ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
Based for millennia on agriculture, according to thereligionfaqs, Egypt experienced, in the nineteenth century, during the British colonial period and during the subsequent monarchy which lasted until 1953, a not negligible process of modernization (for example with the construction of railways, the inauguration of the canal of Suez, the strengthening of cotton growing and agriculture in general in the commercial sense, the creation of the first industries, etc.). This growth, however, provided advantages only to a small group in power, while the conditions of the fellāḥīn, that is, of the great mass of Egyptians, remained unchanged, if not worsened. With the fall of the monarchy, Egypt met practically opposite economic orientations, without however finding the remedy for the national underdevelopment. With Nasser in fact, a clearly socialist and dirigiste economic policy was tested and the country’s productive structures began to operate within the framework of the five-year development plans. Large enterprises, banks, insurance companies were nationalized, while the State became an entrepreneur, incorporating not only the basic industries, but sometimes also various smaller companies and assuming the management of commercial circuits with foreign countries; in the financial field, a rigid closure was made against Western capital. At the same time land reform was implemented and land confiscated from landowners was redistributed (before 1952 less than 3% of the population owned more than 55% of the arable land, while it is estimated that 87% of the peasants were totally landless); however, this gave rise to a myriad of micro-funds, mostly less than 2 ha, which remained anchored to very archaic production techniques. The Arab-Israeli conflict of 1967 had a disastrous outcome for the economy: the closure of the Suez Canal (closed in 1967 during the war and reopened in 1975) put an end to large revenues and damaged the industrial structures along the canal. with the abandonment of the Sinai, Egypt lost the oil fields of that area and the tourist flows decreased considerably. Starting from the seventies, the country initiated an economic change in an openly liberal sense, accompanied by a pro-Western and, in particular, pro-American policy, and the country began to develop a mixed economy, in which, however, the state presence gradually lost power against the new entrepreneurial bourgeoisie. During the nineties of the twentieth century, the exchange rate was liberalized and some barriers that constrained trade were removed: trade agreements with the European Union and the United States led to a recovery of competitiveness at an international level. Economic progress has allowed Egypt to move up the world GDP rankings per capita (US $ 7,800 in 2018) and human development with a GDP of US $ 249,559,000 (2018). It must be said that, beyond the economic policy lines gradually adopted, the situation of the country is largely the result of a series of human and natural factors such as overpopulation, the lack of forests and grazing and meadow areas. and an oil production that appears very modest if compared to that of most Arab countries. To this has been added in recent years a growing resentment, especially on the part of the younger population influenced by Islamic fundamentalism, towards the government’s liberal policy, which has had to partially slow down the reform process.
ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
The primary sector, which has always been the fulcrum of the Egyptian economy, always plays an important role, employing approx. 30% of the workforce and providing 15.4% of the gross domestic product (2006). Most of the cultivated land (3.5% of the land area, in correspondence with the delta and the Nile valley) is irrigated: precisely this need, largely imposed by climatic conditions, limits its further urban growth The permanently irrigated lands, thanks to the large dams of Aswân, Isna, Nag Hammâdi, etc., continue to increase. Permanent and controlled irrigation allows you to practice up to three annual crops in rotation, but it has the downside of no longer being able to count on the fertile Nilotic silt and of requiring large quantities of chemical fertilizers that Egypt does not yet produce in sufficient quantities. Winter crops (scythians) mainly include wheat, onions and legumes; the summers (sefi) mainly concern cotton, sugar cane, rice and oil plants; autumnal (nili) are mainly represented by maize and other cereals with a short vegetative cycle, such as millet. Cotton, the predominant crop, was introduced in 1821 and its production reached its peak between 1920 and 1930 and then underwent a contraction: in the first decade of the 2000s, Egypt remained the main cotton producer on the continent and among the first ten worldwide. Wheat prevails among cereals, followed by maize and rice, grown mainly in the delta with high yields. The mile is actually from Upper Egypt. Potatoes, beans, broad beans, cabbage, onions and tomatoes are widely consumed products. In the context of industrial crops, sugar cane is widespread; followed by sesame, peanuts, flax, olive, oranges, lemons, mandarins and dates. § The breeding is generally underdeveloped, except for poultry; sheep and goats exploit the marginal and poor lands of the Nile valley; for cattle, the cultivation of fodder is largely used; the number of buffaloes, the traditional working animals of Italy, is also not very high fellāh. § Fishing has little economic importance, which is also practiced in the ponds and lakes of the delta; sponges, corals and mother of pearl are added to the seafood products.