Diffusing Egypt’s Demographic Time Bomb

Type Journal Article - United States Institute of Peace
Title Diffusing Egypt’s Demographic Time Bomb
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
URL http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/Diffusing_Egypt’s_Demographic_Time_Bomb.pdf
Limited opportunities for economic progress and political expression helped force Egypt’s youthful population on the streets and precipitated the demise of long-time leader Hosni Mubarak. Prospects for stability are linked to the government’s ability to address youth employment—a core demand of the protesters.
The January/February 2011 protests could be the tip of the iceberg. Robust and sustained action is needed to improve human security, starting with employment and income generation opportunities.
An effective economic transition in Egypt need not be a zero-sum game. Done correctly, employment-based economic restructuring that focuses on the most vulnerable (and volatile) segments of the population could lay the foundation for a stronger, stable and more
peaceful Egypt.
The next steps in Egypt’s revolution will tackle the difficult task of expanding economic opportunity and providing space for more representative, accountable and participatory governance. Fundamentally, this would require the Egyptian government and military to progressively cede control of the levers of economic power.
Employment creation that focuses on the youth is not a silver bullet and will not guarantee success on its own. It will, however, broaden the constituency for reform by making Egypt’s youth bulge more involved in shaping the destiny of the country’s 82 million citizens.

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