Upgrading & Employment-Enhancing Program in Cairo, Egypt

Topic: Needs Assessment and Activity Design Study for the Unplanned Areas Upgrading and Employment-Enhancing Programme in Egypt

Team: I2UD, Environmental Quality International, and the Tarek Waly Center

Sponsor: Agence Française du Développement (AFD) and the Social Fund for Development (SFD)

Project Duration: March – September 2015


Of the estimated 12 million people living in informal areas in Egypt, over half live and work in informal settlements, within the Greater Cairo Region (GCR). The scale of informal settlement growth presents numerous challenges to both central and local authorities in the in regards to keeping up with the growing demand for services, including health, education, and infrastructure, as well as ensuring that employment opportunities are available for the emerging workforce. The unplanned nature of these areas results in significant environmental challenges and an uneven provision of services that impact the quality of life of residents.

Medium and small enterprises (MSEs) account for 98% of operative enterprises in the Egyptian private sector and 80% of the national production of commodities and services. It is estimated that they provide employment for nearly 80% of the labor force. Despite these predominant figures, the contribution of MSEs to the national economy is still far less than that of large enterprises. It is estimated that no more than 15% of MSEs have access to bank financing; only about 6% of the population living below the poverty line in Egypt (14.2 million) has access to credit programs.

Project Background:

In 2011 the Egyptian Government together with the Agence Française du Développement (AFD) and the Social Fund for Development (SFD) set out to develop a program to support local development in informal areas through employment enhancement and job creation complemented with community development and upgrading activities. Four areas were selected to develop a more detailed needs assessment and activity design: `Izbit Khayrallah and Al-Zawya al-Hamra in Cairo Governorate and Mīt `Uqba and Ard el-Lewa in Giza Governorate. The Unplanned Areas Upgrading and Employment-Enhancing Programme involves three main components:

  • Improving disadvantaged communities in the four identified unplanned areas in the Cairo and Giza Governorates through urban upgrading activities and small public works;
  • Job creation and revenue generation through support and increased access to credit for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs); and
  • Promoting entrepreneurship and enterprise creation by facilitating MSEs’ access to Non-Financial Services (NFS) and Business Development Services (BDS) including technical support, skills development, improved access to markets and business linkages, IT support, and licensing and formalization of services.
  • I2UD’s Work:

    The Institute has partnered with the Tarek Waly Center (TWC) and Environmental Quality International (EQI) to bring together a team of international and local experts to develop interventions that offer synergies among the program’s three components.John Driscoll and Elda Solloso of I2UD are providing overall project coordination. The spatial analysis and assessment of infrastructure, public services and environmental conditions in the four sites is being led by TWC. EQI is leading the assessment of the socio-economic and cultural situation, identifying key stakeholders, and review existing policies and institutions that impact the delivery of services in the four informal settlements.

    Community participation is strongly emphasized through a range of methods including: the creation of “Community Advisory Committees” (CACs); the training of community members to conduct assessments and community outreach; and working sessions on community priorities facilitated by the project team within each community. The team will also identify the kinds of micro-finance services requested by current and prospective clients, assess existing credit delivery services, and investigate non-financial service providers and the demand for non-financial services.

    On the basis of the needs assessment and situation analysis, the team will prepare draft investment packages for each settlement. Due to the large geographical size and diversity of the areas being studied, “Initiation Zones” (IZs) will be selected based on local needs and priorities in each site along with series of catalyst actions that can be scaled up in the future. The team will identify, in conjunction with SFD and the Governorates, key stakeholders for the program’s implementation and outline their key roles and responsibilities.