As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Egypt’s economy, like other economies around the world, is currently grappling with the challenges caused by the conflict.
Although the Egyptian economy relies on a variety of internal resources such as tourism, natural gas, and agriculture, it is still heavily dependent on imports. As a result, Egyptians are now questioning whether the country’s self-sufficiency, and its resources, are enough to shield it from an escalating global crisis.
According to Trading Economics, a website providing accurate economic indicators based on official sources, Egypt’s imports reached a total of USD 7739 million (EGP 143 billion) in March 2022, with China, the USA, and Saudi Arabia being among its major import sources.
On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al Sisi inaugurated ‘Future Project for Agricultural Production’, spanning across 1.5 million feddans at Cairo-Dabaa road. As Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, this national project aims to bridge the gap between production and import, maximize agricultural production, and ultimately achieve food security and self-sufficiency in strategic commodities.
Here is a list of Egypt’s top imports, from most to least, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.
Mineral fuels, oils, and chemical products
Approximately 25 percent of Egypt’s total imports are mineral and chemical products, mainly from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the USA, and Belgium. These include petroleum oils, petroleum gas, bitumen, solid fuels manufactured from coal, and gaseous hydrocarbons.
Their imported value stands at over USD 10 million (EGP 184 million).
Machinery and mechanical appliances
From automatic data-processing machines and mechanical appliances, to taps, boiler shells, refrigerators, and air conditioners, Egypt imports most of its machinery and electrical apparatuses from China, Italy, Germany, and Turkey.
These imports total to nearly USD 6 million (EGP 110 million).
Apart from railway and tramway rolling stock, Egypt imports motor vehicles such as tractors, bicycles, motorcycles, baby carriages, and tanks, in addition to spare parts and accessories mainly from Germany, China, the Czech Republic, and Turkey.
The imported value stands at over USD 4 million (EGP 74 million).
Agricultural products and livestock
Wheat, maize, rye, oats, rice, and barley, are all products that Egypt imports from Ukraine, Russia, Argentina, and Brazil, amounting to nearly USD 5 million (EGP 92 million).
Despite disruptions due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Egypt saw a rise in wheat imports from Russia in March 2022. In April, the Egyptian cabinet stated that EGP 1.1 billion has been allocated to the General Authority for Supply Commodities and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt to combat the local wheat shortage. In addition, Egypt later announced India as a new wheat supplier, as part of its plan to diversify sources of importing wheat as a strategic commodity.
Imported from China, Vietnam, India and Germany, electronic equipment make for the most obvious imports to the Middle East’s most populous country, with barely any local variants popping up on the mass market.
Telephone sets, electrical transformers, static converters, monitors, projectors, sound recorders, as well as other electrical machinery and equipment make for the sheer brunt of this category.
The import’s value totals for over USD 1.5 million (EGP 28 million).