ownership, the cooperativization of agriculture, the passage under public control of industry, credit institutions, essential services and, in 1961, even the nationalization of all foreign properties. In addition, economic development plans were launched in the 1950s and 1960s, but were thwarted by the 1967 Arab-Israeli war which led to a drastic slowdown in economic expansion.

The post-Nasser era was distinguished by a new economic course (the so-called ‘open door’ policy, launched in 1974) which, albeit with clear cultural and religious conditioning, solicited the collaboration of capitalist countries by attracting investments with low wages. of the local workforce and with various tax breaks. This orientation, which lasted until the early 1980s, has allowed significant achievements in the industrial sector, with direct or indirect intervention by multinational companies; but it has certainly not solved the country’s social problems (rapid population growth, food deficit, imbalance between large and small land ownership, frenetic urbanization process, hypertrophy of the public service sector, unemployment, foreign debt, inflation). Consequentially, the ‘open door’ policy has been significantly downsized, starting in 1981, by the governments chaired by MH Mubārak, who have returned to greater control of the productive and financial market and set up a vast plan of structural reforms to give new impetus to the economy and achieve a better balance between population and territory. However, the Egyptian economy continues to depend on international financial support and is affected by the internal crisis triggered by the resurgent Islamic fundamentalism that has negatively affected the country’s political, economic and social life since the 1990s. who have returned to greater control of the productive and financial market and have set up a vast plan of structural reforms to give new impetus to the economy and achieve a better balance between population and territory. However, the Egyptian economy continues to depend on international financial support and is affected by the internal crisis triggered by the resurgent Islamic fundamentalism that has negatively affected the country’s political, economic and social life since the 1990s. who have returned to greater control of the productive and financial market and have set up a vast plan of structural reforms to give new impetus to the economy and achieve a better balance between population and territory. However, the Egyptian economy continues to depend on international financial support and is affected by the internal crisis triggered by the resurgent Islamic fundamentalism that has negatively affected the country’s political, economic and social life since the 1990s.

The indicators expressing the level of socio-economic development (life expectancy at birth: 70.02 years; literacy rate: 71.4%; per capita gross domestic product: 4211 dollars at purchasing power parity) placed in 2006 the ‘AND. around 110th place in the world ranking of the human development index drawn up by the United Nations, about fifty places lower than neighboring Libya.

Agriculture provides (2007) over 20% of the gross domestic product, employs 32% of the active population and contributes to a large extent to exports. The hopes for the use of the waters of Lake Nasser have been partly disappointed. In fact, the new irrigation system has freed agriculture from the natural regime of the Nile, eliminating alternating floods and droughts and allowing a more rational use of water; but at the same time it caused a greater salinity and a lower productivity of the soil, as the fertilizing action of the river silt ceased. Hence the need for an ever increasing use of chemical fertilizers, whose national production is insufficient, so that it has not been possible to obtain that conspicuous increase in arable land that was hoped for; nor should other negative effects of the dam be underestimated, as well as the decrease in the flow of the Nile due to recurrent droughts. The strategies to increase arable land also outside the Nile Valley include two large irrigation projects: the al-Salam canal in the north-east and the Toshka canal in the deep south. The first, which will convey water from the Nile towards the Sinai, is, at the end of the first decade of 2000, in advanced realization: half of the land gained will be destined to agro-industrial crops, half to labor-intensive crops, such as floriculture. The second involves the irrigation of the New Valley, a route that extends, connecting various oases, in the Western Desert: an ambitious project, set aside several times for its cost, but resumed in 1997 as part of a twenty-year plan, which should give rise to an Egypt parallel ‘, irrigated with waters partly coming from Lake Nasser, partly captured by deep underground aquifers. The crops are partly subsistence, and cereals stand out among them: maize (6.8 million t in 2006), wheat, rice (in the Delta, with yields among the highest in the world); partly commercial: sugar cane, in the Upper Egypt (the surface of which, however, has drastically reduced since the 1950s), citrus fruits, date palm. The breeding suffers from the scarcity of meadows and pastures, as evidenced by the modest number (4.5 million head of cattle, 9 between sheep and goats). and among them cereals stand out: maize (6.8 million t in 2006), wheat, rice (in the Delta, with yields among the highest in the world); partly commercial: sugar cane, in the Upper Egypt (the surface of which, however, has drastically reduced since the 1950s), citrus fruits, date palm. The breeding suffers from the scarcity of meadows and pastures, as evidenced by the modest number (4.5 million head of cattle, 9 between sheep and goats). and among them cereals stand out: maize (6.8 million t in 2006), wheat, rice (in the Delta, with yields among the highest in the world); partly commercial: sugar cane, in the Upper Egypt (the surface of which, however, has drastically reduced since the 1950s), citrus fruits, date palm. The breeding suffers from the scarcity of meadows and pastures, as evidenced by the modest number (4.5 million head of cattle, 9 between sheep and goats). For Egypt 2011, please check internetsailors.com.

About 35% of the energy produced is of water origin, derived, in absolute prevalence, from the plants fed by the Aswan dam. The extraction of oil, discovered in 1868, was undertaken in the second decade of the 20th century, and the Egypt it was the largest African producer until the 1960s, when Algeria, Libya and Nigeria emerged. The production of crude oil (2006) exceeds 30 million tons per year, that of natural gas is 44 billion m 3 ; hydrocarbons make up almost half the value of exports. Among the resources of the subsoil we should also mention the iron minerals of Nubia and the phosphates, present in the Nile Valley and along the Red Sea coast.

The manufacturing industry is decidedly insufficient for the needs of the country: it contributes less than 20% to the formation of the gross domestic product and employs just 17% of the active population; well diversified from a sectoral point of view, it is however strongly concentrated in the Egyptian territory, with absolute dominance of the main urban centers, and in particular of the cairota agglomeration. Within this, the Helwan pole assumes special importance, where the largest Egyptian industrial unit is located, a large steel plant built in 1960, as well as car and fertilizer factories, cement factories. The textile sector, essentially cotton, is largely concentrated in Cairo, Alexandria and Mahalla al-Kubra. The food sector clearly prevails in Alessandria (pasta factories) and in Kom Ombo (sugar factories powered by the nearby cane crops). The production of fertilizers is remarkable, as well as in Helwan, also in Alexandria, Aswan, Suez; the oil and petrochemical industries are mainly present in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

Road (65,000 km) and rail (5,200 km) networks are relatively underdeveloped, limited to the Nile Valley and the Mediterranean coastal region ; the oil and gas pipelines are noteworthy (over 13,000 km). The Nile is an important inland waterway, to which is added that of the Delta channels, among which the al-Maḥmūdiyya channel emerges, which joins the river to Alexandria, the main Egyptian seaport. Great importance, not so much for the traffic that can affect Egypt as for the financial contribution it ensures to the country, the Suez Canal has. The maximum international airport is Cairo.

The trade balance is clearly in deficit; exports are characterized by a strong prevalence of hydrocarbons (44% of the total value); among imports, manufactured goods and agri-food products prevail. The main partners are the countries of the European Union, among which Italy occupies an eminent position; trade with the United States is also relevant. In the balance of payments the liabilities are partially offset by the income from the passage through the Suez Canal, by the remittances of the emigrants and by the money contributed by the tourists; the latter are numerous (about 8 million visitors a year), recalled by the exceptional archaeological heritage, especially during the mild winter season;

Egypt Economic Conditions