The Egypt poverty is still a
sensitive problem. The poverty makes the poor Egyptians to
sell some cheap things on the streets in order to survive,
although there are limitations of the trade.
In Egypt is a kind of street
society, the needing families trying to make some extra
money by selling things on streets. The big informal sector
of Egypt (the employment that is not registered and who
doesn’t pay taxes) includes the street vendors in a percent
of 30% form the national economy.
The Egyptian street sellers`
synonym of the merchandise is the farsha. The farsha may
vary from shoes to food. They don’t afford shops so they
sell on wooden tables on the streets` sides. There are
Egyptians selling their bosses things; one of them is paid
by his boss with about $3.50 (20 EGP) to sell underwear and
socks on the streets.
to earn about 200 EGP to have his farsha. After that he has
to earn enough money for the fines and the bribes which are
included in the expenses of a street seller.
The economics professors from the Cairo University
as well as the specialists in the informal economy
of Egypt estimate the number of the street vendors
at about 300, 000, only in Cairo.
According to the
vendors that have a rich experience, the limitations
of the street vending are severe. If you travel in
the downtown of Cairo, on the Al-Bustan Street you
can met a 72 years old woman who has been selling
things for 15 years, after her husband passed away.
Among the things she sells are the plumbing tapes,
the batteries and the insoles for shoes. The woman
pays 100 EGP for a rented shack, and the pension of
her dead husband is of 65 EGP.
She has no other pension or
healthcare, and she has three sons.
One is unemployed, one is in jail and
one has mentally problems. So, it is very hard for her and
her family to survive.
She tries to face the poverty by
In the last five years the
Egyptian economy registered a growth of 5% per year, but
this growth doesn't bring benefits to the informal workers.
The growth of the
economy doesn`t imply the equal distribution or the equality
among workers. It seems that there are no mechanisms to
transmit the growth to the informal workers. The street
sellers of Egypt have to endure the harassments of the
police and of the security services which repeatedly arrest
It is a permanent game between the street sellers and
the baladiyya – the municipal police. The sellers have to
give bribes to the police to be sure that they will continue
to sell. The normal police come and the sellers have to pay
them; if they don`t do so, the police call the baladiyya.
When the baladiyya comes the sellers have to give 110 EGP
for the fine and have their stuff definitively taken.