Will Egypt be on time for catching the window of opportunity? Egypt’s future human capital by education and occupation, 2006-2051
Anne Goujon, Vienna Institute of Demography and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Huda Alkitkat, Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC)
Because of continued population growth, the demographic window of opportunity will be flat and long stretched for Egypt. Two major issues will be key in determining whether Egypt will be able to ‘catch it’ and benefit from having a large young labor force with few, young and old, dependents. The first issue has to do with future levels of educational attainment of the working age population. In 2006, more than 40% of the total working age population and more than 50% of the female working age population had not completed a primary education and the question arises if investments in education will create enough return in terms of a qualified labor force, including women. The second issue, which is not unrelated to the first concerns the future skills and occupation of the employed labor force and whether the country will be able to accelerate the growth in employment for the expanding skilled population and the remaining unskilled population in several crucial sectors such as manufacturing, commerce, services, information and communication technology, and tourism. We expand on work done by Goujon et al (2007) on human capital (multi-state) projections from 1996 to 2051 based mostly on 1996 data and update with results from the 2006 census, together with fertility data from DHS 2008. We compare trends and examine whether they are more favorable for Egypt compared to results of the 2007 study. Furthermore, we develop some scenarios of the distribution of the population in working age group by level of education, sex, age, and main occupation groups. The implications of the projections will be to show if Egypt will be able to utilize its population as an engine of growth for the development of the country to realize the window of opportunity over the next 50 years.