The Egyptian Cabinet of Ministers said on Sunday that the economic growth stood at 5.6 percent in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, compared with 5.3 percent in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, reports Xinhua. An infograph published by the cabinet on its official Facebook page attributed the current growth rate to the increase of a number of key sectors, notably the telecommunications sector.
The telecommunications sector witnessed a growth of 16.7 percent, followed by the mining sector's 9.8 percent, the construction sector's 8.8 percent, the education and health services sector's 3.8 percent, the agricultural sector's 3.3 percent and the industrial sector's 2.8 percent, according to the cabinet.
Investments also contributed to this growth rate as public and private investments increased by 27.9 percent. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate decreased to 7.8 percent during the third quarter of 2019, compared to 10 percent in the same period in 2018, while the rate of urban inflation dropped to 9.2 percent in 2019, compared to 14.4 percent in 2018.
Regarding the progress in tourism, the cabinet said the tourism sector witnessed an increase in revenues by 28.6 percent to 12.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2018/2019, compared to 9.8 billion dollars in 2017/2018. Net foreign reserves increased by 6.7 percent to 45.42 billion dollars at the end of December 2019, compared to 42.55 billion dollars the year before.
Supported by a 12-billion-dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Egypt started an austerity-based economic reform program in November 2016, including local currency devaluation, fuel and energy subsidy cuts and introduction of value-added tax. Despite the consequent price hikes and inflation rise, world financial institutions and research centers commended Egypt's reforms, with the IMF expecting the country to contribute 1.5 percent to the world's growth by 2024.