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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Egypt

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Egypt
Definition Field Listing
The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled with semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed for the the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C. and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia. The last native dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It was the Arabs who introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and who ruled for the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest by Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegience to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty following World War II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored place of the Nile river in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to ready the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.
   Geography    Egypt
Definition Field Listing
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
27 00 N, 30 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,001,450 sq km
land: 995,450 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,665 km
border countries: Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,273 km
Definition Field Listing
2,450 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Definition Field Listing
desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Definition Field Listing
vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Qattara Depression -133 m
highest point: Mount Catherine 2,629 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 2.85%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.68% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
33,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides; hot, driving windstorm called khamsin occurs in spring; dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, shortest sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics; dependence on upstream neighbors; dominance of Nile basin issues; prone to influxes of refugees
   People    Egypt
Definition Field Listing
70,712,345 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 33.96% (male 12,292,185; female 11,721,469)
15-64 years: 62.18% (male 22,190,637; female 21,775,504)
65 years and over: 3.86% (male 1,191,091; female 1,541,459) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.66% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
24.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
7.58 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
58.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 64.05 years
female: 66.24 years (2002 est.)
male: 61.96 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.99 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.02% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
noun: Egyptian(s)
adjective: Egyptian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%
Definition Field Listing
Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 51.4%
male: 63.6%
female: 38.8% (1995 est.)
   Government    Egypt
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt
conventional short form: Egypt
local short form: Misr
former: United Arab Republic (with Syria)
local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
26 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Al Buhayrah, Al Fayyum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah, Al Isma'iliyah, Al Jizah, Al Minufiyah, Al Minya, Al Qahirah, Al Qalyubiyah, Al Wadi al Jadid, Ash Sharqiyah, As Suways, Aswan, Asyut, Bani Suwayf, Bur Sa'id, Dumyat, Janub Sina', Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh, Qina, Shamal Sina', Suhaj
Definition Field Listing
28 February 1922 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Revolution Day, 23 July (1952)
Definition Field Listing
11 September 1971
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic codes; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative decisions); accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK (since 14 October 1981)
head of government: Prime Minister Atef Mohammed ABEID (since 5 October 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president nominated by the People's Assembly for a six-year term, the nomination must then be validated by a national, popular referendum; national referendum last held 26 September 1999 (next to be held NA October 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: national referendum validated President MUBARAK's nomination by the People's Assembly to a fourth term
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral system consists of the People's Assembly or Majlis al-Sha'b (454 seats; 444 elected by popular vote, 10 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms) and the Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura - which functions only in a consultative role (264 seats; 176 elected by popular vote, 88 appointed by the president; members serve NA-year terms)
elections: People's Assembly - three-phase voting - last held 19 October, 29 October, 8 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2005); Advisory Council - last held 7 June 1995 (next to be held NA)
election results: People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NDP 88%, independents 8%, opposition 4%; seats by party - NDP 398, NWP 7, Tagammu 6, Nasserists 2, LSP 1, independents 38, undecided 2; Advisory Council - percent of vote by party - NDP 99%, independents 1%; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Nasserist Arab Democratic Party or Nasserists [Dia' al-din DAWUD]; National Democratic Party or NDP [President Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK] - governing party; National Progressive Unionist Grouping or Tagammu [Khalid MUHI AL-DIN]; New Wafd Party or NWP [No'man GOMA]; Socialist Liberal Party or LSP [leader NA]
note: formation of political parties must be approved by the government
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
despite a constitutional ban against religious-based parties, the technically illegal Muslim Brotherhood constitutes MUBARAK's potentially most significant political opposition; MUBARAK tolerated limited political activity by the Brotherhood for his first two terms, but moved more aggressively since then to block its influence; civic society groups are sanctioned, but constrained in practical terms; trade unions and professional associations are officially sanctioned
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador M. Nabil FAHMY
chancery: 3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 244-4319
telephone: [1] (202) 895-5440
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador C. David WELCH
embassy: 5 Latin America St., Garden City, Cairo
mailing address: Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900
telephone: [20] (2) 797-3300
FAX: [20] (2) 797-3200
