CAIRO: Egypt’s poverty rate has fallen to the lowest level in 20 years, according to data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
CAPMAS defines poverty based on material wealth measurements, and classifies Egyptians as impoverished if they are unable to provide “minimum basic needs for themselves or a family.”
Needs include food, housing, clothing, education, and health and transportation services, according to the agency.
CAPMAS said that poverty rates in Egypt fell to 29.7 percent during the 2019-2020 fiscal year — a decline of 2.8 percent from the 32.5 percent recorded in 2017-2018. It added that this reflects the success of the country in striving for social justice in conjunction with economic reforms implemented by the state.
The agency said that extreme poverty in Egypt (the percentage of people who cannot secure their food needs) decreased nationwide to 4.5 percent in 2019-2020, down from 6.2 percent in 2017-2018.
The agency noted a correlation between growing family sizes and financial insecurity, saying: “The increase in the size of the family is a cause and a consequence of poverty. At the same time, it is a result of poor families not having sufficient social protection and therefore resorting to having more children for social protection when old or ill as a source of income.”
CAPMAS said that 80.6 percent of individuals who live in families with 10 or more members are poor, and that 48.1 percent of individuals who live in families with 6-7 members are also poor, compared to 7.5 percent of families with fewer than four members.
The agency indicated that education levels are the most relevant indicator of poverty, as poverty rates decrease as the level of education rises among parts of the population.
The percentage of poor among Egyptians with no formal education reached 35.6 percent in 2019-2020, compared to 9.4 percent for university graduates.
CAPMAS said that the Egyptian state is “making a lot of efforts” to protect the poor with the aim of improving the quality of life of citizens.
Social programs launched by the Egyptian government form the cornerstone Egypt’s Vision for Sustainable Development 2030.
The agency said that one of the most important programs is the national project for the development of Egyptian rural villages, which aims to improve living standards, build infrastructure, support people with disabilities and boost urban services.
The CAPMAS results came as the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for the growth of the Egyptian economy during 2021, despite lowering estimates for the global economy.