Human Capital Development in Egypt: Foreign Aid Efforts Towards Sustainable Development
For the past numerous years, Egypt has strived to revive its economic growth rates persistently. Nevertheless, it has since then been faced by various impediments that have slowed down its progress substantially. With unemployment remaining at a stubborn 13.8% in 2014, the Egyptian labor market is finding it challenging to absorb, let alone accommodate, an annual influx of approximately 700,000 new entrants to its territories (Amin, 2014). Not only is the Egyptian labor market inflicted by the unemployment “disease”, it also suffers from other “weak points” such as gender inequality among the labor force, low female participation, minimum wage issues, wide income gaps among jobs in the same industries, poor productivity rates, inadequate vocational training and education, unimpressive human development indicators, and, sad to say, lots more. Human capital is a central determinant of economic growth, and a more pervasive indicator of development than any other single factor. An economy with a larger stock of human capital will experience faster growth patterns. Certainly, an economy’s growth is positively related to the quality of human capital and the country’s investment in it. According to the IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, to achieve economic growth, Egypt must nurture its social infrastructure, not only its physical one. How? By focusing on youth and women – two groups that need to be better integrated into the economy. Today, one in three young Egyptians below the age of twenty five is unemployed; almost three times the overall unemployment rate. However, Human capital enhancement strategies have to be consistent with country strategies for development. They have to be coherent and collaborative. They also need their own generous share of the fiscal budget. Yet, unfortunately Egypt has witnessed various inefficiencies on the institutional setup level, including inefficient policy integration, redundancy and duplication of efforts, absence of accountability, lack of transparency in information dissemination, crippling laws and regulations, a culture that does not support development and is resistant to change, as well as a general environment that misses collaboration between the different sectors involved. Based on the dismal situation portrayed, foreign aid-funded projects in Egypt have attempted to endorse several educational and empowering programs to develop Egypt’s human capital.
Under the umbrella of the current sustainable development goals (SDGs), social progress, economic growth, and environmental protection are the key pillars on the recently developed agenda. The objective of this study is to shed light on the current situation and obstacles facing the human base in Egypt, the role foreign aid has played in the past and how it should be managed in the future, to integrate its objectives to those of sustainable development.
Keywords— Human capital development, Sustainable Development, Capacity Building, Vocational training, Education, Productivity, Social progress