Table 1: The Balance of Payments, 2011/12-2015/16 (Percent of GDP)
Egypt suffers from long-term structural problems of high unemployment, low labor force participation, and an unfavorable business environment. Poverty has increased sharply in recent years: in 2015, 25 million people, or 27.8 percent of the population, lived below the poverty line compared with 17.5 million, or 21.6 percent in 2009.
The population is growing by 1.88 percent a year according to the UN and by 2.4 percent a year, according to the official statistical agency CAMPAS. In mid-2016, the population resident in Egypt was estimated at 91 million. This means that the annual addition to the population is between 1.7 million and 2.2 million people.
This in itself is a huge burden on the economy but the structure of the population presents another challenge. The Egyptian population, like that in the Middle East as a whole, is very young. As a result large numbers of young people enter the labor market each year. Although the growth rate of the labor market entrance group has slowed, the number of young people looking for work remains large. The economy, with its long standing bias towards using capital rather than labor, cannot absorb them all and those with education and skills suffer higher unemployment than those that do not.