Egyptian PM’s Statement On Refugee Numbers And Their Cost Sparks Controversy Compared To UNHCR

Manar Eissa

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has ignited controversy by estimating the direct cost of Egypt hosting more than 9 million people, including refugees and residents, due to unstable conditions in their home countries, at more than 10 billion dollars annually.

Madbouly made these remarks on Monday during the activities of the second day of the World Economic Forum hosted by Riyadh, stating, “The Egyptian state bears this cost despite the economic crisis it is facing.”

UNHCR estimates over 600,000 refugees in Egypt

According to estimates from both Egyptian and international government sources, the number of refugees and foreigners residing in Egypt exceeds 9 million, representing approximately 133 countries. However, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that Egypt hosts over 600,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers from 62 different nationalities. 

As of the end of October 2023, individuals of Sudanese nationality comprised the largest group, followed by Syrians, with smaller numbers hailing from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq.

The Prime Minister’s statement has stirred controversy across social media platforms as people compared his estimation on refugee numbers with those already registered by the UNHCR.

This marks the first time an official statement has been issued regarding the direct cost borne by the Egyptian state for refugees, residents, and arrivals to the country, as their numbers have steadily increased amidst the Sudanese crisis, which prompted hundreds of thousands of Sudanese to seek refuge in Egypt, followed by the Gaza War and Egypt’s reception of many wounded Palestinians.


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