The Egypt Human Development Report 2021, entitled ‘Development, a Right for All: Egypt’s Pathways and Prospects’ monitors progress made on several dimensions of sustainable development. It uses the ‘Declaration on the Right to Development’, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1986, as a frame of reference for analyses.

Coming after a 10 year break, this is the 12th report in the series of national human development reports that Egypt has been producing since 1994. The report covers a critical decade (2011-2020) in Egypt’s modern history which has witnessed two popular revolutions in 2011 and 2013, a new constitution and strong economic and social reforms.

The 2021 Report aims to provide an in-depth analysis Egypt's pursuit of its national Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt's Vision 2030, which is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Report provides an analytical review of the policies adopted and implemented during this period and their impact on Egyptians. Building on those findings and on the Government Action Programme, it puts forward a set of policies for the future that would further boost the process of human development that Egypt has initiated.

Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator message for the launch of Egypt's Human Development Report

In the past years, Egypt maintained its commitment to introducing reforms in the areas of health, education, scientific research and adequate housing, along with focusing particularly on the dimensions related to quality and competitiveness, whether through the commitments provided in the 2014 Constitution regarding these sectors, or adopting three full themes in the ‘Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030’ regarding investment in human capital; including two themes within the social dimension, namely “health” and “education and training,” and a theme within the economic dimension, namely “knowledge, innovation and scientific research.”  

  • Between 2014 and 2020, Egypt adopted a set of policies and launched a number of health programmes and initiatives. They aimed at achieving the strategic objectives of the health sector, which are related to improving the public health of citizens within a framework of justice and equity, achieving universal health coverage, and improving health sector governance.
  • Egypt has developed a National Population Strategy and its five-year plan of action (2015-2020), which is based on a set of themes related to family planning and reproductive health, providing family planning services with health insurance and all government hospitals and treatment institutions, and providing an adequate balance of family planning methods, as well as working on integrating population issues into the education and awareness process.

Key highlights: pioneering Initiatives | national Campaigns to control Virus C and Non-communicable diseases) 100 Million Health & Women's Health) and eliminate critical surgeries waiting lists | Strengthening health infrastructure | development of the pharmaceutical industry (a critical factor in the control of HCV)

  • The performance of the pre-university education sector in Egypt has improved over the past 10 years according to accessibility indicators, as net and gross enrolment rates at all educational levels have increased. These successes have been concentrated in the primary education stage.
  • Data on enrolment rates for both boys and girls show a decline in the gender gap during the period between the academic years of 2010/2011 and 2019/2020, with the net enrolment rates for girls exceeding those of boys at all levels of pre-university education
  • On the other hand, the geographical gaps in enrolment rates between rural and urban areas have improved significantly over the past decade. Nevertheless, enrolment rates across all educational stages in rural governorates are lower than the rest of Egypt.

Key highlights: Higher enrolment rates for children in various stages for education| Eliminating the gender gap in education| Decreasing drop out rates | Improving educational curricula| Improving the rural-urban gap| Diversifying sources of knowledge| Modernizing the technical education system| Increasing number of universities| Providing international-standard education| Establishing non-profit and technology universities| Modernizing teaching and assessment methods

  • In 2014, an ambitious social housing programme was announced, whereby 1 million housing units will be established to enhance the availability of adequate housing for everyone, especially those with low and middle incomes
  • As of 30 June 2020, the number of beneficiaries of the Social Housing Program was about 312,000. They had received monetary support of up to EGP 4.9 billion from the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund. .
  • The total number of people who received support from the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund in the previous year (June 2019) amounted to about 248,000 beneficiaries, of whom about 20 percent were women. During the 2019/2020 fiscal year, there were nearly 4,000 beneficiaries (of whom about 25 percent were women), who received estimated support of EGP 907 million and mortgage financing of EGP 6.9 billion.

Key highlights: Expanded social housing programs| Developed new urban communities| Designed programs for social adaptation in the new communities| Reduced in the number of informal and unsafe settlements| Increased coverage of provision of safe drinking water and sanitation.

  • The economic reforms program focused on macroeconomic stabilization; harmonization of fiscal and monetary policies; reviving confidence in the Egyptian economy and re-boosting its ability to attract high rates investment to achieve comprehensive development: reducing the public debt rates; bridging the gap in the balance of payments; and the resumption of direct foreign investment flows.
  • Egypt also considerably increased its investments in large-scale national projects —simultaneously and covering the whole of Egypt— geared towards constructing and strengthening a solid infrastructure to underpin economic and social development activities.
  • Directing investment projects towards Upper Egypt, with better targeting to improve infrastructure, and human capacities that will attract private capital.

Important examples

  1. Raising the efficiency of the tax system to ensure a healthier fiscal space
  2. Flexible management of the Egyptian pound to reduce inflation and safeguard real income for citizens.
  3. Gradual rationalization of fossil fuel subsidies and directing returns to better-targeted social protection programs

  • Synchronized with economic reforms was a deliberate shift in the philosophy of social safety systems in Egypt, which shifted its functional focus from relief and protection to prevention and support—a qualitative transformation towards empowerment in the pursuit of justice and security for all Egyptians.
  • This was reflected clearly in the restructuring of subsidies to ensure better of targeting; broader coverage of vulnerable groups; and a focus on the poorest geographical areas, as evidenced in increased portion of financial allocations for social protection programs in the national budget.
  • This included initiating a new and expanded social protection program through conditional cash transfers (Takaful & Karama = Solidarity & Dignity) as well as programs for the rehabilitation and empowerment, alongside revamping national systems for social security, health insurance and delivery of subsidised food elements.
  • Development of national databases is needed to ensure efficient and just targeting of those most in need.

