Economic Trends/Outlook in Egypt

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Economic Overview

With the establishment of a new government in July 2004, Egypt launched an economic reforms program, including a large stimulus plan in 2008. Consequently, tariffs and taxes were lowered and simplified. The transparency of the national budget was reinforced and many privatizations were initiated. This new policy bore its fruits as growth reached a level of more than 5% in 2009 and 2010, especially thanks to the resumption of private and public consumption. The construction, communications, wholesale and retail sectors, catering and hospitality, as well as manufacturing contributed to the development of economic growth. However, the year 2010 was marked by an under-performance of the sectors which most strongly contribute to the country’s GDP, namely agriculture and mining. The IMF growth estimates for 2011 are between 5.5% and 5.8%, counting on the increase in consumption, recovery of foreign growth (tourism and the Suez Canal) and a resumption of investments.

Although the Egyptian economy has entered into a cycle of progressive growth, its level of growth remains insufficient to maintain employment and reduce the share of population living below the poverty of line (18%). In addition, the country faces a high rate of inflation (about 10%). Foreign accounts, weakened during the crisis by a decline in foreign exchange earnings and net capital flows, have recovered and the trade balance returned to surplus in 2010.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 188.61 218.47 231.11e 251.87e 273.33e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 4.7 5.1 1.0e 4.0e 5.0e
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,456e 2,789e 2,892e 3,090e 3,288e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 75.6e 73.8e 74.9e 73.7e 70.9e
Inflation Rate (%) 16.2e 11.7e 11.5e 12.0e 9.8e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 9.4e 9.2e 9.2e 9.1e 9.1e
Current Account (billions USD) -4.42e -5.52e -5.30e -5.52e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.4e -2.6e -2.1e -2.0e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture contributes around 13% of the GDP and employs about a third of the active population. The warm climate and the abundant Nile water allows for several annual harvests. The main crops are cereals, cotton, sugar cane and beets.

Egypts remains a country with little industry. With its diverse natural reserves (gold, minerals, iron, oil and gas), oil and gas-related activities and the secondary sector account for just over a third of the GDP. Egypt is the world’s sixth largest exporter of natural gas.

Finally, the tertiary sector represents around 50 % of the Egyptian GDP. It is largely dominated by revenues from telecommunications (which grew by 11% during the first quarter of 2010) and from tourism (the tourist industry brings about 11b in annual revenues. For example Cairo received 14m of visitors in 2010).

In spite of its economy’s diversification, the country still depends for a large part of its income on the Suez Canal (380m during the first quarter of 2010).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 31.2 22.0 46.6
Value Added (in % of GDP) 13.7 37.3 49.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.2 5.7 4.3

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in Egypt, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Mostly unfree
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


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