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Millennium Development Goals

Egypt highlights

Empowering women remains an important development challenge in Egypt

UN Photo/Evan Schneider: Education Project for Girls, Egypt

Progress towards various MDGs has not been uniform in Egypt. While it has been fast and sustained in reducing child and maternal mortality and enhancing drinking water coverage, only moderate progress has been observed in improving basic sanitation coverage, increasing primary school completion and reducing poverty. At the same time, results have been less encouraging in the areas of women's empowerment and protecting the environment. The participation rate for women was only 22% in 2005, lagging far behind that of men, which was 77%. Women's unemployment remained high at 23% in 2009, 4.3 times above the jobless rate for men.

Continued pre-revolution conditions would have reduced poverty by 2015, though with more inequality

Poverty and inequality rates under baseline and MDG-achieving scenarios
Graph: Poverty and inequality rates under baseline and MDG-achieving scenarios
Hover to expand

Under both a continuation of policies seen before the revolution (as captured under a baseline scenario) and new policies to pursue timely achievement of the MDGs, income growth translates into a reduction of various poverty rates. The main reason is an increase in employment rates for unskilled workers and incomes for agricultural workers. Income inequality rises, nonetheless, because wages of workers that have not completed secondary education increase relatively less than for better qualified workers. The impact of the recent revolution on the projected trend of poverty reduction is still unknown.

Financing policies to meet development goals will require
careful assessment

Domestic debt and tax revenues under baseline and alternative scenarios
Graph: Domestic debt and tax revenues under baseline and alternative scenarios
Hover to expand

The additional public spending required to achieve MDG targets has been found to be marginal (i.e., less than 1% of GDP per year), without factoring in the effects of the revolution, and it would unlikely cause macroeconomic imbalances. Nonetheless, the financing mechanism must be carefully selected. Should Egypt opt to finance the newly required MDG spending through domestic borrowing, for example, Government debt would rise to nearly 110% of GDP by 2015, which might put the country's fiscal stance in unsustainable territory. On the other hand, even though there is vast space for the Government to increase tax revenues, which represent only little more than 10% of GDP, administrative and political costs associated with increasing taxes are thought to outweigh the expected benefits.

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The book "Financing Human Development in Africa, Asia and the Middle East" is forthcoming in the fourthquarter of 2012.

The book's quantitative assessments, conclusions drawn, and policy recommendation are prepared based on the country studies of the project "Realizing the Millennium Development Goals through socially inclusive macroeconomic policies".