Social Protection in Egypt: Mitigating the Socio-economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Vulnerable Employment is an interdisciplinary research project based at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and funded by the Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Research and Innovation Initiative at AUC.
The aim of the project is the production of empirically-based policy-oriented knowledge with regards to possible and potential changes in social protection policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt. The impact the pandemic has on the global, regional and national economies will persist for some time even after it is over. What seems to be a global recession, unparalleled since the time of the Great Depression, has hit Egypt and the Arab region more generally through lower oil prices, curbed tourism and low investment inflows.
These challenges in the short to medium-term require policy and institutional changes. Moreover, the pandemic and the measures taken to counter it provide a ripe context to address some of the deep-seated and long-term problems in relevant policy areas like public health and prevention and health care provision, job security, social protection and gendered interventions.
The project analyzes the ways in which social, economic and political factors are associated with welfare outcomes. It describes the interconnected factors that determine risk and vulnerability. It mostly focuses on social determinants and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. More importantly, it suggest paths for the future.
The project thus highlights the impact of the crisis on vulnerable employees and their households who have been hit the hardest by the crises and assesses the efficacy of some of the policy interventions adopted in Egypt in light of COVID-19. It proposes policy interventions on the short, medium and long-term to ensure that the country is sustained by a robust social protection system.
The research outputs are an executive summary of the project and four policy papers that focus on
a) Rethinking Employment Security in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic
b) Macro-Economic Planning for Social Protection
c) Public Health and Prevention in Light of the New Health Insurance Law
d) Gendered Mitigations of Gender-Based Domestic Violence.
The project brings together a team of 15 researchers as principal and co-principal investigators, research fellows and senior researchers from the fields of public health, development economics, political economy, labor sociology, gender studies and development anthropology. The idea behind this task force is to capitalize on already existing expertise, research findings, databases and theoretical framings in order to generate analysis and recommendations to improve social protection schemes in Egypt. These findings could be used to inform public debate, government decision-making and engage with epistemic communities of experts and academics.
For further information you can access the project website on AUC page here:
"A more detailed look at the structure of the different components of social protection shows that the share of social assistance benefits, while the largest share, decreased from 83% of the total spending on social protection in FY14 to 67% in FY20"