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Migration and Development in Egypt—A Holistic View

Migración y desarrollo en Egipto: una visión holística
Migration et développement en Égypte : une vision holistique
Gerasimos Tsourapas


The importance of labour migration as an instrument for states’ development has been a key consideration for a range of countries across the global South. Egypt was one of the first states across North Africa and the Middle East to establish specific policies on the governance of labour migration in the context of social and economic development, which have been effective since the early 1970s. This chapter aims to identify the range of policies introduced by the Egyptian state with the aim of governing migration, and to examine the distinct contributions of cross-border socioeconomic mobility to development. Drawing on a range of primary and secondary sources in Arabic and English, as well as extensive fieldwork in Cairo, the chapter points to the fact that Egyptian public policies aim to attract far more than economic remittances; and demonstrates how Egypt approaches migration in a holistic manner, seeking to maximise the benefits from citizens’ emigration and their time abroad, while also encouraging return skilled migration.

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1. Introduction

1How does cross-border mobility facilitate development for countries of origin across the global South? This question has been a critical component of a number of research agendas across a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines, which have produced a diverse array of frequently contradictory viewpoints on how migration affects different types of development. The question has become even more prescient in the context of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes an ambitious range of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that states are invited to meet. This chapter takes a slightly different perspective on the debate, aiming to ‘unpack’ the phenomenon of migration itself: all too often, researchers’ attention has focused on development, and this has led to the adopting of a rather mono-dimensional approach to the complexity of migration, which, in the context of sending states, has been synonymous with emigration. Yet, the process of emigration contains various stages that have yet to be considered fully by the relevant literature. It is for this reason that this chapter poses the initial research question and addresses how development processes in countries of origin might be affected by the entire trajectory of citizens’ migratory journeys.

2Building on previous work that aimed to nuance existing understandings of state-diaspora relations in the Middle East (Tsourapas, 2020), this chapter deconstructs the phenomenon of migration into three distinct, albeit interconnected, stages: exit, overseas, and return. Exit refers to the phenomenon of emigrating from the sending state; overseas refers to life beyond the territorial boundaries of the home country; and, finally, return refers to migrants’ readmission into the country of origin. This chapter puts forth the argument that each of these stages holds distinct developmental importance. If well-managed, processes of exit will enable the sending state to benefit from lower domestic rates of unemployment and overpopulation, while granting unique opportunities for human development to those emigrating abroad. Once overseas, citizens abroad are able to contribute to the economy of the home country via the dispatch of migrant remittances. Finally, migrants’ return can result in processes of ‘brain gain’ via an infusion of new talents and skills into the sending state’s economy.

3In order to demonstrate the workings of such a holistic view, this chapter examines the single-case study of Egypt over the last fifty years. The Arab Republic of Egypt, as it is officially known, formally liberalised its migration policy in 1971 and has, since then, become a key country of origin for migrant labour across the Middle East. At the same time, Egypt enjoys a central role within Middle East and African politics as well as being, historically, a major power outside the global North. The country’s long engagement with managing cross-border mobility, as well as Egypt’s key position within the Middle East and the broader global South, make it ideal for testing the chapter’s argument in detail: that evaluating the impact of Egyptian exit, overseas, and return allows for a multi-dimensional approach to the interplay between migration and development for countries of origin across the global South.

4The chapter proceeds as follows: a brief overview of the interplay between migration and development—particularly in non-Western contexts—paves the way for the chapter’s main contribution, which takes a more holistic view. This is followed by a brief note on methodology and the strengths of the case-study method as an analytical mode of inquiry, before the chapter begins its main discussion on Egypt: three separate sections detail the developmental importance of the exit, overseas, and return dimensions of citizens’ emigration, paying particular attention to the rationale behind Egyptian state policies. The chapter concludes with a broader note on how this framework could be applied to other sending states—in the Middle East and beyond—and how it nuances existing approaches to the interplay between migration and development in the global South.

2. Understanding Migration and Development – Towards a Holistic View

5A significant body of research examines how states’ migration policymaking, and, in particular, the regulation of emigration, are influenced by domestic developmental necessities (Carling, 2019). A number of distinct phases may be identified: in the decades following the end of World War II, scholars adopted the expectations of modernisation theory, which argued for migration as one of the ways out of poverty (Todaro, 1969). Building on neoclassical approaches to migration, this group of scholars expected cross-border mobility to facilitate the shift of resources between capital-poor/labour-rich countries in Europe and North America and capital-rich/labour-poor ones across the non-West (Rostow, 1960). The hope was that international migration would facilitate ‘win-win’ outcomes that would culminate in wage convergence within a global equilibrium. Once this occurred, it was thought, the incentives to emigrate would decrease.

