Leaving no one behind in Egypt: Celebrating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Poverty in Egypt has been rising throughout the past two decades. The poverty rate which was 16.7% in 1996 has gradually increased to reach 26.3% in 2012/2013 according to recent reports by the national statistics office (CAPMAS 2014). Governorates in Upper Egypt have the most severe levels with almost half of its population living below the national poverty line. While there has been a slight decrease in extreme poverty, the overall trend continues to be extremely bleak for the plight of the poor in Egypt.
The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October provides an opportunity for Egypt and the world to once again recognise the many challenges of the poor and renew our commitment to reverse this trend of growing poverty.
UNDP is working in Egypt to provide better skills, protection and opportunities for the poor, especially women and youth, to escape a life in poverty. We are carrying out an innovative public works scheme partnering with the Social Fund for Development (SFD) to provide job opportunities to unskilled men and women in the poorest districts throughout Egypt.
“This project offered many jobs for the unemployed, and gave them a decent income”, said Ahmed Sedky, a beneficiary of one of the public works projects commenting on the project’s impact on his life and the local community.
Using this model, UNDP Egypt has created over 560,000 workdays for youth and disadvantaged people in construction of community infrastructures and provision of social services since 2012. The project has been recognised by the Egyptian government and local stakeholders as an effective means of social protection and community development during times of transition.
UNDP has also adopted an area-based development model in Upper Egypt through its Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) project to address the large regional disparity and gender inequality. ENID takes a multi-dimensional approach to poverty by providing various interventions in income generation, women’s empowerment, food security, basic services and policy advice for governorates in the southern region.
“Girls who have not completed their education, which is the case for many here, we try to teach and train them on crafts.”, added Dr. Heba Handoussa, ENID Executive Director.
Furthermore, drawing on these field-level projects, UNDP Egypt also provides seminal analyses on poverty reduction and development at the policy level. It has promoted the concept of sustainable human development and inclusive growth with its flagship National Human Development Report. We are currently working with local experts to produce a new National Human Development Report focused on the subject of social justice in Egypt. The report will provide policy analysis and recommendations on the various dimensions of social justice and its links with inequality, basic services and good governance.
Recently, the Open Working Group of the UN General Assembly designated to devise a new development framework beyond 2015 has proposed ‘ending poverty in all its forms everywhere’ as the primary poverty goal to succeed the MDGs. This is indeed a very ambitious goal, but we strongly believe that this goal can and must be reached in Egypt and the world overall in the near future.
UNDP Egypt together with its national and international partners will continue its support and commitment to achieve this aspirational target of ending poverty in Egypt.
· While there has been a slight decrease in extreme poverty, defined as living with less than $1.25 dollars per day (in PPP), from 4.8% in 2010/2011 to 4.4% in 2012/2013, the overall trend continues to be extremely bleak for the plight of the poor in Egypt.
· UNDP Egypt has created over 560,000 workdays for youth and disadvantaged people in construction of community infrastructures and provision of social services since 2012
· UNDP Egypt is currently working with local experts to produce a new National Human Development Report focused on the subject of social justice in Egypt.