The 2011 revolution reflected the effects of shocks such as the 2007/08 food price crisis, which impaired food security and nutrition; the subsequent political instability substantially reduced Egypt’s economic performance. An increasing population, limited arable land and the impact of climate change have driven migration to urban areas, and Egypt hosts increasing numbers of refugees.
Food security in Egypt is related to income rather than food availability. Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat, so it is vulnerable to fluctuations in food prices. Between 2009 and 2011, the prevalence of poverty rose from 22 percent to 25 percent, affecting 21 million people. The average household spends 40.6 percent of its income on food, and one in three Egyptians has poor dietary diversity. In Upper Egypt, which is home to 67 percent of the poor, education indicators are weak, access to government services is low and livelihoods are vulnerable to climate change.
Food security is constrained by high and increasing needs, and by limited funding for social safety nets. Country programme 200238 will help the Government to reach the neediest people more effectively and efficiently. Its main provisions are: i) technical assistance to develop the capacity of institutions to monitor and address food security and nutrition threats; ii) support for the reform of food-based safety nets; and iii) food assistance in Upper Egypt and frontier governorates to enhance access to preschool and primary education and to build resilience to shocks.
The technical assistance includes piloting programmes that can be replicated and scaled up by the Government and guidance in policy formation with a view to national ownership. Voucher transfers will be introduced under the nutrition pilot and school feeding.
Country programme 200238 is based on consultation and is designed to extend partnerships with the Government, local authorities, United Nations agencies, development partners, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. It is aligned with national policies, the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for 2013–2017, WFP’s Strategic Plan (2008–2013) and Millennium Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7.