Africa :: Egypt
page last updated on August 3, 2010
Flag of Egypt
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 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 of 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 allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty with the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy in 1952. 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 meet the demands of Egypt's growing population 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, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula
Geographic coordinates:
27 00 N, 30 00 E
Map references:
total: 1,001,450 sq km
country comparison to the world: 30
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:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Current Weather
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: 2.92%
permanent crops: 0.5%
other: 96.58% (2005)
Irrigated land:
34,220 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
86.8 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 68.3 cu km/yr (8%/6%/86%)
per capita: 923 cu m/yr (2000)
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; 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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, a 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
80,471,869 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Age structure:
0-14 years: 32.8% (male 13,495,577/female 12,890,378)
15-64 years: 62.8% (male 25,689,588/female 24,871,255)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 1,602,219/female 1,922,852) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 24 years
male: 23.8 years
female: 24.3 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.997% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
Birth rate:
25.02 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
Death rate:
4.85 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
Net migration rate:
-0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
urban population: 43% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 26.2 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 82
male: 27.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.4 years
country comparison to the world: 123
male: 69.82 years
female: 75.1 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.01 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
9,200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
noun: Egyptian(s)
adjective: Egyptian
Ethnic groups:
Egyptian 99.6%, other 0.4% (2006 census)
Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%
Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 71.4%
male: 83%
female: 59.4% (2005 est.)
Education expenditures:
4.2% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 97
Government ::Egypt
Country name:
conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt
conventional short form: Egypt
local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah
local short form: Misr
former: United Arab Republic (with Syria)
Government type:
name: Cairo
geographic coordinates: 30 03 N, 31 15 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Friday in April; ends first Friday in August
Administrative divisions:
29 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat); Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar (Red Sea), Al Buhayrah (El Beheira), Al Fayyum (El Faiyum), Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah (Alexandria), Al Isma'iliyah (Ismailia), Al Jizah (Giza), Al Minufiyah (El Monofia), Al Minya, Al Qahirah (Cairo), Al Qalyubiyah, Al Uqsur, Al Wadi al Jadid (New Valley), As Suways (Suez), Ash Sharqiyah, Aswan, Asyut, Bani Suwayf (Beni Suef), Bur Sa'id (Port Said), Dumyat (Damietta), Helwan, Janub Sina' (South Sinai), Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh (Western Desert), Qina (Qena), Shamal Sina' (North Sinai), Sittah Uktubar, Suhaj (Sohag)
28 February 1922 (from the UK)
National holiday:
Revolution Day, 23 July (1952)
11 September 1971; amended 22 May 1980, 25 May 2005, and 26 March 2007
Legal system:
based on Islamic and civil law (particularly 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 Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK (since 14 October 1981)
head of government: Prime Minister Ahmed Mohamed NAZIF (since 9 July 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (no term limits); note - a national referendum in May 2005 approved a constitutional amendment that changed the presidential election to a multicandidate popular vote; previously the president was nominated by the People's Assembly and the nomination was validated by a national, popular referendum; last referendum held on 26 September 1999; first election under terms of the constitutional amendment held on 7 September 2005 (next scheduled for 2011)
election results: Hosni MUBARAK reelected president; percent of vote - Hosni MUBARAK 88.6%, Ayman NOUR 7.6%, Noman GOMAA 2.9%
Legislative branch:
bicameral system consists of the Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (Shura Council) that traditionally functions only in a consultative role (264 seats; 176 members elected by popular vote, 88 appointed by the president; members serve six-year terms; mid-term elections for half of the elected members) and the People's Assembly or Majlis al-Sha'b (454 seats; 444 members elected by popular vote, 10 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: Advisory Council - last held on June 2007 (next to be held in May-June 2010); People's Assembly - three-phase voting - last held on 7 and 20 November, 1 December 2005; (next to be held in November-December 2010)
election results: Advisory Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDP 84, Tagammu 1, independents 3; People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDP 311, NWP 6, Tagammu 2, Tomorrow Party 1, independents 112 (12 seats to be determined by rerun elections, 10 seats appointed by President)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Front Party [Osama Al Ghazali HARB]; Nasserist Party [Diaa El-Din DAWOUD]; National Democratic Party or NDP (governing party) [Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK]; National Progressive Unionist Grouping or Tagammu [Rifaat EL-SAID]; New Wafd Party or NWP [Mahmoud ABAZA]; Tomorrow Party
