Author: journalist Beesan Kassab
An informative Q&A with anthropology professor Hania Sholkamy about the social protection policies put in place for the informal labor sector in Egypt during the pandemic and the need to imagine a new social protection program that is based on inclusion and that could be a locomotive for growth.
To support informal laborers struggling to find work amid the downturn, the Manpower Ministry dispersed three payouts of LE500 as a special relief measure during lockdown. However, the program had limited reach and saw substantial delays, stretching from May to August though it was initially due to be paid out three times over consecutive months. The coronavirus pandemic laid bare the gaps in Egypt’s social protection policies.
Sholkamy helped design the Takaful and Karama cash transfer programs that have been in place since 2014, and explains in this Q&A how the two programs and the grants to informal workers were used during the pandemic.
The professor, and member of the Social Research Center at the American University in Cairo, also participated in a panel discussion organized by the Phenix Center for Economics and Informatics Studies and the Arab Reform Initiative about the social protection policies put in place for the informal labor sector during the pandemic.