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flag Egypt Egypt: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

In 2011, the Egyptian economy, which had previously shown resilience to the global financial crisis, suffered the effects of the country's political crisis and revolutionary uprising. As a consequence, growth did not exceed 1.8% in 2013 due to the political instability and lack of security which were the result of this crisis. Since the level of FDI remains low and consumption has been weak, the growth prediction for 2014 is 2%.

Since the political crisis that led to the downfall of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has entered a period of uncertainty and the future direction of economic policy is unclear. The politics of austerity measures which the government had adopted hoping it would obtain a loan from the IMF led to a rise in social tensions and sparked off numerous strikes. In 2013, after three years of chronic instability, a military coup supported by a large majority of the population led to the destintution of Mohamad Morsi. The announced 8.8 billion EUR in financial aid promised to Egypt by Saudi Arabia, Kuweit and the United Arabic Emirates reassured the markets; however, tourism, the key sector of the Egyptian economy, remains very badly affected by the political instability. The fact that the rating agency Standards & Poors increased the country's rating at the end of 2013 is a proof of this new rise in market confidence. However, the country's economic situation remains worrisome: the budget deficit, the internal and external government debt have increased significantly and the state finances continue to deteriorate. In order to support the economy, the interim government has decided to pursue an expansionist fiscal policy and a policy of public investment in infrastructures. The suppression of energy subsidies has also been announced. The Egypt depends on donors and has been trying to diversify the sources of its financial aid. A far-reaching economic reform is needed and progress must be made in terms of social justice.

The social situation is worrying. The official unemployment rate, which has reached its highest levels of the past 11 years, is close to 13% of the workforce. 75% of all employees work in the illegal economy and 18% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 235.60262.26271.43e284.86324.27
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,9603,2223e3,3373,724
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -9.4-10.0-13.4e-11.6e-11.1
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 76.678.989.2e93.8e94.5
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 10.412.413.013.413.9
Current Account (billions USD) -6.09-10.15-7.43e-1.26e-12.84
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.6-3.9-2.7-0.4-4.0

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture contributes around 14% 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.

Egypt 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 and employs 45% of the population. It is largely dominated by revenues from telecommunications and from tourism (the tourist industry brings nearly 10b in annual revenues).

In spite of its economy’s diversification, the country still depends for a large part of its income on the Suez Canal.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 29.2 23.5 47.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 14.5 39.2 46.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.0 0.6 2.8

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Egyptian Pound (EGP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 5.545.625.936.066.87

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about Egypt on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Mostly Unfree
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Trade represents over 45% of the country's GDP (average for 2010-2012). The Egyptian market is gradually opening up, especially after signing an agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 2006, and promoting a free trade treaty with the United States.

Its three primary export partners are the European Union, which represents more than a third of the trade, United States and Syria. The EU and the USA absorb almost 60% of Egyptian exports. Egypt mainly exports mineral fuels and oil, cotton, iron and steel. It imports mainly consumer electronic goods and capital goods, nuclear reactors and nuclear-powered boilers, cereals, food products and chemical products.

Egypt has a trade deficit. In 2012, the economic slowdown in Europe lead to a weaker demand for Egyptian exports, while the import bill grew due to a rise in the price of grain and raw materials (timber, iron). The deficit therefore deepened in 2012, then diminished in 2013 due to exports rising more quickly than imports. A worsening of the trade balance is expected in the coming years.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 44,94652,92358,90369,20059,300
Exports of Goods (million USD) 23,06226,43830,52829,38528,000
Imports of Services (million USD) 12,76512,99113,12915,55715,338
Exports of Services (million USD) 21,30223,61819,03121,33619,286
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -17.9-3.28.410.8-0.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -14.5-3.01.2-2.35.9
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 31.626.124.725.824.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 25.021.320.617.417.6
Trade Balance (million USD) -16,818-20,120-19,398-25,516-
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -9,233-11,031-14,328-20,200-
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 56.647.545.343.342.3

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Italy 9.4%
India 7.4%
Saudi Arabia 6.9%
Turkey 6.1%
Libya 4.4%
See More Countries 65.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 10.5%
Germany 7.9%
United States 7.8%
Italy 5.3%
Ukraine 4.7%
See More Countries 63.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 10.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 8.9%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 5.4%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl....Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilizers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 3.7%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 3.1%
See More Products 68.2%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 8.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 3.0%
Maize or cornMaize or corn 3.0%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.4%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.4%
See More Products 80.9%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
- bn USD of services imported in 2011

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Trade and Industry 
Statistical Office
Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
Central Bank
Central Bank
Stock Exchange
Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Egypt Search
Economic Portals
Zawya: website containing economic information on the Middle East.
Alibaba: Economic portal on the Middle East.

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The president is the head of state. He is elected by universal suffrage for a 6-year term of office (no limit for extension). He appoints the Prime Minister who must be approved by a confidence vote in the parliament. The President also appoints the head of the Council of Ministers. He can dissolve the Assembly and rule by decree. He holds almost total power.

Following the resignation of President Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK in February 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by Defense Minister Muhammad Hussein TANTAWI, assumed control of the government
Legislative Power
The legislative power is bicameral. The Parliament is formed by the People's Assembly (the lower house) which has 454 members (of which 444 are elected by universal suffrage and 10 are nominated by the President for a 5-year term) and the Advisory Council (the upper house) which plays only an advisory role and which has 264 members (of which 176 are elected by universal suffrage and 88 appointed by the president for a 6-year term). The president can dissolve the People's Assembly only if he has the support of the people during a referendum.
Main Political Parties
Main political parties in Egypt are:
- The Al-Wasat Party;
- The Democratic Alliance for Egypt;
- The Democratic Peace Party;
- The Egyptian Bloc;
- The Egyptian Citizen Party;
- The Freedom Party;
- The Islamic Bloc;
- The National Party of Egypt;
- The New Wafd Party;
- The Reform and Development Party;
- The Revolution Continues Alliance.
Current Political Leaders
President: Abdel Fattah al-SISI (since 8 June 2014)
Vice-President: Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim MEHLAB (since 25 February 2014)
Next Election Dates
Presidential elections: May 2018

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
1 place down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: October 2014