Egypt's minority Nubians stage rally, demand land rights

On Wed, Nov 23, 2016

Source: New Jersey Herald
​Author: Haggag Salama

LUXOR, Egypt (AP) — Hundreds of Egypt's ethnic minority Nubians have blocked a main road in the country's south to protest the government's plan to sell land they claim to be their ancestral territory.

Monday's protest, on the road between the city of Aswan and the Abu Simbel archaeological site, came after police last weekend prevented a group of Nubians from returning to their land.

Date of publication
mars 2016

Strengthening Arab Women's Property Rights and Access to Land - PPT

Date of publication
mars 2016

Improving Women's Access to Land and Property in The Arab States: The Role Of Inheritance, Dower, and Marital Property

Date of publication
décembre 2010

The countries in North Africa share an arid and semi-arid environment with high diversity: mountainous areas run alongside maritime areas and desert. The population of the region was estimated at 160 million people in 2005 and is expected to be more than 270 million in 2030. Most of the population will live in urban areas. Currently, urban dwellers in North Africa represent more than 50% of the population and are expected to be more than 60% by 2030. However, the urban system in North Africa is suffering urban primacy.

The region is well known for its endowment in mineral deposits such as oil and gas. However, it is also known for being one of the poorest regions in the world in water resources. Due to rapid population growth, both water and land resources are becoming scarce. Sustainable land and natural resource management is an ancient and well established tradition in the region. This is witnessed for example by the pre-Islamic hema system of rangelands management, which governed the timing, frequency and intensity of grazing, and was instrumental in the maintenance of rangelands.

Like other regions in the continent, North Africa has suffered colonial domination: France, Britain and Italy invaded the countries of the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. The colonial domination led to legal pluralism, with French civil law overlapping with Islamic law and tribal systems. Consequently, land rights are extremely complex and include registered lands, melk lands (private lands), habous lands (or waqf) and pre-Islamic collective tribal lands. One consequence of legal pluralism is poor formalization of land rights and persisting land tenure insecurity and conflicts. The coexistence of traditional, religious, and civil legislation is considered as one of the main causes of land disputes in the region. 

The trend of land fragmentation is common in the region. Land fragmentation is the result of continuous sub-division of land for inheritance. Finding the appropriate response to land fragmentation is a key challenge for North African countries, as it is considered an impediment to land development and agricultural productivity. 

Islamic law enables women to own land through inheritance. Governments in the region have taken appropriate measures to enhance women land rights. However, the survival of customary practices hampers the consolidation of women’s land rights. 

North Africa has experienced numerous conflicts such as the North African Campaign of World War II, the Egyptian–Israeli war and border conflicts between countries in the region. As a consequence, land mines and explosive remnants of war are a common hurdle for development in the region. Specifically, explosive remnants of war are obstacles to land development. They have delayed irrigation projects in some instances and significantly increased the cost of agricultural projects in others.

Land is central to overall national development in the region. Agriculture, industry (including manufacturing and oil extraction) and the booming tourism industry are activities which require access to land resources and security of tenure. From 1950 to 1975, different policies were developed to address key land issues in North Africa. Generally, land policies were developed as part of national development plans. This trend of land reforms was based on state interventionism and included: expropriation of former colonial lands; land redistribution in favour of poor landless peasants; and establishment of ceilings on maximum land ownership. These reforms substantially improved access to European markets and thus contributed to poverty reduction. However, not all expropriated land was redistributed to poor peasants. The state ended up becoming the largest land owner, with state farms established across the region.

In the mid-1980s, most North African countries moved from planned economy and state capitalism toward neo-liberal economies. New laws were passed to enable the private sector access land resources and to attract foreign direct investments. However, governments failed to harmonize the laws passed under the rule of planned economy with the new ones, designed to promote a free market. The coexistence of those two types of laws proved not to be conducive to economic development. In addition, most North African countries remained centralized while the full implementation of the new land laws required devolution of power to the local administration.

Most countries in North Africa successfully experienced consultative mechanisms in the course of formulating their plans and programmes for combating desertification. This successful experience is a lesson learnt which can feed future land policy development processes in the region.

