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HDI ranking: 112/187
HDI score: 0.662
Egypt has no local government, but instead has local administrations with members appointed by the central government. Egyptians approved a new constitution in early 2014, which gives local administrations more financial independence and allows for more women’s participation, but the governance system itself remains highly centralized.
Local governance at a glance
- Egypt does not have elected regional or local governments and instead has local administrations. Appointed executive municipalities run local administrations under the direction of the national government. Local Popular Council members are the only elected officials in local administration and their role is mostly consultative (Tadamun, 2013).
- The local administration system is divided into seven economic regions, which are subdivided into local administration units. Local administration units have legal personality and include governorates, cities, centers, districts and villages (SIS Egypt, 2014).
- The country has 27 governorates, which are led by governors appointed by the president. Central government ministries have directorates in each governorate as well and “retain a technical relationship to their respective line ministries” (Boex, 2011).
- The General Secretariat for Local Administration coordinates between governorates to “enhance cooperation between the governorates and the different ministries to guarantee better fulfillment of localities’ duties.” The Supreme Council for Local Administration oversees the performance of local councils. The Supreme Council is headed by the prime minister and includes the minister of local administration, governors, and heads of local councils (SIS Egypt, 2014).
- Each local unit can elect a local council by “direct and secret ballot” to four-year terms (SIS Egypt, 2014).
- According to the 2014 Constitution, one quarter of seats in local councils are allocated for women (SIS Egypt, 2014).
Civil society actors include
- Tadamun builds alliances with stakeholders to find solutions to urban problems, encourage citizens to demand urban rights, and promote urban policies that are “effective, equitable, participatory, and sustainable.”
- The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement aims to increase community participation and bring forward democratic development by implementing programs on democracy development, human rights education, and gender equality.
- The Egyptian Democratic Academy is a youth organization working to promote democracy, human rights, political participation, freedom of speech and belief as well as political and religious tolerance.
- According to the 2014 Constitution, local units should have independent financial budgets. The central government allocates resources to local units, but local units can collect local taxes and duties (SIS Egypt, 2014).
Key initiatives for participatory local governance
- The 2014 Constitution provides for the representation of more women and more youth in local council seats; it also gives more financial independence to local units (Tadamun, 2013).
Challenges for participatory local governance
- The central government still retains the power to appoint governors and heads of local administrative units, and holds the power to define their mandates. This means local authorities are accountable to the central government and not to the people (Tadamun, 2013).
- Corruption and a lack of technical capacity prevents elected local council representatives from effectively participating in local administration (Tadamun, 2013).
- Political parties dominate and limit independent representatives and “opens the opportunity for political alliances and agendas to supersede the public interest” (Tadamun, 2013).
Recent posts on this website about this country:
- State of Local Democracy (SoLD) in the Arab World (2013)
- The sustainability of community participation activities in pre-university education : case study on developing the board of trustees (2013)
- Survey results : advanced seminar – decentralisation and local governance : session 1.2 (2012)
- Democratization in Egypt : the potential role of decentralization (2011)
- Success and failure of local e-government projects : lessons learned from Egypt (2011)
- Participation for what : social change or social control? (2010)
- Sustainable development as a community-of-practice : insights from rural water projects in Egypt (2010)
List of sources (in order of citation)
Tadamun, 2013. “The Right to Democratic Local Government in the Egyptian Constitution.”
State Information Service of Egypt (SIS Egypt), 2014. “Local Administration.”
Boex, Jamie, 2011. The Urban Institute. “Democratization in Egypt: The Potential Role of Decentralization.”