Egypt has been in a process of transition since the uprising in February 2011. Economic stagnation and unemployment are among the factors that sparked the popular uprising in spring 2011. The period that followed has been characterised by an economic downturn and rising unemployment, and regional disparities and poverty have increased. Currently 40% of the Egyptian population and more than half of all young people are living below the poverty line.
Economic prospects for young people in rural areas
The SDC project in rural Aswan Governorate in Egypt aims to improve the economic prospects of local young men and women. The SDC promotes enterprises in the agricultural, livestock breeding and fisheries sectors to create new jobs and provide young people with an alternative to migrating to urban centres.
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Agricultural services & market
Agriculture value-chain development (til 2016)
- Since the political upheaval of February 2011, Egypt has seen a transition process with numerous ups and downs. Currently, the political climate is marked by plarization and new authoritarian tendencies that curtail basic rights and freedoms.
- One of the main triggers of the popular uprisings in Egypt in early 2011 was the absence of socially inslucive economic growth generating sufficient jobs. The post-revolution period saw a sharp economic downturn that hit the vulnerable economies in Upper Egypt hardest and has further fuelled the already significant migration from Upper Egypt towards urban centres of Lower Egypt.
- Aswan with its five districts Edfu, Aswan, Kom Ombo, Nasr El Nuba, and Daraw has 1.2 million inhabitants, 57% of whom live in rural areas. Aswan suffers from high illiteracy and poverty rates and was less fortunate in receiving donor support in the past.
- The local economy in Aswan is undiversified with a very weak industiral sector which generates very few economic opportunities especially for the youth. In 2010, the unemployment rate in Aswan was estimated to be 19%, with higher rates for women and youth. It is expected to have significantly risen since the revolution.
- Government plans to address youth unemployment have been stalled with the political instability; recently launched labor-intensive projects will hardly reach rural and remote governorates like Aswan.
- Direct beneficiaries: In terms of individuals, the project will target 6500 young women and men (below 40 years of age) with varying qualifications in Aswan Governorate mainly in the districts of Edfu, Kom Ombo, Nasr El Nouba and Daraw. In terms of institutions, the project will target 20 cooperatives and NGOs including MFIs.
- Indirect beneficiaries: household members of the target young women and men and the communities and beneficiaries served by the target cooperatives and NGos.
- Care International
- Other OI
- Other UN Organisation
- Possible synergies will be sought with the ILO, FAO, IOM, WFP, other donors, local NGOs and cooperatives.
- SDC and SECO - funded projects including the Improving Emlployment and Income through Development of Egypt's Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project of World Fish and the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants project of UNIDO.
- The Aswan Governorate, other relevant local authorities and national ministires.
The overall goal of the proposed interverntion is to increase and sustain income and employment for young women and men in the Aswan governorate.
Outcome 1: Increased production or revenue and profits for farmers, fishermen, traders and processors in the horticulture, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries value chain.
Outcome 2: Improved enabling environment for the development of new and existing horticulture, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries businesses in Aswan.
1.1 Value chain stakeholders have improved access to high quality inputs.
1.2 Stakeholders along the selected value chains adopt best practices.
1.3 Stakeholders along the value chains have better access to markets.
1.4 Value adding activities are introduced or improved in the selected value chains.
2.1 The access of stakeholders along the selected value chains to technical and market information is facilitated by the Aswan Service Center (ASC).
2.2 Existing and new businesses have improved access to micro finance.
2.3 Entrepreneurs in the value chains have improved access to entrepreneurship training and support.
2.4 Strong, business-oriented NGOs and cooperatives improve theri services and are better able to advocate for the interest of their constituencies.
Results from previous phases:
During the opening credit, the implementation of the project was tendered. During a three-month inception phase a more substantial market analysis was conducted to improve project design and intervention strategy.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
Other International Organization
United Nations Organization (UNO)
|Coordination with other projects and actors||
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 5'020'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 3'346'843|
Phase 1 01.01.2013 - 31.05.2019 (Completed)
Exploiting the growth potential of the economy
The aim of the project is to provide young women and men under 40 living in rural Aswan Governorate with jobs, a higher and long-term income, and to motivate young people to stay in the region and not move to urban centres. The SDC is promoting a sustainable economic upswing to benefit all and working to expand the local job market. According to an analysis carried out as part of the project, the agricultural sector has large growth potential.
The project officers estimate that 2,500 young people will achieve a higher income and 4,000 new jobs will be created. As the families of these young people will also benefit from this upswing indirectly, approximately 30,000 people will be able to improve their livelihoods.
The project focuses on processing chains in small industry. Producing vegetable oils, drying tomatoes and fish salting will be professionalised and production costs will be reduced where possible. Thanks to the project's innovation fund, pilot projects can be carried out, such as converting diesel-powered water pumps to environmentally friendly solar energy pumps.
In addition, the project will help to improve conditions for farmers, livestock breeders, and people working in the fisheries sector.
Many people out of work
Aswan Governorate in southern Egypt has a population of 1.2 million, of which 57% are living in the countryside. There is a high poverty rate and illiteracy is very widespread. The largest economic sector in Aswan is agriculture, followed by tourism. The industrial sector is very weak. The remoteness of the governorate and its inadequate infrastructure make access to markets difficult.
In 2010, the unemployment rate was approximately 19%, with women and young people especially affected. Women account for 75% of the total workforce. They work in particular in family-owned farms without pay or as paid workers for other agricultural operations.
In 2010, the Egyptian government initiated a national employment plan for young people that was intended to promote private enterprise and education and training for young people. As a result of the 2011 uprising, implementation of the project was interrupted and since then unemployment has further increased.
Strong Swiss involvement
The SDC works with cooperatives and NGOs as well as with microfinance institutions. The SDC's contract partner in this project is the organisation CARE International Egypt that works under contract with WorldFish. WorldFish is already a partner of Switzerland. Local people are closely involved in the project activities, while political structures are taken into account.
Switzerland is very active in the remote and disadvantaged Aswan Governorate. In addition to the economy and youth employment, Switzerland is active in improving the quality of drinking water and reducing water consumption.