6Critical theorists challenged this view, highlighting a number of issues that implied a need to problematise political scientists’ linear expectations of development in the non-West. A range of novel frameworks were introduced—world systems theory, dependency theory, globalisation theory—in order to identify the structural factors that impeded international migration. At the same time, scholars highlighted the phenomenon of brain drain; a main factor in cross-border mobility exacerbating, rather than ameliorating, the global rich-poor country divide (Bhagwati, 1976). Critical scholars identified how migration was in fact contributing to uneven trade relations that were widening the gap between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries—with some even going so far as to argue that migration was contributing to the ‘development of underdevelopment’ (Frank, 1966).

7In recent years, there has been a re-evaluation of both positions, with scholars and practitioners broadly recognising the positive effects of migration on states’ development. This has, in particular, been driven by the literature on economic remittances (De Luna-Martinez, 2005), as well as broader debates within the migration-development nexus (Piper, 2009). A range of countries have come to constitute ‘developmental migration states’, characterised by a specific ‘relationship between cross-border mobility and economic growth’ that relies on labour export via emigration (Adamson and Tsourapas, 2020, 860). However, while the emphasis on migrants’ financial transfers is warranted—notable researchers have characterised them as ‘mother’s milk for poor nations’ (Kapur and McHale, 2003)—it nonetheless tends to blur the range of potential contributions that mobility may make to migration states’ developmental goals. In particular, two sets of literature allow for a stronger understanding of under-researched aspects of this phenomenon: work on migration as a ‘safety valve’, and research on return migration.

8In terms of the former, social scientists have long identified how labour emigration affects states’ domestic political economy, particularly in the global South, arguing that it constitutes a safety valve that enables countries to tackle issues such as unemployment or overpopulation by encouraging citizens’ emigration (Castles and Wise, 2008). At the same time, research has identified the importance of return migration as a form of ‘brain gain’ that allows sending states to benefit from the skills, networks, capital, and expertise that returnees acquire while abroad (Cassarino, 2004). Thus, a more careful look at migrants’ trajectories identifies how both the exit and return components of cross-border mobility—separate from their time overseas—may have distinct socio-political and economic importance (Tsourapas, 2020).

9In order to pinpoint the developmental value of this three-stage process of migration, this chapter draws on the single-case study of Egypt (for a detailed discussion of the case, see Tsourapas, 2019). The case-study method is well-suited for theory development purposes (George and Bennett, 2005), particularly given that ‘inferring and testing explanations that define how the independent causes the dependent variable are often easier with case-study than large-n methods’ (Van Evera, 1997, 54). The chapter draws on data collected during fieldwork in Cairo that includes archival research across different depositories as well as extensive, semi-structured interviews with experts and elites conducted during 2013–14 for the purposes of a research project on the politics of Egyptian migration, which became a monograph with Cambridge University Press (Tsourapas, 2019). Drawing on these sources, the chapter aims to accurately provide an ambitious overview of the interplay between migration and development in Egypt. But first, a brief introduction to the Egyptian migration state will provide the necessary contextualisation for the reader.

3. The Egyptian Migration State

10The study of Egypt allows for a wealth of insights into the importance of migration for development for the broader Middle East and North Africa (Fargues, 2013). Egypt is a key state in terms of regional migration processes: with a population of 100 million in 2019, Egypt constitutes the Arab world’s largest country, and over half of its citizens are under the age of 25 (Di Bartolomeo, Fakhoury and Perrin, 2010). As a result of the liberalisation of emigration in the early 1970s, Egyptians have become highly mobile, forming vibrant communities across most Arab states, particularly Libya, Iraq, Jordan and the Gulf Cooperation Council states. The Egyptian diaspora (for precise statistics, see Tables 4.1 and 4.2 below) is also spread across much of the global North and has had a key role in mobilising for political change in the home country, most recently during the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’.

Table 4.1 Egyptian migrants in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 2016


Number of Egyptians

Saudi Arabia




United Arab Emirates






























Source: CAPMAS (2017).

Table 4.2 Egyptian citizens and descendants living outside the MENA region, 2016


Number of Egyptians

United States












United Kingdom


The Netherlands


























Other countries




Source: CAPMAS (2017).

