Poverty is widespread in Egypt and disproportionally affects children by lowering their chances of survival and development, with long lasting effects. In 2012/13, around 9.2 million Egyptian children (aged 0-17) were living in extreme monetary poverty. An additional 7.5 million children were vulnerable to falling in poverty, with levels of consumption just above the national poverty line. The percentage of children in extreme monetary poverty grew continuously in the last 15 years, from 21 percent in 1999/2000 to 28.8 percent in 2012/13. The bulk of extreme poor children are in the rural areas of Upper Egypt (4.9 million children living in poverty), but urban governorates accounts for a large part of the increase in poverty in recent years, reflecting the impact of the prolonged economic stagnation that started in 2011, and the concentration of poverty in urban slums.
Poverty among children is multidimensional and it is manifested in severe deprivation in health and nutrition, poor education outcomes, inadequate housing and lack of access to water and sanitation, poor socialization and lack of access to development opportunities. Household income and resources, availability and access to quality social services and social infrastructure, as well as family’s and community’s time, skills and resources are all important factors to fulfill the rights of children to a decent standard of living and being free from poverty.
Egypt had nearly 3 in every 10 children who were multidimensionally poor in 2014, which accounted for approximately 10 million children. Addressing the challenge of child poverty, in its different dimensions, requires an enabling environment of inclusive growth, and a functioning integrated social protection system, sensitive to children’s rights. The reform of social protection - from a system based on consumption subsidies, benefiting mainly the richest, to a system of cash transfers better targeted to the poor, especially to families with children– along with an increase in investments on quality basic social services is essential to effectively tackle poverty and support national human and economic development.
CAPMAS and UNICEF (2015), “Child Poverty in Egypt”. The average value of the nation poverty line in Egypt in 2012/13 was 10.4 LE per person per day.
Informal Settlements Development Facility and UNICEF (2013), “Multidimensional Child Poverty in Slums and Unplanned Areas in Egypt”
MoSS, CAPMAS and UNICEF (2017), “Understanding Child Multidimensional Poverty in Egypt”
Cockburn et al (2014), “Enhancing Equity for Children in the Context of the Energy Subsidy Reform in Egypt