International labor organization: Unemployment up more than 2%

Strikes and riots after the 25 January revolution caused unemployment in Egypt to rise about 2 percent, a director at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, said Tuesday.

Unemployment rose to 12 percent from 9.8 percent at the same time last year, said Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, director of the International Labour Standards Department at the organization.

At an ILO seminar held in Cairo on Tuesday, Doumbia-Henry demanded that the Egyptian government set standards to lower unemployment rates to somewhere in the range of 6 to 6.5 percent during the next few years by increasing government investment – currently estimated at 16 percent of Egypt's total gross domestic product (GDP) – to 23 percent, and to lure more foreign investment.

The Egyptian government should also allocate funds from the state budget to improve the Labor Ministry and its research center so it can collect necessary information about the labor market, which could be used to assist different government authorities, Doumbia-Henry said.

Egypt continues to face many challenges, and the ILO is calling for Egypt to fulfill the revolution's demand for social justice, which includes the fair distribution of wealth, a social safety net, equal work opportunities, and jobs to lure expatriates back to Egypt to make use of their experiences, she said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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