Egypt's increasing informal economy

Ghada Barsoum, professor of public policy at the American University in Cairo (AUC) claims that the informal economy has become the “number one source of income in Egypt,” as a result of “the lack of opportunities in the formal economy.” Seventy-five percent of Egyptian youth, according to Barsoum, are working in this situation.

Maurice Chammah’s article, “With informal economy on the rise, experts push for reform”, in Daily News Egypt reports on the 13th Tahrir Dialogues.

Some interesting debates are presented. Among them, Fouad Thabet, chair of the Federation for Economic Development Associations, argues: “If they can’t turn into legitimate businessmen, they will become terrorists”. While Ibrahim Awad, director of AUC’s Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, said the government needs to step in: “We should not attack the informal sector with taxes and fees without providing services”. “After all, what triggered the first revolution in Tunisia was an attack on a street vendor”.

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