Source: Economic Research Forum
Author(s): Irène Selwaness and Maye Ehab
This paper presents a comprehensive review of the state of social protection in Egypt using data from the Egypt Labor Market Panel Surveys of 1998, 2006, 2012 and 2018. First, we focus on issues of social insurance coverage at work, how it evolved over time, and the time it takes to acquire social insurance. Second, we examine the patterns of social protection benefits receipt at the household level. We analyze the coverage of the newly launched conditional cash transfer programs Takaful and Karama as well as the smart food ration cards. Finally, as a component of social protection, we examine health insurance coverage rates. Findings suggest that the social insurance coverage gap widened among all workers, particularly in private sector wage employment, for both men and women. This was likely due to the expansion of outside of establishment wage work, highlighting issues of increased vulnerability at work. Moreover, the coverage gap does not close with years of work and is highly contingent on the type of first job, suggesting an informality trap. As for social protection benefits receipt, the most common type of benefits was retirement or social assistance pensions. If the social insurance coverage gap continues to widen, such benefits receipt would be strongly affected. Finally, women, and in particular rural women, as well as youth aged 20-24 were the most vulnerable in terms of health insurance coverage.
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