3.1. Egyptians’ Exit and State Development Exigencies

  • 1 Unless otherwise noted, all translations of quoted material are provided by the author.

11The liberalisation of Egypt’s emigration policy took place in 1971 when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat established the country’s new ‘Permanent’ constitution. Article 52 stated that ‘Egyptian citizens shall now have the right to permanent or temporary migration’ (Tsourapas, 2019, xvi). In 1974, President Sadat abolished all existing restrictions—most significantly, doing away with the ‘exit visas’ that President Gamal Abdel Nasser had used to restrict emigration in the 1950s and 1960s. Egypt had already began promoting citizens’ exit via Presidential Decree 73 of 1971, which gave public sector employees who emigrated in pursuit of employment abroad the right to be reinstated in their positions in Egypt if they returned home within a year of their resignation (this later became 2 years). In addition, the Egyptian state would restore any salary increments they had missed. A number of agreements were negotiated with migrant host states (Tsourapas, 2020, 147). The country’s educational curriculum also shifted in order to encourage emigration: Egyptian school curricula taught that ‘people emigrate, just like birds’1 (quoted in Tsourapas 2019, 107), while Egyptian preparatory school students were tasked to write an essay on ‘the joys of a person who could obtain work in an Arab country’ for their school-leaving certificate exam (quoted in Tsourapas, 2019, 107).

12The liberalisation of Egypt’s emigration policy was dictated partly by developmental exigencies: for one, combatting unemployment had become one of the most pressing issues of post-1970 Egypt. ‘Even according to official projections based on inflated estimates by various agencies in the mid-sixties’, Ayubi once argued, ‘the country was, by the early seventies, graduating more than four times the number of engineers it was expected to need until 1980’ (Ayubi, 1983, 434). According to Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, ‘unemployment is a bomb that will explode […] sooner or later if we are not prepared to confront it now’ (quoted in Tsourapas, 2019, 168; see also Table 4.3). ‘Egypt with 20 million people could have been a Mediterranean country, a Greece or Portugal’, Former Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali once drily remarked. ‘Egypt with 70 million people will be Bangladesh’ (Lippman, 1989, 164).

Table 4.3 Youth unemployment in Egypt, 1991–2010


Unemployment Rate

(% Total Labour Force, ages 15-24)











Source: World Bank (2021).

13At the same time, the issue of overpopulation had also become prominent (see Table 4.4). ‘[W]hile the country’s population doubled from 9.7 million to 19 million in 50 years (between 1897 and 1947)’, writes Zohry, ‘the next doubling to 38 million people took less than 30 years (from 1947 to 1976). Since then, the population has almost doubled again, totalling 76 million in 2006’ (Zohry, 2014, 76). This was frequently, and openly, discussed by Egyptian elites: ‘We have a small cultivable area of land’, Sadat once remarked, ‘and a big population that is increasing maybe by the biggest rate in the world’ (quoted in Tsourapas, 2019, 163). Mubarak would openly state his fears that Egypt’s population was growing ‘faster than the speed of sound […]. What will happen when there are 70 million of us, keeping in mind that resources do not increase at the same rate as population? […] What about houses, food, education, medical treatment, and many other needs for [these] millions? Where will we get these things?’ (quoted in Tsourapas, 2019, 163).

Table 4.4 Egyptian population growth, 1975–2010






Mid-Year Population (millions)






Population Growth Rate (annual %)






Fertility Rate (live births per woman)






Life Expectancy at Birth (years)






Infant Mortality Rate






Source: World Bank (2021).

14The encouragement of citizens’ exit has been instrumental in the developmental goals of the Egyptian state since the 1970s (Sadiq and Tsourapas, 2021). ‘The high rates of Egyptian population growth at the time dictated a change in the state’s emigration laws’, former Minister Ali Dessouki argued (personal interview, 2014). Emigration as a ‘safety valve’ became a key component of the Egyptian state’s solution to its domestic political economy issues. Boutros-Ghali argued that the ‘complicated’ problem of overpopulation, in particular, ‘should be tackled through a comprehensive strategy based on family control, the regulation of internal migration, and migration on both the Arab regional and international levels’ (quoted in Tsourapas, 2019, 168). ‘We should not fear surplus in manpower’, Prime Minister Hegazy declared in 1974, given that ‘Arab, African, and even European countries [seek] Egyptian manpower’ (quoted in Tsourapas, 2019, 168). In 1975, Prime Minister Mamduh Salem announced that the promotion of citizens’ exit was an official target for the Egyptian state, as a way to provide a durable solution to a number of issues (Tsourapas, 2019, xvii).

