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Map of Egypt
Introduction Egypt
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
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip
Geographic coordinates:
27 00 N, 30 00 E
Map references:
total: 1,001,450 sq km
land: 995,450 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico
Land boundaries:
total: 2,665 km
border countries: Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,273 km
2,450 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Qattara Depression -133 m
highest point: Mount Catherine 2,629 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc
Land use:
arable land: 2.85%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.68% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
33,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides; hot, driving windstorm called khamsin occurs in spring; dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues:
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:
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:
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
70,712,345 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
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:
1.66% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
24.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.58 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
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:
58.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.05 years
female: 66.24 years (2002 est.)
male: 61.96 years
Total fertility rate:
2.99 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.02% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Egyptian(s)
adjective: Egyptian
Ethnic groups:
Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%
Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%
Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
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:
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:
Administrative divisions:
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
28 February 1922 (from UK)
National holiday:
Revolution Day, 23 July (1952)
11 September 1971
Legal system:
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
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
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:
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:
Supreme Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders:
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:
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:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
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:
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:
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:
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.
purchasing power parity - $258 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 30%
services: 56% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
23% (FY95/96 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 25% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
29 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.3% (2001)
Labor force:
20.6 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 29%, industry 22%, services 49% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
12% (2001 est.)
revenues: $21.5 billion
expenditures: $26.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.9 billion (2001)
textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metals
Industrial production growth rate:
1.8% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
69.592 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 77%
hydro: 23%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
64.721 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats
$7.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals
Exports - partners:
EU 43% (Italy 18%, Germany 4%, UK 3.2%), US 15%, Middle East 11%, Asian countries 9%, (2000)
$164 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood products, fuels
Imports - partners:
EU 36% (Germany 8%, Italy 8%, France 6%), US 18%, Asian countries 13%, , Middle East 6% (2000)
Debt - external:
$29 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $2.25 billion (1999)
Egyptian pound (EGP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
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:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Egypt
Telephones - main lines in use:
3,971,500 (December 1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
380,000 (1999)
Telephone system:
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:
AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 14, shortwave 3 (1999)
20.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
98 (September 1995)
7.7 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
50 (2000)
Internet users:
600,000 (2002)
Transportation Egypt
total: 4,955 km
standard gauge: 4,955 km 1,435-m gauge (42 km electrified; 1,560 km double-track) (2000 est.)
total: 64,000 km
paved: 50,000 km
unpaved: 14,000 km (1996)
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
crude oil 1,171 km; petroleum products 596 km; natural gas 460 km
Ports and harbors:
Alexandria, Al Ghardaqah, Aswan, Asyut, Bur Safajah, Damietta, Marsa Matruh, Port Said, Suez
Merchant marine:
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.)
92 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
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:
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
2 (2002)
Military Egypt
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 19,030,030 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 12,320,902 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 712,983 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$4.04 billion (FY99/00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.1% (FY99/00)
Transnational Issues Egypt
Disputes - international:
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:
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