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May 17, 2010

Egypt: The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer

During the past four decades a new economic trend began to emerge with the privatization of the economy. This led to a new, negative economic consequence, impacting the majority of the Egyptian population. Recently the Egyptian government issued a report reflecting that the economic gap between the rich and poor continued to widen. This means that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

This situation negatively impacted not only the economic condition of the vast majority of the Egyptian population but also their educational, social and health conditions. For example, the report revealed that:

1) 34% of the poverty stricken between the ages of 20 and 25 did not attend school at all, compared to only 1% of the same age group of rich families.

2) 97.9% of children of well to do families finished elementary education and 91% of them graduated from high school, while only 56.7% of poor children were able to complete their elementary education and only 50% graduated from high school.

The impact of poverty on the Egyptian population was also reflected in a research project that was sponsored by UNICEF (February 2010) in the Middle East. The research focused on the impact of poverty on children and their deprivation of many basic needs. The report revealed that more than one-fourth of Egyptian children (7 million children) were deprived of many of their basic needs, which is in violation of the agreement which the Egyptian government has signed “The International Children Rights of 1989”.

The director of UNICEF in the Middle East noted that more than half of Egyptian children under the age of 18 are living on less than two dollars a day. The UNICEF report concluded by stating that the Egyptian government has failed to provide even basic needs in education, health services and sanitation (www.middle-east-online.com 4/18/2010).

Poverty, unemployment and the absence of transparency and democracy are the major factors behind the public uprising we have recently been observing in Egypt. The UNICEF report also revealed that 86% of the poverty stricken population is dissatisfied with their economic conditions and are unable to cope with the continuous increases in the cost of living. How can an average family live on £ 3,017 Egyptian pounds per year (the equivalent of nearly $512.10)?

1 comment:

  1. Despite a pledge to cut the health gap between the richest and poorest, the difference in life expectancy is widening.