3.2. Egyptians Overseas and State Development Exigencies

15Beyond the developmental importance of citizens’ exit, the Egyptian government placed particular emphasis on how those who had already emigrated might be able to contribute socioeconomically to the betterment of the homeland. For much of the twentieth century, there was a long tradition of highly-skilled Egyptians travelling and pursuing employment abroad (Tsourapas, 2016), but it was after the British occupation ended that the Egyptian government sought to use expatriates as an instrument of development. Under the Nasserite era—1952 to 1970—the state primarily relied on high-skilled Egyptians abroad for political purposes: they would be tasked with promoting discourses of anti-colonialism, anti-Westernism, and anti-Zionism across the Arab world. In sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt engaged in direct competition with Israel over establishing economic links with newly-independent African states; in this, the activities of Egyptian teachers, engineers, and other professionals were instrumental (Siniver and Tsourapas, forthcoming).

16The effort targeting members of the Egyptian community abroad in order to aid in the country’s socioeconomic development occurred in the aftermath of the 1971 liberalisation of emigration. From the early 1970s until the beginning of the 1990s, Egypt considered economic remittances to be a key source of income. Despite a short period in which remittance inflows fell in the aftermath of the Iraq-Kuwait War, they now constitute—once again—a significant share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP, see Table 4.5 and Figure 4.1 below). Given that money transfers are also conducted via unofficial, untraceable channels, the economic importance of migration for Egypt is even higher. In fact, Egyptian policy and media circles have, since the 1970s, often ascribed a great developmental role to those in the diaspora (Müller-Funk, 2017).

Table 4.5 Official remittances by Egyptians working abroad (EGP millions)


Financial Transfers

Declared Imports Financed by Own-Exchange System

Total Remittances





































Source: Tsourapas (2019, 183).

Figure 4.1 Personal remittances received, 1977–2011 (% of Egyptian GDP)

Figure 4.1 Personal remittances received, 1977–2011 (% of Egyptian GDP)

Source: Tsourapas (2019, 173).

17Belief in the developmental importance of Egyptians abroad resulted in a multi-tier policy, in which the sending state actively courted select groups of overseas citizens, particularly those residing in Europe and North America. The 1971 Constitution introduced a formal tiering of Egyptians abroad, characterising those seeking employment regionally (primarily in oil-producing countries) as ‘temporary workers’, while those who emigrated to Western states were considered to be ‘permanent migrants’. This filtered into a broader policy of targeting the latter, who were believed to be much more significant for the development of the home country than those working across the Middle East (for a detailed discussion, see Tsourapas, 2015; Müller-Funk, 2017). The expectation that ‘permanent’ migrants would contribute to the country’s development is further evidenced in the titles of the state-sponsored conferences organised through the Friends of Egypt organisation, held bi-annually from 1974 until 2009 (Table 4.6). These events targeted Egyptians residing in Western countries and, according to organiser and former Minister of Health Dr. Badran, the professed aim was to ‘bring successful Egyptians back to the homeland’ (personal interview, 2014).

Table 4.6 Friends of Egypt conference titles


Conference Title


Organising Modes of Communication with Egyptian Scholars Abroad


Development of the Desert


Development of the Countryside as a Source of Complete Development


Development under the Umbrella of Peace


The Role of Science and Technology in Egyptian Development


Environmental Problems of Development


Economic Development in Egypt


Education in Egypt


Egypt’s Human Resources


Water Resources and Development in Egypt


Energy and Continuous Development in Egypt


Unemployment in Egypt


Development of the Desert in the Third Millennium


Modernizing Egypt


Human Development in the Third Millennium


Information Technology and its Role in Development


Care, Communication and Development

Source: Tsourapas (2015, 2210).

18The state’s attempts to court their citizens abroad was extensive: many would receive formal invitations to fly back to Cairo and Alexandria on all-expenses-paid trips, where they would meet with President Sadat and his wife, as well as select members of the administration. The Egyptian government showed particular interest in various unions of Egyptians abroad—especially students: in 1976, the Egyptian President granted USD 50,000 (or over USD 200,000 today) to the Union of Egyptian students in North America—only a year before, he had offered the presidential airplane to fly back Egyptian students who were unable to find employment abroad (Tsourapas, 2015). These processes continued well into the Mubarak years, while a separate Ministry of State for Emigration Affairs was created in 1981, replaced in 1996 by the Ministry of Manpower and Emigration (Tsourapas, 2020).

