Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world with a population of 99.8 million. Despite recent economic growth, Egypt still faces a set of long-standing development challenges including poverty, hunger, malnutrition, social disparity, gender-based inequality and climate shocks. Food affordability, quality and safety remain challenges as Egypt continues to rely on global markets for more than half of its staples. Malnutrition is another growing public health concern, with a 21.4% stunting rate, 16% overweight and/or obesity rate, and 5.5% underweight rate of children under 5 years of age.
Egypt imports 80% of its wheat needs from Ukraine and Russia. With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Egypt is already witnessing price hikes that limit the most vulnerable populations’ access to food.
WFP has been operating in Egypt since 1968.
The UN agency’s operations in Egypt are designed to respond to the country’s long-term food and nutrition insecurity as well as providing funding for social safety nets through activities including:
- Support for refugees and asylum seekers: WFP is scaling up its monthly cash assistance to over 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers to help them meet their basic food needs.
- Nutrition and cash assistance: Under the First 1,000 Days program, WFP and the Ministry of Social Solidarity provide cash top-ups to around 27,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women under the national program “Takaful and Karama” or “Solidarity and Dignity.” The cash assistance is redeemable at local shops for nutritious food baskets.
- Agricultural support: WFP helps communities in rural Upper Egypt and bordering regions to boost their resilience to socio-economic and climate shocks through a range of projects including land rehabilitation and income diversification.