The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Two versions of Egypt

These two stories popped up next to each other on an Egypt news search:

EGYPT: Poverty rampant in rural areas, says new report

CAIRO, 13 February (IRIN) - The rich-poor divide in Egypt remains significant, especially in rural areas, according to the UN and government ministries.
"Improvements in the gap between rich and poor are marginal," noted Khaled Abdel Kader of the Cairo Institute for National Planning, speaking at the release of the UNDP's latest human development report on Sunday.
"Poverty, especially in the rural areas, remains rampant," he added.
In the new development classification, Egypt ranks 119th out of 173 countries.
According to the report, while 61 percent of people living in the southern governorate of Assiut are still classified as "poor", the rate for urban governorates lies at only 6.2 percent.
Egypt's goal: To be the land of offshoring

Egypt is making a pitch to be the next offshore outsourcing hot-spot, claiming that its foreign language skills and low labor costs put the country in a strong position to compete with India and Eastern Europe.
AT Kearney recently ranked Egypt number 12 in a list of top offshore outsourcing destinations and while the country's share of the offshore call-center market is still very small, analyst Datamonitor predicts it will grow by 52 percent over the next 12 months.
There are plenty of good business ideas around, but they focus on the services industry. I rarely see any kind of initiative for those who are left behind, trapped by poverty, illiteracy, and rural life.