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with the national emblem (a shield superimposed on a golden eagle facing the hoist side above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band; also similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars, and to the flag of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band
   Economy    Egypt
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Egypt improved its macroeconomic performance throughout most of the last decade by following IMF advice on fiscal, monetary, and structural reform policies. As a result, Cairo managed to tame inflation, slash budget deficits, and attract more foreign investment. In the past three years, however, the pace of reform has slackened, and excessive spending on national infrastructure projects has widened budget deficits again. Lower foreign exchange earnings since 1998 resulted in pressure on the Egyptian pound and periodic dollar shortages. Monetary pressures have increased since 11 September 2001 because of declines in tourism, Suez canal tolls, and exports, and Cairo has devalued the pound several times in the past year. The development of a gas export market is a major bright spot for future growth prospects.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $258 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 14%
industry: 30%
services: 56% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
23% (FY95/96 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 25% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
29 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
2.3% (2001)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
20.6 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 29%, industry 22%, services 49% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
12% (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $21.5 billion
expenditures: $26.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.9 billion (2001)
Definition Field Listing
textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metals
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.8% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
69.592 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 77%
hydro: 23%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
64.721 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats
Definition Field Listing
$7.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
EU 43% (Italy 18%, Germany 4%, UK 3.2%), US 15%, Middle East 11%, Asian countries 9%, (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$164 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood products, fuels
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
EU 36% (Germany 8%, Italy 8%, France 6%), US 18%, Asian countries 13%, , Middle East 6% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$29 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
ODA, $2.25 billion (1999)
Definition Field Listing
Egyptian pound (EGP)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Egyptian pounds per US dollar - market rate - 4.5000 (January 2002), 4.4900 (2001), 3.6900 (2000), 3.4050 (1999), 3.3880 (1998), 3.3880 (1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Egypt
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
3,971,500 (December 1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
380,000 (1999)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: large system; underwent extensive upgrading during 1990s and is reasonably modern; Internet access and cellular service are available
domestic: principal centers at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta are connected by coaxial cable and microwave radio relay
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat; 5 coaxial submarine cables; tropospheric scatter to Sudan; microwave radio relay to Israel; a participant in Medarabtel and a signatory to Project Oxygen (a global submarine fiber-optic cable system)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 14, shortwave 3 (1999)
Definition Field Listing
20.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
98 (September 1995)
Definition Field Listing
7.7 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
50 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
600,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Egypt
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,955 km
standard gauge: 4,955 km 1,435-m gauge (42 km electrified; 1,560 km double-track) (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing
total: 64,000 km
paved: 50,000 km
unpaved: 14,000 km (1996)
Definition Field Listing
3,500 km
note: including the Nile, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in the delta; Suez Canal (193.5 km including approaches), used by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 16.1 m of water
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 1,171 km; petroleum products 596 km; natural gas 460 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Alexandria, Al Ghardaqah, Aswan, Asyut, Bur Safajah, Damietta, Marsa Matruh, Port Said, Suez
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 175 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,331,186 GRT/1,987,964 DWT
ships by type: bulk 23, cargo 58, container 2, liquefied gas 1, passenger 61, petroleum tanker 14, roll on/roll off 13, short-sea passenger 3
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience:, Denmark 1, Germany 1, Greece 6, Lebanon 3, Monaco 1, Ukraine 1 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
92 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 71
over 3,047 m: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 38
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
under 914 m: 9 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 6
Definition Field Listing
2 (2002)
   Military    Egypt
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 19,030,030 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 12,320,902 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 712,983 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$4.04 billion (FY99/00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
4.1% (FY99/00)
   Transnational Issues    Egypt
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Egypt and Sudan each claim to administer triangular areas which extend north and south of the 1899 Treaty boundary along the 22nd Parallel (in the north, the "Hala'ib Triangle", is the largest with 20,580 sq km); in 2001, the two states agreed to discuss an "area of integration" and withdraw military forces in the overlapping areas
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transit point for Southwest Asian and Southeast Asian heroin and opium moving to Europe, Africa, and the US; transit stop for Nigerian couriers; concern as money-laundering site due to lax banking regulations

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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