Important examples  

  1. Takaful & Karama program and active labour market initiatives
  2. Development of the national health insurance system and expansion in number of those insured
  3. A new social security law that guarantees fair pensions for eligible beneficiaries, including irregular workers.

  • Egypt’s adoption of its first-ever comprehensive National Strategy for Women 's Empowerment in 2017 represented a qualitative shift in the country’s efforts to fully integrate women—and their, issues/needs—and strengthen their political, economic and social roles through legislation, policies, strategies and executive measures .
  • The political empowerment front saw women’s actual participation in the legislative branch exceeding the allocated quotas in the constitution as minimum targets. Things are moving in a similar direction in executive branch of government. The economic empowerment front also recorded important developments in the areas of women 's entrepreneurship—especially in micro, and small enterprises— and their inclusion in financial and banking services. Social empowerment results included bridging the gender-gap in education and initiating significant improvements in the delivery of women 's health services, evidenced by the increase of life expectancy at birth and the decrease in maternal mortality rates.

Important examples

  1. Women’s representation in the Egyptian legislature and (28% in the lower House and 14% in the Senate) exceeded the constitutionally mandated minimum targets (25% and 10%, respectively). At the executive level, the share of women reached 25% of ministers, 27% of deputy ministers, and 31% of deputy governors.
  2. In 2020, the number of women beneficiaries of microfinance was nearly twice that of male beneficiaries, albeit with a slightly smaller share of funding balances.
  3. The maternal mortality rate decreased from 54 to 44 (per 100,000 live births) between 2010 and 2018—a decrease of about 20%.

  • Egypt has paid great attention to preserving its vital environmental assets, especially the Nile River, main source for Egypt 's water needs. Egypt also embarked on assessing the feasibility of using of non - traditional solutions to secure future water needs, such as sea water desalination and recycling irrigation and sewage waters.
  • Egypt also boosted its capabilities and practical policy measures to address the effects of climate risks, as reflected in the progress of Egypt's ranking on the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).
  • Egypt prioritized reforming its energy supply system, with a bold program to reform energy subsidies, not only as part of its economic reform program, but also to curb unsustainable patterns of consumption of traditional sources of energy. As well Egypt maximized its reliance on renewable energy sources and its efforts to improve energy efficiency.

Important examples

  1. Egypt's ranking on the CCPI has advanced upwards from 30 (2016) to 22 (2021) out of 57 countries that together produce 90% of the world's emissions
  2. Egypt currently has 5.8 gigawatts of its electric needs produced through renewable sources
  3. Energy efficiency project has saved 25-40% of the total consumption of electricity.

  • Egypt made important strides in strengthening governance, continuing efforts to develop and reform its administrative apparatus—especially in the areas of financial management; strengthen accountability by through improved monitoring and evaluation of performance; and to maximize opportunities for meaningful participation for youth in decision-making.
  • Egypt also strengthened its new independent electoral management body and its anti-corruption institution. It also developed capacities of its local management systems to achieve greater decentralization and raise the quality of provision of services across the country. Egypt has also taken important steps towards digital transformation and mainstreaming financial technologies across all government transactions.

Important example

  1. Taking advantage of a strong digital infrastructure provided in its new Administrative Capital, Egypt is planning for a qualitative shift in administrative reforms to facilitate institutional coordination and integration among key state institutions.
  2. The development of new mechanisms for youth participation in decision-making and the formulation of public policies,
  3. Establishing a National Anti-Corruption Academy to enhance the performance of the existing anti-corruption system
  4. Increasing investment in the communications and information technology sector, which raised its contribution to economic growth, which reached 12% in 2020 a fourfold increase compared to 2013.

  • Egypt reacted to the rapid developments of the covid-19 pandemic crisis quickly and flexibly, not confining it to the limited scope of a health-only response and addressing it as a multi-faceted crisis with wide-ranging and profound economic and social impacts.
  • Egypt adopted a package of tiered regulatory procedures and mitigation policies to curb the spread of the pandemic and allocate the resources necessary to finance appropriate stimulus packages to reactivate the economy and mitigate impacts on the most vulnerable, especially poor communities and workers in irregular employment.

Important examples   

  1. Egypt allocated 100 billion pounds to face the crisis
  2. International estimates and monitoring reports indicate that Egypt was the only country in the Arab region that has succeeded in achieving positive economic growth rates despite the crisis
  3. Egypt is a leading country in term of its rap-id response to the situation of women during 34the COVID-19 pandemic. Egypt developed around 165 policies, resolutions and meas-ures through January 2021 that observe wom-en’s needs during COVID-19

Guaranteeing the right of all Egyptians to sustainable development entails strengthening Egypt’s practical capabilities to accelerate development and speed up the pace of achievement. This requires tools for implementation, foremost of which are:

  • Increasing resources for development investment and strengthening means for financing development.
  • Developing the knowledge base necessary for sound development planning and follow-up.
  • Accelerating the pace of digital transformation—including the expansion and strengthening of Egypt’s digital infrastructure, and broadening the scope of digital service provision, while guaranteeing the inclusiveness of such services.
  • Supporting policies that target reducing poverty rates in a sustainable manner
  • Institutional and human resources capacity development to enhance the efficiency of state administration and raise the level of quality in providing basic public services

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