How are people finding ways to make a living in Egypt?

Egypt’s current difficult macroeconomic situation was largely attributed to the difficulties of adjusting to the post-Revolution situation by people who participated in the Egyptian preliminary Post2015 consultations… The wave of increasing violence that followed caused tourism and foreign business activity to decline and makes investors reluctant to start business activity in Egypt.

In effect, the unemployment rate increased from 8.9% (2010) to 12% (2016). Unemployment disproportionately affects youth especially women; unemployed youth (15-24) reached 33% in 2016 , 45% of them are female and 29% male ( ILO data)

Besides the current inflation which reached 29.6 % in January 2017 ( Capmas ) This “sharp increases in (food) inflation is likely to limit poverty reduction and negative short-term effects could be felt across different income levels.” (Worldbank)

With unemployment comes labor migration: 39% of the unemployed intend to migrate abroad . Also, high corruption was cited as something that causes the costs of doing business to be often prohibitively high. Employers complain about the quality of technical professional education, and the work ethic of the young.

But aren’t we missing something very important in this picture? Especially if we are interested in exploring solutions?

The employment statistics of the formal economy usually do not fully acknowledge the existence of the underground economy (“System D”), which comes with its own set of challenges and solutions. Since unemployment affects the young disproportionately, it could be worth a look what unorthodox solutions to economic exclusion they try and find.

Over time a kind of consensus has emerged amongst some Edgeryders community members that we need to look for other safety nets. That governments ceased being able to fullfill that promise a long time ago. Perhaps even that the idea of a job in itself is becoming obsolete (source). Several of us have found paths that defy convention and sometimes even the law. We can propose the broader topic of Making a Living and include questions to help us dig further into the various facets – especially to de-construct the assumptions underpinning the data collected. While these terms are often used in policy contexts, which don’t necessarily tell us much about the ways individuals attach meaning to work. Or how it makes sense to respond to structural changes in our local labour markets when they are caused by forces that act on a global scale.

So we think it makes sense to ask other questions.

Like how do entrepreneurial careers of young people look when they have to start from economic exclusion? How do they find support and a market for their work, products or services, and what role does the informal economy play in that? What support (also esp. by government policies) is needed by these persons with self-managed, informal careers?

We’re ourselves experimenting with different approaches: we would like to compare notes with peers dealing with the issue in different parts of the world, especially in Jordan, Lebanon,Morocco, and Tunisia.

You know the situation on the ground where you are better than us.

Help us reach out to people running interesting initiatives we can learn from, and invite them to join us by posting a personal introduction and a story* telling us about their project here

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A post was split to a new topic: A community of Egyptian creative youth on Jiftun island