Publication: Achieving the Demographic Dividend in the Arab Republic of Egypt: Choice, Not Destiny

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Nassar, Heba (ed.)
Shawky, Sherine (ed.)
Elshalakani, Amr (ed.)
Hamza, Mariam M. (ed.)
Zhang, Yi (ed.)
Zeitoun, Nahla (ed.)
The Arab Republic of Egypt was well on the path to achieving its demographic dividend at the turn of this century but has gone off track due to a reversal in its earlier fertility decline. But what is the demographic dividend? It reflects the economic benefits when a country undergoes a rapid decline in mortality, then fertility, and the consequent demographic transition. Due to lower fertility and fewer children per household, a growing working-age population increases productivity and per capita income, leading to accumulated savings, investments, and economic growth, underscoring the strong link between demographics and economic growth. Fortunately, Egypt has the political will, resources, and capacity to achieve its demographic dividend in the next decade, as this report by a team of Egyptian and World Bank experts shows. It reviews the trends in determinants of the rising total fertility rate, the likely factors that contributed to Egypt’s fertility decline reversal, the government’s initial response, and the sectoral and social drivers that may have influenced this fertility decline reversal. It also assesses the economic impact of the demographic changes, including estimates of forgone savings due to the increased fertility and of potential future gains if the country were to regain and then accelerate its fertility decline. Drawing on global evidence, the report proposes six policy and strategic priorities, complemented by four policy imperatives. These priorities aim to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate (the most important of the six), reduce school dropouts, increase female labor force participation, delay early marriage, leverage social protection programs, and improve governance of the country's population program. The four imperatives aim to assure broad-based socioeconomic development and they include creating productive jobs; investing in and leveraging human capital; enhancing financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, especially for women; and sustaining macroeconomic stability. The president's "Decent Life Initiative" and the "National Project for the Development of the Egyptian Family" can be used as the platform to implement many of the proposed policies and strategies. In such a manner, Egypt will be back on track to achieve its demographic dividend.
El-Saharty, Sameh (ed.); Nassar, Heba (ed.); Shawky, Sherine (ed.); Elshalakani, Amr (ed.); Hamza, Mariam M. (ed.); Zhang, Yi (ed.); Zeitoun, Nahla (ed.). 2022. Achieving the Demographic Dividend in the Arab Republic of Egypt : Choice, Not Destiny. International Development in Focus;. © Washington, DC : World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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