Date of publication
avril 2014
Geographical focus

The increased density and sprawl of
Cairo's urban areas are the consequence of a number of
factors, of which the major ones are the physical and
geographic features, transport supply, urban policy and the
control of urban development, market laws, government aid,
property developers, consumer sensitivity to building
quality and costs, travelling distances, tariffs, the
immediate surrounding area, etc. The purpose of this study
is to measure the impact of a transport policy on the
accessibility and development of the Cairo urban area.
Cairo's transport policy has encouraged tremendous
development of major road infrastructures, partial
liberalization of the surface public transport network
resulting in a considerable expansion of private microbus
lines, and an extension of the bus network at the expense of
the density of supply and of regularity, and without
creating segregated lanes as recommended in successive
transport and urban studies, amongst other significant
developments. This report explores the influence of
transport on the development of urban areas, and the
consequences of such developments.

Date of publication
août 2014
Geographical focus

The rural economy of developing
countries has long been regarded as synonymous with
agriculture but in recent years this view has begun to
change. Such diverse activities as government, commerce, and
services are now seen as providing most income in rural
households. Applying decomposition analysis to two new
nationally representative sets of household data from Egypt
and Jordan, the author examines how different sources of
income--including nonfarm income--affect inequality in rural
income. He concludes: 1) Nonfarm income has different
impacts on poverty and inequality in the two countries. In
Egypt the poor (those in the lowest quintile) receive almost
60 percent of their per capita income from nonfarm income.
In Jordan the poor receive less than 20 percent of their
income from nonfarm income. So nonfarm income decreases
inequality in Egypt and increases it in Jordan. 2) Access to
land accounts for this difference between the two countries.
In Egypt the cultivated land base is totally irrigated and
very highly productive. Egypt's large rural population
seeks access to land but because the land-to-people ratio is
so unfavorable, only a minority of rural inhabitants
actually own land. The rest--especially the poor--are forced
to seek work in the nonfarm sector. By contrast, only 30
percent of Jordan's cultivated land base is irrigated
and crop yields are low. So Jordan's rural population
does not press for access to land because the attractive
economic rates of return are found in the non-farm sector.
Unlike Egypt's rich, rural Jordan's rich earn less
than 10 percent of their total per capita income from
agriculture and more than 55 percent of it from non-farm
sources. 3) The poor in both countries depend heavily on
government employment to decrease inequality. Government
wages provide 43 percent of non-farm income for Egypt's
rural poor and 60 percent of Jordan's. But since both
governments already employ far more workers than they can
possibly use, advocating increased government employment to
reduce inequality would not be wise policy advice. From a
policy standpoint, it would be better to reduce income
inequality by focusing on non-farm unskilled labor (for
example, in construction, brick-making, and ditch-digging),
an important income source. 4) In Egypt non-farm income
decreases inequality because inadequate access to land
"pushes" poorer households out of agriculture and
into the non-farm sector. Although agricultural income is
positively associated with land ownership in rural Egypt,
that ownership is unevenly distributed in favor of the rich,
so nonfarm income is not linked to land ownership and is
thus more important to the rural poor.

Date of publication
août 2013
Geographical focus

The intensive development of tourism in
the Gulf of Aqaba presents both an opportunity and a dilemma
for Egypt. Intensive tourism, if left unmanaged, can inflict
irreversible damage on coral reef and desert ecosystems and
curtail the area's economic potential. Together with
current projections for a rapid expansion of the tourism
base in the Aqaba coast, degradation from mounting
recreational activities give rise to serious concerns about
the sustainability of tourism development in the region. The
challenge is to plan for economic development within a sound
environmental framework. Implementing the Gulf Of Aqaba
Environmental Action Plan (GAEAP) would protect marine
resources, including coral reefs and fisheries, and conserve
the aesthetic attributes of the Gulf environment and waters
upon which the tourist industry depends. This action plan
comprises activities in nine categories: institutional
strengthening, enforcement of legal and regulatory framework
at the South Sinai Governorate level, management of marine
pollution, flood and earthquake protection, water and
wastewater management, solid waste management, protected
areas management, public awareness and environmental
education, and assures sustainability of environmental
protection in the Gulf of Aqaba. The highest priority
actions are decentralizing the institutions to have a
presence on the ground, and enforcing the legal and
regulatory framework for implementing curative and
preventive environmental measures.

