Governance of rural development in Egypt
Egypt is facing great challenges regarding its economy in general, and rural development (RD) – including agriculture – in particular, such as: the extreme poverty among small-scale farmers; lack of coordination and integration between various stakeholders; complicated local administration system and centralization; and reduced governmental investments. Therefore the current study aimed at identifying rural development policies in Egypt, recognizing the stakeholders both in public and civil society involved in designing, implementing and evaluating RD, and analyzing the relationships and linkages between these actors. Various analytical tools were used to provide a comprehensive overview of RD in Egypt, including quantitative and qualitative methods. A questionnaire survey dealing with coordination of RD policy in Egypt was performed in May–September 2013 with 50 representatives of key public, civil and international organizations. SWOT analysis was used to verify the gaps in the current RD strategy approach. The review of literature and survey revealed no explicit RD strategy, only agricultural and socioeconomic strategies. Additionally, a significant gap was found between plans and their implementation, besides problems in planning, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and implementation in ‘‘what is considered RD’’. Most of the studied organizations lack coordination, financial resources, and community participation. Moreover there is a big confusion when defining RD. About 48% of stakeholder organizations mentioned that most of the RD programs and projects only partially reflect people’s needs indicating that these programs are centrally planned and implemented without any participation. In light of these results, the study recommends that RD strategy in Egypt needs to be structured and based upon coordination and integration between various sectors and stakeholders either national or international to avoid duplication and to better fulfill RD goals and objectives that will eventually lead to ‘‘true’’ socio-economic development, food security and poverty alleviation.
Rural development; Governance; Coordination; Egypt