Saturday,18 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1234, (19 - 25 February 2015)
Saturday,18 August, 2018
Issue 1234, (19 - 25 February 2015)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Unemployment decreases

THE NUMBER of unemployed Egyptians decreased by 100,000 during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

This brought down the percentage of unemployment to 12.9 per cent compared to 13.2 per cent the previous quarter.

It was the first fall in unemployment figures since the 25 January Revolution of 2011 which sent the economy into a spiral and led to many layoffs, with hundreds of factories closing down and tourists shying away because of instability in the country.

While the unemployment rate stood at 9.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2010, it shot up to 13 per cent in the second half of 2011.

There was also an improvement in tourist inflows during 2014 as Egypt received 10 million tourists during the year. An increase in tourism and the growth in the manufacturing sector were the main reasons behind the increase in employment figures, according to Abu Bakr Al-Guindi, head of CAPMAS.

According to CAPMAS the unemployment rate among males reached 9.2 per cent compared to 24.8 per cent among females. Urban governorates recorded the highest unemployment rate at 16.5 per cent, while the rural governorates of Upper Egypt recorded the lowest rates, 10.7 per cent.

Food prices feed inflation

AFTER declines of 1.53 per cent in November and 0.06 per cent in December, the monthly inflation rate for January increased to 1.03 per cent, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

The increase was driven by jumps in the housing, water and energy and food and beverages sub-sectors of the inflation measure. Inflation is calculated according to the prices of a basket of commodities,

As for year-on-year, inflation declined to 9.69 per cent compared to 10.11 in December.

In the upcoming months, Prime Holdings, a local investment bank, expects the inflation rate to start climbing again, to 11.8 per cent on average for 2015 mainly because of the expected implementation of the value added tax (VAT) and the depreciation of the pound. The two would increase the price of imported goods. It could affect prices on housing, water and energy plus the transportation sector, Prime Holdings predicts.

This is countered by the decline in international food and oil prices which does not appear to be enough to rein in inflation.

IT project up for grabs

TEN Information Technology and Communications (ITC) projects will be offered as investment opportunities at the Egypt Economic Development Conference scheduled for next month. According to ITC Minister Atef Helmi, the projects, worth some LE23 billion, involve the creation of seven technology parks in various Egyptian governorates. They are expected to make available more than 600,000 jobs.

The list also includes a smart metre project to be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Electricity in addition to a notarisation plan to be implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice.

Helmi made the announcement while addressing an event organised by the American Chamber of Cairo this week. He added that two other projects to digitise the commercial registry and manufacture tables are yet to be announced. The minister said the ITC sector grew 14 per cent from 2010 to 2014, reaching a value of $1.1 billion, and that the target is to reach $1.5 billion by 2018-19.

To achieve that, he said, LE120 billion in investments were needed to which the private sector is critical. “More than 80 per cent of the needed investments depend on the private sector,” Helmi said. To further boost investment in the sector, he said that the ministry was working on reforming sector related laws on telecoms, E-signature, cyber security, data privacy and right of access. According to Helmi, ITC contribution to GDP was 3.8 per cent year and the target is to reach 10 per cent by 2020, as well as to provide one million jobs

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