Economy - overview: Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. Egypt's economy was highly centralized during the rule of former President Gamal Abdel NASSER but opened up considerably under former Presidents Anwar EL-SADAT and Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK.
Cairo from 2004 to 2008 pursued business climate reforms to attract foreign investment and facilitate growth. Poor living conditions and limited job opportunities for the average Egyptian contribute to public discontent, a major factor leading to the January 2011 revolution that ousted MUBARAK. The uncertain political, security, and policy environment since 2011 caused economic growth to slow significantly, hurting tourism, manufacturing, and other sectors and pushing up unemployment, which remains above 10%.
Weak growth and limited foreign exchange earnings have made public finances unsustainable, leaving authorities dependent on expensive borrowing for deficit finance and on Gulf allies to help cover the import bill. In 2015-16, higher levels of foreign investment contributed to a slight rebound in GDP growth after a particularly depressed post-revolution period. In 2016, Cairo enacted a value-added tax, implemented fuel and electricity subsidy cuts, and floated its currency, which led to a sharp depreciation of the pound and corresponding inflation. In November 2016, the IMF approved a $12 billion, three-year loan for Egypt and disbursed the first $2.75 billion tranche.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on January 20, 2018