The Ghost of Unemployment in Egypt
Unemployment in is a danger that is threatening all countries economies. Furthermore, unemployment is the reason of many problems as the increase in the rates of poverty and the increase in crime rates in the world. Unemployment problem is a problem that is threatening every working person. “In Britain as elsewhere, policy debate has been galvanized by the spread of unemployment – and feelings of job insecurity – beyond the traditionally affected blue-collar occupations to white-collar workers and those employed in managerial and professional grades. ” (Philpott 1).
Privatization and overpopulation are two of the major causes of unemployment in Egypt as they increase in the rate of the labour force without an increase in the amount of the offered jobs in the job market. Overpopulation increases the burden on the government to find jobs for people, but the government cannot offer these large numbers of jobs due to the rapid increase in overpopulation and due to the government program, which is called “The Economic Reform and Structural Adjustment Programme (ERSAP)” that aims to privatize most of the public sector (El Fiqi 1).
Overpopulation in Egypt is one of the main causes of unemployment because overpopulation increases the percentage of the labour force that is seeking for jobs in the job market. According to the International Finance Corporation, Rapid population growth in Egypt has endowed Egypt with a large and young population, and even though population growth has slowed down in Egypt in the recent years, the labour force continues to expand (Egypt 1). Overpopulation is a great menace that threatens the Egyptian society of the great increase in the unemployed labour force.
According to a research made by the International Finance Corporation, the Egyptian population in year 1995 was equal to sixty million and the annual increase in the population is equal to two percent of the population and this rate increases due to the increase in population. This research estimated that the annual increase in the labour force per year is equal to 2. 7, which is greater than the population increase (Egypt 2). The ghost of full employment is one of the major topics that Egypt is trying to find a solution to.
Fatemah Farag, a famous writer for Al-Ahram Weekly, stated that the second meeting of the new cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Atef Ebeid, discussed ways of alleviating rising unemployment which has now reached 1. 4 million (1). In addition to all this great labour unemployment, the government is not capable of supplying sufficient jobs for the graduating college students every year, so this number is increasing every year. “A recent report prepared by the Shura Council’s Human Resource Committee estimated that the labour force would reach twenty million by the year 2000. (Farag 1). These number shows that the Egyptian job market is not capable of absorbing all the unemployed labour force.
Nader El-Fergany, head of Almishkat Research Center, has concluded that little over 700,000 new job opportunities were created in the recent five years, but this number is needed to be created annually to absorb all new entrants. (Farag 1). “The World Bank estimates suggest that half a million new job will be needed annually for the next several years to take the new entrants in to the labour market and make inroads into the present backlog of unemployment. (Egypt 1). Trying to solve the rapid increase of the population, the government has established a program to control the birth rates to decrease the increase in the overpopulation.
The Prime minister of Egypt, Atef Ebeid, said “Egypt has made a great progress in the birth control program as in a ten years period the birth increase rate will decrease from 2% to 1. 5% and the average persons in the family will become 4. 6 person. ” This shows that the increase in the population rate will increase by a rate 0f 0. % that obviously will decrease the rate of the increase in the unemployment rates every year. In another words, the government was successful in launching the program of controlling birth especially in the countryside where the birth rates are very high. Another danger that is one of the main causes of the increase in unemployment in Egypt is the government program of privatization that is called “The Economic Reform and structural Adjustment Programme”. The government is privatizing the public sector in order to increase the wages of the employees and to increase the standards of the work.
But in the other hand, this program has its great disadvantages, which is the great increase in the unemployed labour force. According to Mona El-Fiqi, she stated that a study issued by the Egyptian center for Economics Studies that the impact of privatization on employment has been negative (1). Furthermore, Hamdi Abdel-Azim, professor of economics and dean of Research Center at the Sadat Academy for Administrative Science said: “Due to privatization, nearly 20,000 workers have been ousted from their public sector jobs. ” (El-Fiqi 1).
Privatization is now a greater danger that endangers many public sector employees life, as they fear to be fired or dismissed from the company. A warning was sounded by Abdel-Fadil on what implications the survey meant for resolving Egypt’s Unemployment problem. “The government remains the main employer, providing 42 percent of job opportunities, compared to 33. 8 percent provided by the non-agricultural private sector. ” (Farag 2). In addition to these statements, Hamdi Abdel-Azim states that privatization has fuelled a rise in unemployment.
He said that “There are 450,00 workers looking for jobs each year, and the private sector is only providing 150,000 job opportunities. So there are 300,000 new jobless people each year in addition to workers who have been laid off by the public sector companies. ” (El-Fiqi 4). In conclusion, overpopulation and privatization are the main causes of unemployment in Egypt. Egypt now is making a program of decreasing the birth rates to stop the rapid increase in the population, but privatization problem still a big problem to the workers in the public sector as they feel insecure to lose their jobs.
The thrust of most currently proposed solutions to unemployment is to encourage a mixture of programs that either prepare people better to fill new job vacancies when they arise or offer them temporary work placements (Philpott 218). The government is doing its best to decrease the unemployment rate, as Dr. Atef Ebeid says that the government attaches great importance to the issue of unemployment and the creation of job opportunities and had actually completed an overall plan that will provide 150,00 new government and private sector jobs, 2000,000 jobs in the small industries domain (Arabic News).
Egypt is making great projects as Toshka and the reclamation of the desert in Sainai. These projects will aid to solve the problem of unemployment as they may offer many job opportunities for unemployed workers. Naguib Mahfouz declared that “When Toshka project is complete, it will pave the way for the creation of a new Egypt. It will solve many of the problems plaguing us: the shortage of arable land, the lack of housing and unemployment. “