‘All aspects of human profile deprivation – except unemployment – have shown significant reduction over the last decade’, reported the UNDP Human Development Report 2005 on Egypt, and things have improved since then. More people have access to piped water, fewer children die before the age of five, life-expectancy has increased, more children participate in basic and secondary school, illiteracy continues to decline, and more people have access to health care.
Despite these gains, Egypt still lags internationally. Of 177 countries surveyed by the UNDP, Egypt ranked 104th in 2010. Of Egypt’s Arab and North African peers only Morocco, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen scored lower.
There are still enormous differences in human development between rich and poor, urban and rural regions, and men and women. Almost all Egyptian households are connected to the electricity network, but access to clean public water is not universal. Rural areas lag behind urban areas: 82.5 percent of the urban population is safely connected to a sewage system, but only 24.3 percent of the rural population. The UNDP Egypt Development Report 2005 identified the state of sanitation in Egypt as a ‘silent emergency’, posing a large risk to public health.
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