note: formation of political parties must be approved by the government; only parties with representation in elected bodies are listed
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Muslim Brotherhood (technically illegal)
note: despite a constitutional ban against religious-based parties and political activity, the technically illegal Muslim Brotherhood constitutes Egypt's most potentially significant political opposition; MUBARAK has alternated between tolerating limited political activity by the Brotherhood (its members, who ran as independents, hold 88 seats in the People's Assembly) and blocking its influence; civic society groups are sanctioned, but constrained in practical terms; only trade unions and professional associations affiliated with the government are officially sanctioned; Internet social networking groups and bloggers
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sameh Hassan SHOUKRY
chancery: 3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 895-5400
FAX: [1] (202) 244-4319
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret SCOBEY
embassy: 8 Kamal El Din Salah St., Garden City, Cairo
mailing address: Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900; 5 Tawfik Diab Street, Garden City, Cairo
telephone: [20] (2) 2797-3300
FAX: [20] (2) 2797-3200
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the national emblem (a gold Eagle of Saladin facing the hoist side with a shield superimposed on its chest above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic) centered in the white band; colors derived from the Arab Liberation flag
note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band, and Yemen, which has a plain white band
Economy ::Egypt
Economy - overview:
Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. Egypt's economy was highly centralized during the rule of former President Gamal Abdel NASSER but has opened up considerably under former President Anwar EL-SADAT and current President Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK. Cairo from 2004 to 2008 aggressively pursued economic reforms to attract foreign investment and facilitate GDP growth. The global financial crisis has slowed, but not stopped, the reform efforts. The international economic downturn slowed Egypt's GDP growth to 4.7% in 2009, predominately affecting export-oriented sectors, including manufacturing and tourism, and Suez Canal revenues. Growth in domestic sectors, including energy, transportation, telecommunications, retail trade, and construction kept economic growth from falling further in 2009. The government announced three separate stimulus packages between the end of 2008 and the end of 2009 totaling $6.3 billion, but it is not clear how much has been spent. Despite high levels of economic growth over the past few years, living conditions for the average Egyptian remain poor.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$471.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$450 billion (2008 est.)
$419.8 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$190.2 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
7.2% (2008 est.)
7.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
$5,800 (2008 est.)
$5,500 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13.7%
industry: 37.6%
services: 48.7% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
25.4 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 32%
industry: 17%
services: 51% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
9.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
8.7% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line:
20% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.9%
highest 10%: 27.6% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
34.4 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 90
Investment (gross fixed):
14.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
revenues: $50.95 billion
expenditures: $63.39 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
80.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
87.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
18.3% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
8.5% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 31
11.5% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 72
12.51% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$31.72 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 34
$27.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$112.2 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 25
$102.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$138.3 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 37
$126.5 billion (31 December 2008)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$91.09 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 41
$85.89 billion (31 December 2008)
$139.3 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats
textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metals, light manufactures
Industrial production growth rate:
5.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Electricity - production:
118.4 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
Electricity - consumption:
104.1 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Electricity - exports:
814 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
251 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
680,500 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Oil - consumption:
683,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
Oil - exports:
89,300 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
Oil - imports:
48,450 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
Oil - proved reserves:
4.4 billion bbl (1 June 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Natural gas - production:
62.7 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
Natural gas - consumption:
42.5 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
Natural gas - exports:
8.55 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.656 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
Current account balance:
-$4.172 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
-$1.331 billion (2008 est.)
