Adonis Diaries

Syrian refugees boost Egyptian economy

Posted on: June 26, 2017

This is what the Syrian refugees did to our Egyptian economy

Tuesday, the world celebrated the World Refugees Day.
United Nations and its organizations above them UNHCR as well many countries in the world used that day to highlight their efforts to help the refugees around the globe.
The world is facing the worst refugees crfisis problem that it has not seen before since the WWII.
Back in our corner of the world, there has been one hell of silence when it comes to the Arab governments or Arab media.
In a sad irony, the Middle East or rather the Arab world is the Source of more than the half of refugees around the globe now.
Aside from Palestinian refugees who have been in limbo since 1948 and 1967, we have got Syrian refugees, Iraqi refugees, Yemeni refugees, Sudanese refugees and Somali refugees.
The media is busy with Ramadan TV season and at the same time the internal Gulf crisis as far as I could tell.
In Egypt, we got also Ramadan TV season, bad economy and a worse political situation with the ongoing Tiran and Sanafir Islands Saga.Yet I have not forgotten about this important day.It is never too late to post something about the refugees in Egypt or any other place in the world.

Earlier this month, I have read interesting facts that made me love the Syrian refugees in Jobs Make difference report published by UNDP, International Labor Organization “ILO” and World Food Programme “WFP.

For example; the inflow of Syrian direct investments headed to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey as things escalated from revolution to civil war in an easy way.

The report says that Syrian refugees in Egypt injected in those years not less than $800 million.
Yes, $800 million were injected into our economy through Syrian investors and businessmen who moved to Cairo.
The $800 million could have been more if it were not for the restrictions on foreigners to invest in Egypt as they lack to access to credit and banking.
They also must have Egyptian partners.

Two Syrian young men working in ful and falafel restaurant
Two Syrians working in a falafel and beans shop at the Syrian street in October City
in 2016. See more photos here 

I believe the source of those millions is the textile factories. Yes, Syrian textile factories that found a huge demand in Egypt.

In 2016, there have been only 450 Syrian textile factories in Egypt producing fine products carrying the label “Made in Egypt by Syrian hands” and creating job opportunities for both Syrians and Egyptians.

The success of that sector in our country made the ministry of the industry think of making a Syrian industrial zone in Egypt in 2017

Both Pre-existing Syrian community in Egypt and the Syrian business association in Cairo played a huge role in giving support to other Syrians fleeing the countries with their money.

Greek refugees in Syria in 1942
ِAn old Palestinian magazine from 1942
on its cover, a Syrian lady giving clothes
to Greek refugees from kids in Syria

In other words, the Syrian refugees contributed positively to our Egyptian GDP and our Egyptian economy in very difficult and hard times.

Both the Egyptian and Turkish markets have been open to Syrian businessmen and investors who hired nationals as well Syrians than other countries in the Middle East region.

The report says Egypt and Turkey allow Syrians to provide services to other Syrians like teachers and doctors.

The Egyptian government allowed 2,000 Syrian teachers to work in Syrian community schools in Cairo, Giza and Ismailia governorates.

I must add that in Egypt, Syrian doctors also provide services to Egyptians as well especially dentists in October City and New Cairo suburbs.

According to UNHCR in April, there are 122,228 Syrian registered in Egypt officially with the UN refugees organization.

According to Egyptian official estimations backed by NGOs and activists, there are not less than half million Syrians staying currently in Egypt aside from the refugees who consider the country as a transit station to Europe.

Here is a graph showing the number of Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR as well the total number of refugees in Egypt since 2011. You will notice that there was a huge jump from 2011 to 2012.

FYI, the total number of registered refugees in UNHCR in Egypt in 2016 was 263,426 people.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Egyptian government claimed that the number of refugees in Egypt reaches to 5 million.

The report also says that the unemployment rate among the Syrian Refugees community in Egypt reached 20% compared to 13% of Egyptians.

Now to the alarming facts.

54% of the Syrian Refugees community in Egypt lives under the poverty line whereas 26% of the Egyptian population lives under the poverty line.
The labor force participation rate in Egypt was not available. I think this goes to the fact that many hire Syrians in an informal way to avoid work licenses ..etc.
The unemployment rate among Syrian refugees reached 25% according to the report estimations.

By the way according to the UNHCR report on Funding issued earlier June, the current funding gap for the Syrian crisis response for 2017 is $1 Billion only.
I think both Saudi Arabia and UAE as well Qatar can pay this sum very easily instead of all those fancy weapons they buy. In fact, they can support the refugees and improve their lives and buy crazy weapons.
Heavens forbid I ask them to help in stopping the wars they are part of it directly and indirectly.
I won’t even speak about the League of Arab States because it is a dead organization, only used by Egypt or Saudi Arabia now when it is needed.

Anyhow, all I want to say to the right wing all over the world especially in Europe and North America that the Syrian refugees won’t steal your jobs as they will create their own jobs if you allow them.

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