3.3. The Developmental Value of Egyptians’ Return

19Finally, a key dimension of Egypt’s migration-development nexus was the attempt to ensure that citizens abroad return to the homeland. In many ways, encouraging migrants’ return to Egypt is linked to the state’s initial encouragement of emigration—given that the initial rationale, at least partly, aimed to allow younger Egyptians to pursue employment and improve their skillsets abroad. For a country that has historically placed a high value on education, the appeal of having highly skilled citizens return to improve conditions in the homeland was particularly strong. Dual citizenship mechanisms were adopted, in order to ensure that Egyptians abroad did not relinquish their ties to the homeland. Housing and employment perks were also not uncommon for Egyptians wishing to return to Egypt. The Egyptian government also introduced an amnesty process that aimed to attract Egyptians that had fled abroad for political—rather than socioeconomic—reasons. This was the rationale behind the agreement signed between the Egyptian state and the United Nations Development Programme, which invited Egyptian scientists working abroad to return to Egypt for an average period of one month, financed by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, in order to transfer expertise and build contacts with local Egyptian staff.

20It is worth noting that the Egyptian state invested its energy in the return of permanent migrants, rather than temporary workers, whom it believed would be returning home anyway (Tsourapas, 2015). As I have argued elsewhere, the Egyptian regime ‘embraced’ the country’s ‘permanent’ migrants for distinct political economy and foreign policy reasons (Tsourapas, 2015). In terms of political economy, the regime expected certain benefits from these migrants—in much the same way that its overall rapprochement with the United States was also expected to produce economic results. For one, these migrants were traditionally perceived across Egyptian policy circles as the core of the state’s brain drain issue (Ayubi, 1983). Statistical data on Egyptian migrants’ levels of education in each host state is unavailable, but the dominant belief within Egyptian policymaking remains that permanent migration to more developed countries mainly attracted educated workers. While high-skilled Egyptians did emigrate across the region, particularly after 1990, the literature concurs that brain drain occurred mainly toward the West and particularly toward the United States and Canada. This, again, is linked to the ‘temporary/permanent’ divide (Zohry and Harrell-Bond, 2003, 47–48). As Ayubi explained:

[I]t is possible to argue that temporary emigration does not represent a kind of brain drain in the proper sense: first, because it is by definition temporary; second, because its output is still made use of within the same region; and third, because such people disburse a significant proportion of their incomes back to their home country […]. In addition, although temporary migrants feature a reasonably high percentage of personnel who were employed in Egypt in scientific, professional and technical occupations [around 38 per cent], this percentage is not as high as it is with permanent migrants, and its internal composition is also quite different.XAyubi, 1983, 438

  • 2 An evaluation of whether Egyptian diaspora policies positively contributed to the return of Egyptia (...)

21Few ‘permanent’ migrants returned, according to most estimates and secondary accounts.2 ‘Many [permanent emigrants] realised that a return would mean a lowering of [living] standards and much overtime to keep income levels up. There was apprehension that contact might be lost with developments in their academic fields abroad’ (McDermott, 1988, 241). Overall, the hopes for significant flows of permanent migrants’ economic investments into the country have been obstructed by government bureaucracy and suspicion from many Egyptians abroad (Zohry and Debnath, 2010). A survey study by Saleh on the country’s brain drain problem in the 1970s identified similar sentiments among Egyptians abroad:

I came back with hopes that with the degree and experience I got, I could help Egypt, but I was shocked. My efforts in England didn’t help Egypt […]. There is a shortage of [professorial positions] that I could fill, but I am not taken […]. Even my salary, that they cut for two years in England, was not given back to me. I am treated as a ‘colored’ where I work (army), for I have a doctor’s degree […]. I feel that colleagues have envy and hatred for me and my degree.

Saleh, 1979, 55

22Another returnee recalled:

I was shocked by many things in Egypt as soon as I arrived. I stayed in a state of unbalance for a long time […]. During that time, I met the worst difficulties that a returning scientist meets […] at the customs, bribery of government employees and all that […] just to get my car out […]. Difficulties came one after the other […]. At present I am trying to acclimatise to life in the framework of the actual reality around me.

