Egypt one of few countries to achieve economic growth during COVID pandemic: Planning minister

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 8 Feb 2021

Minister El-Said told the House that Egypt's economic reform programme made the economy more capable in absorbing the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic and other shocks

File Photo: A woman buys vegetables from a cafe transformed into a vegetable shop as cafes have been shut following the pandemic, in Cairo. (REUTERS)

Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said said before the House of Representatives on Monday Egypt was one of the few countries to achieve econopmic growth amid the coronavirus pandemic, recording a growth rate of 3.6 percent in the second half of 2019/20.


“This is a very significant rate, because it was achieved under the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the country in early 2020,” El-Said told MPs.

She added that “the economic growth rate in the first half of 2019/20 recorded 5.6 percent, and this means that the coronavirus has only slowed the growth rate by 2 percent in the second half of 2019/20.”

“A growth rate of 3.6 percent makes Egypt one of the few countries in the world that were able to achieve positive economic growth under the coronavirus pandemic.” El-Said continued.

“This is one of the fruits we reaped from the economic reform programme which we adopted in November 2016, which made the Egyptian economy more capable in containing crises.”

El-Said said the government was targeting a growth rate of 5.8 percent in 2019/20 and 6 percent in 2020/21, however, the pandemic tempered these expectations.

El-Said, who was reviewing the implementation of the government’s “Egypt Kicks Off” programme in parliament, said one of the great achievements of the 2016-2019 economic reform measures is that the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in the first quarter of 2020/21, compared to 9.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019/20.

“The annual unemployment rate also shrunk from 13 percent in 2014 to 7.9 percent in 2019. As for the inflation rate, it dropped from 33 percent in 2017/18 to 13.9 percent in 2018/19 and then to 5.7 percent in 2019/20, the lowest in 14 years,” said El-Said.

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