Egypt Population and Economy 1998


The population has registered a very high increase, for which the residents were 48. 254. 200 to the census in 1986 have risen in a decade of the 24, 8 % (65.720. 000 residents an estimate of 1998), a trend that has emerged already in previous years (+ 26 % between 1976 and 1986). To determine this galloping increase was almost entirely the natural component, with a still very high birth rate (29, 7 ‰ in 1994, but was 38, 8 ‰ in 1987), which is matched by a mortality down to 7, 2 ‰. This situation of demographic overload has made Egypt a country of emigration; especially during the seventies, there were conspicuous flows of manpower directed towards near-eastern and European countries. This phenomenon has seen a reversal of trend starting from the second half of the 1980s, due to the difficulties of the Arab oil-producing states, and even more in the early 1990s, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, for which many emigrants they were forced to repatriate (but in 1997 they were still 2, 3 millions of Egyptians who worked abroad).

The average density of 70 residents / km ² is not very significant. In reality the population is concentrated in the valley and in the Nile delta (and in some oases) the density related to this space rises to over 1000 residents / km ², one of the highest values ​​in the world. The urban population, especially that of the immense agglomeration of Cairo, has been growing – in recent decades – at a very rapid pace due to a series of concomitant factors: the strong natural increase, the abandonment of the countryside, the exodus from Sinai and from the strip of the Suez Canal occupied by the Israelis, the end of the works for the high dam of Aswan, which had attracted labor from various rural areas and then poured into the major cities. The expansion of Cairo was very noteworthy, which at the 1996 census counted 6,789,500 residents in the city proper and over 16 million in the entire urban agglomeration, and Alexandria, which exceeded 3, 3 millions of residents.

Economic conditions

With an average per capita income of $ 1180 per year, Egypt it falls within the category of poor countries, moreover with few prospects for development, as it is burdened by very strong demographic pressure, by the scarcity of natural resources, to which are added the economic problems linked to fundamentalist ferments. The 1980s were marked by a slow but steady economic decline, largely due to lower oil prices on international markets and rigid public sector dominance. The main macroeconomic indicators have become increasingly negative: the balance of payments recorded a chronic deficit, the external debt at the end of 1989 had almost reached 40 billions of dollars, the unemployment rate was between 20 and 22 % of the workforce, inflation, which in the period 1980 – 89 had remained on average around 11 %, rose to about 25 % in 1990. In 1991 the government introduced a severe program of economic reforms, with a wide opening to the private sector and a simultaneous reduction of public enterprises, and already in the middle of the decade some positive results were obtained: growth, in 1995, was of the 2.4 %, the budget deficit relative to GDP has stabilized around 2, 6 %, inflation marked a decline; US aid, which for years are considerable support Egyptian economy, remained at the 2, 1 billion dollars, 1, 2 of them military aid (after Israel, and. is the second largest recipient country of ‘ American aid around the world).

As regards the various productive sectors, agriculture provides about 16 % of GDP (1995), employs just over 40 % of the active population and contributes to a large extent to exports. Production is growing (+ 3 % in 1995), but only thanks to the improvement in yields, as the increase in agricultural land in recent years has been very modest. Among the crops destined for internal needs, cereals (wheat, maize and rice) stand out, while among the commercial crops it is cotton that maintains a leading role, even if the area allocated to it has contracted considerably (425,000 ha in 1985, 298,000 in 1995), as well as the yields contracted, today lower than the foreign demand. Breeding and fishing are always of little economic importance.

According to Sourcemakeup, oil production, exported to nearly two-thirds, has taken a big leap forward, going from 7, 4 million tonnes in 1974 to 46 million tonnes in 1996, thanks to the return (1975) on the Israeli side of some fields of Sinai, as well as thanks to the contribution of foreign technologies and the discovery of new fields in the Western Desert and (off-shore) in the Gulf of Suez. Good prospects presents natural gas (12,233 million m ³ in 1995), while iron minerals and phosphates are also of some importance among the other resources of the subsoil, the latter partly exported, partly used in the national fertilizer industry.

Manufacturing activities are rather diversified, but with a clear prevalence of the agri-food sector (25 % of industrial added value), followed by textiles, which however is in decline (today it represents 17 % of industrial added value compared to 35 % in 1970), and by the chemist.

Since the 1980s, tourism has proved to be one of the most dynamic sectors of the Egyptian economy, capable of ensuring good foreign exchange revenues, but – in recent years – further development of the sector has been compromised by the attacks of Islamic fundamentalists against foreigners. The deficit of the trade balance is increasing and in 1996 it reached 9480 million dollars; the United States is the main source of imports (20 %) and the largest export market (13 %).

Egypt Population and Economy 1998