Saleh, 1979, 64

23Ultimately, it is widely acknowledged that this extensive return policy did not yield the expected results, – which is not surprising: firstly, despite a different perception across Egyptian policymaking circles, it has historically been regional emigrants that have procured the vast majority of economic remittances, rather than Egyptians living in Western countries. At the same time, and perhaps more importantly, a large percentage of Egyptians living in the United States and Canada—a population that includes many Copts—were rumoured to have abandoned Egypt for political, rather than purely economic, reasons (Tadros, 2013).

4. Conclusion

24This chapter has presented an overview of the interplay between migration and development in a key state of the global South—Egypt. Egypt boasts one of the largest emigrant populations in the world, estimated at 6.5 million in 2012, not including emigrants’ descendants. It constitutes the main provider of migrant labour within the Middle East, and the Egyptian diaspora is one of the largest internationally. This chapter has aimed to nuance existing understandings of the migration-development nexus by unpacking the process of migration into exit, overseas, and return components that highlight citizens’ emigration, time abroad, and return to the home country, respectively. In so doing, the chapter highlights the keen interest that Egyptian policymakers demonstrated toward capturing the full developmental potential of cross-border mobility in the post-1971 era.

25An attempt at a more holistic approach to the developmental value of migration for global South states would shed valuable light on a range of countries: for instance, Turkey, Libya, Jordan and Syria have also established similar processes (to a lesser or greater extent) in an effort to benefit from their citizens’ cross border mobility (Tsourapas, 2020). But going beyond the Middle East, it is evident that states across the global South view the process of migration as complex and multi-tiered, consequently developing separate sets of policy instruments to benefit as much as possible from migration flows. Such policies frequently become interlinked with foreign policy priorities within states’ migration diplomacy aims (Adamson and Tsourapas, 2019). India, for instance, places particular importance on processes of citizens’ exit, and has developed a range of domestic and foreign policy processes aiming to maximise emigration (Kapur, 2010). At the same time, most global South states have developed intricate diaspora policies that seek to profit from their diverse communities abroad (Gamlen, 2008). Finally, Mexico and others have implemented concrete return migration policies seeking to benefit from ‘brain gain’, given the large communities of migrant workers they have abroad (Cassarino, 2004).

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Overall, this chapter aims to make a contribution to the growing field of research on the developmental importance of migration by pointing out the diverse ways through which state elites aim to ‘capture’ the benefits of citizens’ cross-border mobility. The existing research tends to highlight specific aspects of migrants’ trajectories, and this does not fully capture the range of policies implemented by global South ‘emigration states’. A closer look at migrants’ trajectories paves the way for a more careful analysis of how states can achieve the SDGs and how they may be able to rely on rising rates of global interconnectedness and mobility as they work toward a more economically sustainable future.XAdamson, F.B. and G. Tsourapas (2020) ‘The Migration State in the Global South: Nationalizing, Developmental, and Neoliberal Models of Migration Management’, International Migration Review, 54(3), pp. 853–882, DOI: 10.1177/0197918319879057

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1 Unless otherwise noted, all translations of quoted material are provided by the author.

2 An evaluation of whether Egyptian diaspora policies positively contributed to the return of Egyptians (and shifted their attitudes towards their home country) would not be possible within this study’s methodological framework and due to the unavailability of statistical data. That said, I encountered very few elites or experts willing to argue that Egyptian policy was a success in this aspect. The wider literature corroborates this.

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List of illustrations

Title Figure 4.1 Personal remittances received, 1977–2011 (% of Egyptian GDP)
Credits Source: Tsourapas (2019, 173).
File image/png, 73k
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Cite this article

Electronic reference

Gerasimos Tsourapas, Migration and Development in Egypt—A Holistic ViewInternational Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 14 | 2022, Online since 25 April 2022, connection on 18 July 2024. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Gerasimos Tsourapas

Gerasimos Tsourapas is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Glasgow. He works on the international relations of the Middle East and the broader global South, with a particular focus on the politics of migrants, refugees and diasporas. He is the author of The Politics of Migration in Modern Egypt: Strategies for Regime Survival in Autocracies (2018, Cambridge University Press), which received the 2020 ENMISA Distinguished Book Award from the International Studies Association, and Migration Diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa – Power, Mobility, and the State (2021, Manchester University Press). His work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, the European Journal of International Relations, International Migration Review, International Political Science Review, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and other leading journals.

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY-NC 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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