The project on “Promoting Competitiveness in Micro and Small Enterprises” (MSE) was initiated in 2000 by the Economic Research Forum, with the main objective has been to expand the knowledge on this sector in the Middle East and North Africa region, with the ultimate aim of designing relevant policies and specific programs to help this sector fulfill its enormous growth potentials. Constituting an average of 95% of the number of enterprises in the region, it is presumed that promoting this sector will have a positive spill-over effect on the economies of the region.
Discussions on the results of the project have pointed to an emerging consensus that it will be filling a knowledge gap related to the micro and small enterprises sector in the MENA region. Policies and strategies designed to promote this sector have not been adequately targeting their needs, and thus this project is considered to be of great relevance to the policy making process.
Specifically, the main contributions may be summarized as follows:
1) The database gathered through the project based on field surveys is considered unique, as to the number of enterprises covered (18,000), and the information produced, including information on the enterprise, the entrepreneur and the household. A special focus on women entrepreneurs have been made throughout the survey. This mine of data will undoubtedly provide background information that enables policy makers to design relevant policies.
2) The “Policy Briefs” gives a concise summary of the outcome of each country study and highlights the recommendations reached based on the analysis.
3) The current Country reports series is prepared based on the findings of the surveys, detailed information about the performance of the enterprises, determinants of success and prospects for the future are given. Special focus on the status of women entrepreneurs is also made.
4) The Synthesis report will have a comparative analytical approach of the case studies of the four countries. This report will asses the MSE sector in the four countries and will draw relevant policy recommendations for the region.
It has been evidently shown that promoting this sector could contribute to the solution of the increasing unemployment problem in the region, and a means to alleviate poverty through income
generation. The spillover effects that this sector if properly developed will positively affect the development of the countries concerned. However, the real level of knowledge about the MSEs is
The Small and Micro Enterprises Survey (MSEs) - Egypt 2003 is a sample survey designed to provide estimates for key indicators related to the activities, manpower structure and financial characteristics of MSEs.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Small and Micro Enterprises
Covering a sample of 3 major administrative regions (Metropolitan areas, Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt).
The survey covered a national sample of Micro and Small Enterprises.
Producers and sponsors
Economic Research Forum
European Commission (through the FEMISE 2 project)
Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
International Development Research Centre
United States Agency for International Development
Alia El Mahdi
Cairo University, Egypt
Project’s Advisory Committee
Michigan University, USA
Project’s Advisory Committee
Project’s Advisory Committee
1. Sample Design
The primary objective of the sample design of MSES was to provide estimates on the national level and for 3 major administrative regions (Metropolitan areas, Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt). Eight governorates were selected from the 3 regions. The selection was based on an attempt to represent governorates with different economic characteristics.
The sample for the MSES is a multi-stage probability sample. In the first stage, primary sampling units (PSU) were randomly selected from each governorate. The PSU's are shiakha/towns in urban areas and villages in rural areas. Information from the 1996 census was used in constructing the frame from which the primary sampling units (PSUs) were selected. A total of 120 PSUs were randomly selected from the chosen governorates; 84 in urban areas and 36 in rural areas.
The second stage was based on the results of the listing of enterprises within PSU's. Enterprises were classified into 3 categories in terms of MSEs density. Density was designated according to the mean number of MSEs per building and PSUs were divided into 3 equal groups; the lowest third (Low), the medium third (Medium) and the highest third (High). A stratified random sample of enterprises
was selected from the list of enterprises within each PSU.
In the third stage, a stratified random sample was selected from each density category within the PSU. The two strata include male and female owner/manager. with female owners / managers were over sampled (double-weighted) in order to maintain a sufficient number of female respondents.
To implement the third stage, a listing of all MSEs in the chosen PSUs were compiled.
Fifteen listers were chosen and trained. The listing operation consisted of the following activities:
1- Listing all the MSEs in each PSU block by block.
2- Recording (on a form prepared for this purpose) for each SME, name of SME, name of owner or manager, sex of owner or manager, number of workers, activity, sector, address and telephone #.
3- Drawing a rough map for the PSU and record some important information and/or landmarks to help reaching the PSU in the Data Collection Stage.
Around 26,000 MSEs were Listed in the 120 PSUs. Nearly 3000 were excluded of not being a private enterprise (not eligible for data collection). The Listing Phase took 3 weeks (during March 2003). An ACCESS data base was developed and all the information of the listing was entered in this data base using 10 data entry clerks.
The sample size was predetermined by 5000 private MSEs to provide statistical reliable estimates for the indicators at the region level. The sample size was inflated to 5400 to compensate for a possible 8% of non-response.
The number of completed interviews reached 4962 with 92 percent response rate.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Field Staff was divided into 6 teams; each team has a supervisor and 6-7 interviewers. The fieldwork for the MSES began on April 1st, 2003 and was completed on May 15th, 2003. In addition to leading the team, supervisors were responsible for field editing of the questionnaires. To assure quality 2 general supervisors were responsible for checking the collected data by re-interviewing a randomly selected sample from each interviewer's work.
Office editors reviewed questionnaires for internal consistency and completeness. Coding was conducted in the office prior to data entry. Office editors were instructed to report any problems detected while editing the questionnaires, which were reviewed by one senior staff. One senior staff, one assistant and 10 office editors were recruited for these purposes.
Data Processing Activities
Data were entered on PCs using the Integrated System for Survey Analysis (ISSA), a software package developed for large scale multi-level surveys. Around 10 data entry personnel were recruited and trained to process the MSES data. During data entry, 50 percent of the questionnaires were re-entered for verification. Data processing was completed by the last week of May 2003.
Quality Control Measures
Quality of data was assured using several measures such as:
1.Selecting and training qualified field staff,
2.field editing (by supervisors),
3.field checking (by general supervisors),
4.office editing, and .
5.re-entry of 50 percent of questionnaires.
Economic Research Forum
Economic Research Forum (ERF) - 21 Al-Sad Al-Aaly St., Dokki, Giza, Egypt
To access the micro data, researchers are required to register on the ERF website and comply with the data access agreement.
The data will be used only for scholarly, research, or educational purposes. Users are prohibited from using data acquired from the Economic Research Forum in the pursuit of any commercial or private ventures.
Licensed datasets, accessible under conditions.
The users should cite the Economic Research Forum as follows:
OAMDI, 2013. Micro and Small Enterprises Survey (MSEs), http://www.erf.org.eg/cms.php?id=erfdataportal. Version 1.0 of Licensed Data Files; Egypt MSEs 2003. Egypt: Economic Research Forum (ERF).
Disclaimer and copyrights
The Economic Research Forum has granted the researcher access to relevant data following exhaustive efforts to protect the confidentiality of individual data. The researcher is solely responsible for any analysis or conclusions drawn from available data.