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Egypt: A revolutionary year in numbers

Ahram Online explains the key numbers that formed the economic backdrop to Egypt's year of revolution

Ahmed Feteha, Wednesday 25 Jan 2012
labour rights
The hard economic conditions were one of the catalysts to Egypt's unrest. (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 3317
Views: 3317

Egypt’s historic revolution affected more than the country’s political landscape; the economy took a series of sweeping blows as events unfolded.

Below, Ahram Online takes a look at some of the key numbers and figures that have been part of the public debate since last January.

The Mubaraks’ fortune:

·          $70 billion - the alleged wealth of former president Hosni Mubarak, as reported by The Guardian on 4 February, 2011. While this figure was attributed to an anonymous expert and was never proven, it fuelled the rage of the protests that eventually led to his overthrow.

Economic growth:

·          4.2 per cent - the amount by which Egypt’s economy shrank in the first quarter of 2011;

·          5 per cent - the average growth rate of the Egyptian economy in the past 4 years;

·          1.8 per cent - Egypt’s 2011 GDP growth rate as estimated by the World Bank.


·         800,000 joined the lines of the unemployed during the first quarter of 2011;

·         3.1 million - the total number of unemployed, 11.9 per cent of the total workforce of around 26 million;

·         10 years - the unemployment rate is at its highest level for a decade;

·         8.9 per cent - the unemployment rate in December 2010.


·         9.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2011, a drop of around a third from the 14.7 million that visited the country in 2011;

·         $8.8 billion - total revenues from the tourism industry in 2011, one of Egypt’s main foreign currency generators;

·         500,000 Libyans visited Egypt in 2011. Sources in the tourism industry say that including Libyans, Sudanese and Gazans to the number of tourists makes the year’s   figures look much better than the reality of the industry.


·         LE700 ($120) - Egypt’s newly enacted minimum wage for both the public and private sector. Private businesses that employ less than ten people will be exempted from observing the minimum wage;

·         36 x minimum wage rate - Egypt’s proposed wage cap for public workers. While the minimum wage rate was officially implemented starting January 2012, the fate of the wage cap remains unknown.


·          50 per cent - the drop in Egypt’s foreign currency reserves in 2011; to end the year at $18.12 billion;

·          $15 billion - one army general’s estimate of the level of reserves by the end of January 2012.

Foreign reserves took centre stage in the discussion about Egypt’s economy with questions raised about the central bank’s ability to continue supporting the local currency.

The Egyptian pound:

·         On 25 January 2011: 1 US Dollar = 5.81 Egyptian pounds;

·         On 31 July 2011: 1 US Dollar = 5.95 Egyptian pounds;

·         On 31 December 2001: 1 US Dollar = 6.02 Egyptian pounds;

·         3.6 per cent - value lost from 25 January 2011 until the end of the year.

The stock exchange:

·          46 per cent - the value lost from the bourse’s EGX30 main index from 24 January until the end of the year, to close at 3,622 points;

·          5,600 points - the market’s highest post-uprising level, which it reached in June 2011. Afterwards, the index started to shed points once again;

·          LE10.8 billion - the average monthly traded value for listed shares during 2011; a drop from LE22.7 billion.


·          companies were court ordered to be re-nationalised due to corruption incidents in their privatisation deals. The companies are:

·         Shebin El-Kom Textile Company;

·         Tanta Company for Linen and Derivatives;

·         Steam Boilers Company;

·         Arab Company for External Trade.


·       6 agricultural companies are currently being considered for re-nationalisation. The six companies are:

·        Al-Aqaria;

·        Al-Aamma;

·        Al-Bohera;

·        Kom-Ombo;

·        Al-Arabia;

·        Rigoa.


·       One major privatisation deal, the 2006 Bank of Alexandria deal worth LE9.5 billion, is currently being challenged in court.

Labour unrest:

·         335 labour protests took place in 2011, according to official data;

·         135 sit-ins were organised in the public sector, while 123 sit-ins were in the private sector;

·         4,460 individual and group complaints from workers were received by the Ministry of Labour.

Tales of a budget deficit:

·       8.6 per cent of GDP (LE134 billion) - the approved deficit target in the 2011/2 budget after the ruling military council interfered to reduce the initially suggested 11 per cent in the budget draft;

·       9.8 per cent of GDP - the initial deficit level for the previous financial year 2010/2011, which ended in June 2011;

·       11.6 per cent of GDP (LE182 billion) - the deficit target given by officials last December when government sentiment about the economy was very negative. The minister of finance, however, said afterwards that the budget deficit will not exceed the target 8.6 per cent, because the government will put in place an expense reduction plan;

·       4 per cent of GDP - Egypt aims at dropping its budget deficit to this level by the year 2015/6, according to a budget plan published by the ministry of finance. 

Austerity time: 

·         LE20 billion - the amount Egypt’s Prime Minister, Kamal El-Ganzouri, said would be cut from public expenses to curb the soaring deficit;

·         LE4 billion - the amount the government expects to save from slashing subsidies of energy provided to heavy industries.

Interest rates:

·       10.25 per cent - the overnight lending rate set by the CBE; 9.25 per cent is the overnight deposit rate. The Central Bank of Egypt changed the rates in November - they had been kept unaltered since September 2009.

Altering the interest rate represents an attempt to make the local currency more attractive as a vessel for wealth.

·       11.5 per cent - the rate of three year certificates of deposit in Egypt’s two biggest banks: National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr.

Harder to borrow:

·         Yields on Egypt’s treasury bills surged above 16 per cent, its highest level in over three years.

The above two rates are at their highest levels in several years. They indicate that it is getting harder for the Egyptian government to borrow funds at reasonable rates to cover the budget deficit.

IMF assistance package; rejected in June 2011 but renegotiated in January 2012:

·         $3.2 billion - the amount of the suggested IMF loan to Egypt in June 2011;

·         10 years - the facility’s tenor;

·         1.5 per cent - the loan pricing.



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