Date of publication
août 2014
Geographical focus

This sector report on Challenges and
Priorities for Rural Development analyzes why Upper Egypt
has lagged behind the rest of the country and to help the
Government of Egypt and stakeholders to define a framework
for interventions to promote broad-based economic growth and
human development that will reach the poor and improve
welfare in rural Upper Egypt. To achieve this objective, the
strategic framework for intervention proposed here has two
dimensions. The first is to foster broad-based economic
growth based on agricultural development and off-farm
activities. The second is to enhance access to basic
infrastructure and services by promoting local level
planning and civil society engagement.

Date of publication
août 2013
Geographical focus

The report proposes key elements for an
agricultural export-oriented strategy in Egypt, that would
build on the achievements of the agricultural strategy
during the 1990s. Substantial improvements in the
country's macroeconomic environment, following policy
reforms - though necessary - have not been sufficient to
improve agricultural export performance. Overall, while
Egyptian agricultural production increased during the 90s,
agricultural exports remained low, and, the fact that both
Egyptian production, and world market trends are
substantially less volatile, is a first indicator of the
potential to increase agricultural exports. The proposed
agricultural export strategy starts with an analysis of the
agricultural export potential in the country, which includes
a review on the overall agricultural export performance; an
analysis of the incentive framework in agriculture,
including estimates of the current nominal, and effective
protection rates of key imports, and exports, and, the
estimated effects of alternative agricultural, and trade
policy reform scenarios, on the returns to farming in
alternative crops. This analysis identifies two agricultural
sub-sectors - cotton and horticultural crops - from which
Egypt, contingent on policy reforms, could benefit from
potentially substantial comparative advantages in trade.
Based on the recognition that export promotion requires a
mix of sector-wide, and sub-sector specific reforms, the
rational focus of the report was to identify the main
impediments of export growth in the cotton, and
horticultural sectors. The report further offers suggestions
to phasing in reforms, so that policies increasing farming
returns in exports, precede those that will decrease
(absolute) returns in competing crops.

Date of publication
juin 2012
Geographical focus

This report on the Poverty Assessment
Update of Egypt is a contribution to the strategy of poverty
alleviation pursued by the Government of Egypt. Using data
from the two household surveys in 2000 and 2005, this report
assesses the nature and dimensions of poverty in Egypt, and
discusses the role of macroeconomic policies and labor
markets in improving living standards. The report updates
the findings of "Poverty Reduction in Egypt: Diagnosis
and Strategy," published by the World Bank in 2002.
Over the last two years Egypt has achieved remarkably high
economic growth. Should this turnaround be sustained, there
is hope that poverty can be dramatically reduced. Even
though the report does not cover this most recent period, it
is important to learn from the lessons of the recent past,
and the report provides new information and insights that
could be useful for policy-makers: 1) It identifies the
overall scope and trends in poverty between 2000 and 2005,
focusing on material aspects, but also assessing progress in
non-income dimensions; 2) It isolates key correlates to
poverty and economic vulnerability, providing detailed
analysis of how inflation affected the poor in this period;
3) It links the labor market's developments with
changes in living standards and poverty; and 4) It provides
the analytical base for mapping poverty in Egypt, which can
improve the targeting of social programs. The first chapter
examines the evolution of living standards in Egypt during
the period of analysis - 2000 to 2005. It also gives the
details of the poverty map and where the poor live. Chapter
2 describes who the poor are and provides the poverty
correlates: looking at the characteristics of the poor and
the relation of these characteristics to education (and
access to education), employment, gender, age, or asset
characteristics. Chapter 3 continues by providing some
background on economic developments between 2000 and 2005
and identifies possible areas of policy interventions in
light of economic and social policies and developments after
2005. Chapter 4 offers in-depth analysis of the labor market
to attempt to discern longer-term trends in living
standards, and links employment with poverty levels.
Finally, Chapter 5 looks at the capacity of the monitoring
system, and lays the foundations for a future analytical program.


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