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In Egypt, Ranks of Young and Hopeless Are Swelling

  • Hamada Elrasam
Youth unemployment in Egypt now stands at over 40 percent. The government is already bloated with unproductive civil servants; and, in the country's stagnant economy, the private sector is incapable of absorbing the scores of new workers who join the labor market each year.

It's the young and educated who fare the worst: In Egypt’s broken system, university graduates are more likely to be jobless than the country’s near-illiterate.

VOA's Hamada Elrasam spoke with young Cairenes about their lives and prospects for the future.
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Left: “The main problem we have in Egypt from my point of view is education," Mohamed Al-Sehaity, 29 tells VOA. "What you will learn, you will never find in real life. In real life almost you will never find a profession that matches your educational background. You will end up doing anything just to get money.” Right: Primary school students in Cairo struggle to keep concentration with distractions all around.
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Left: “The main problem we have in Egypt from my point of view is education," Mohamed Al-Sehaity, 29 tells VOA. "What you will learn, you will never find in real life. In real life almost you will never find a profession that matches your educational background. You will end up doing anything just to get money.”
Right: Primary school students in Cairo struggle to keep concentration with distractions all around.

Left: "In few month I’m going to join the military. I’m working as a lifter so I can make enough money before attending my service because the salary will not be enough," Ahmed Mahmoud, 18, told VOA. Right: Soldiers at a military check point in Giza, Egypt.
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Left: "In few month I’m going to join the military. I’m working as a lifter so I can make enough money before attending my service because the salary will not be enough," Ahmed Mahmoud, 18, told VOA. Right: Soldiers at a military check point in Giza, Egypt.

Left: "I’m an engineer. These days I’m attending my three years obligatory military service as an officer," Mohamed Hisham told VOA. "My profession in the military is not my profession in my civilian life. I almost forgot what I have learned in the five years at the engineering faculty.   Right: The corps of engineers on a mission fixing a damaged irrigating dam in the southern village of Giza El-Saf, Egypt.
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Left: "I’m an engineer. These days I’m attending my three years obligatory military service as an officer," Mohamed Hisham told VOA. "My profession in the military is not my profession in my civilian life. I almost forgot what I have learned in the five years at the engineering faculty.  
Right: The corps of engineers on a mission fixing a damaged irrigating dam in the southern village of Giza El-Saf, Egypt.

Left: "I have been planning to get married for more than five years," confided Hossam from Minya, 29. "Since I finished my obligatory military service duty. I haven’t had a stable job or my own business. I tried to get a loan and a permit to open a kiosk that I can run by myself, but those who have families already got the priority. Right: Egyptian men apply for loans supported by the Egyptian government to open new small projects from the headquarter of the ministry of social affairs and insurance in Cairo.
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Left: "I have been planning to get married for more than five years," confided Hossam from Minya, 29. "Since I finished my obligatory military service duty. I haven’t had a stable job or my own business. I tried to get a loan and a permit to open a kiosk that I can run by myself, but those who have families already got the priority.
Right: Egyptian men apply for loans supported by the Egyptian government to open new small projects from the headquarter of the ministry of social affairs and insurance in Cairo.

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