$24.26 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
$29.85 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals, processed food
Exports - partners:
US 7.95%, Italy 7.26%, Spain 6.78%, India 6.69%, Saudi Arabia 5.53%, Syria 5.3%, France 4.39%, South Korea 4.27% (2009)
$47.59 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
$56.62 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood products, fuels
Imports - partners:
US 9.92%, China 9.63%, Germany 6.98%, Italy 6.88%, Turkey 4.94% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$33.93 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
$33.85 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$28.45 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
$32.12 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$66.32 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
$58.73 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$14.34 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
$13.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
Egyptian pounds (EGP) per US dollar - 5.6 (2009), 5.4 (2008), 5.67 (2007), 5.725 (2006), 5.78 (2005)
Communications ::Egypt
Telephones - main lines in use:
9.6 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 23
Telephones - mobile cellular:
55.35 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 20
Telephone system:
general assessment: underwent extensive upgrading during 1990s; principal centers at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta are connected by coaxial cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: largest fixed-line system in the region; as of 2010 there were three mobile-cellular networks with a total of more than 55 million subscribers
international: country code - 20; landing point for Aletar, the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks, Link Around the Globe (FLAG) Falcon and FLAG FEA; satellite earth stations - 4 (2 Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat); tropospheric scatter to Sudan; microwave radio relay to Israel; a participant in Medarabtel (2008)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 22, shortwave 1 (2010)
Television broadcast stations:
64 (2010)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
177,443 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 65
Internet users:
11.414 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 27
Transportation ::Egypt
85 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 68
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 72
over 3,047 m: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 35
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 5 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 4 (2009)
6 (2009)
condensate 320 km; condensate/gas 13 km; gas 6,262 km; liquid petroleum gas 956 km; oil 4,319 km; oil/gas/water 3 km; refined products 895 km; unknown 59 km (2009)
total: 5,500 km
country comparison to the world: 33
standard gauge: 5,500 km 1.435-m gauge (62 km electrified) (2009)
total: 65,050 km
country comparison to the world: 71
paved: 47,500 km
unpaved: 17,550 km (2009)
3,500 km
country comparison to the world: 30
note: includes Nile River, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in delta; Suez Canal (193.5 km including approaches) navigable by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 17.68 m (2007)
Merchant marine:
total: 67
country comparison to the world: 63
by type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 28, container 2, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 9
foreign-owned: 10 (Denmark 1, Greece 8, Lebanon 1)
registered in other countries: 58 (Cambodia 13, Georgia 12, Honduras 3, North Korea 1, Malta 1, Moldova 1, Panama 17, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Saudi Arabia 1, Sierra Leone 3, Togo 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Ayn Sukhnah, Alexandria, Damietta, El Dekheila, Sidi Kurayr, Suez
Military ::Egypt
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command
Military service age and obligation:
18-30 years of age for male conscript military service; service obligation 12-36 months, followed by a 9-year reserve obligation (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 20,619,887
females age 16-49: 19,785,004 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 17,733,851
females age 16-49: 16,942,010 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 799,377
female: 764,602 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
3.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
Transnational Issues ::Egypt
Disputes - international:
Sudan claims but Egypt de facto administers security and economic development of Halaib region north of the 22nd parallel boundary; Egypt no longer shows its administration of the Bir Tawil trapezoid in Sudan on its maps; Gazan breaches in the security wall with Egypt in January 2008 highlight difficulties in monitoring the Sinai border; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 60,000 - 80,000 (Iraq); 70,198 (Palestinian Territories); 12,157 (Sudan) (2007)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Egypt is a transit country for women trafficked from Eastern European countries to Israel for sexual exploitation, and is a source for children trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, although the extent to which children are trafficked internally is unknown; children were also recruited for domestic and agricultural work; some of these children face conditions of involuntary servitude, such as restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Egypt is on the Tier 2 Watch List for the third year in a row because it did not provide evidence of increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers; however, in July 2007, the government established the "National Coordinating Committee to Combat and Prevent Trafficking in Persons," which improved inter-governmental coordination on anti-trafficking initiatives; Egypt made no discernible efforts to punish trafficking crimes in 2007 and the Egyptian penal code does not prohibit all forms of trafficking; Egypt did not increase its services to trafficking victims during the reporting period (2008)
Illicit drugs:
transit point for cannabis, heroin, and opium moving to Europe, Israel, and North Africa; transit stop for Nigerian drug couriers; concern as money laundering site due to lax enforcement of financial regulations

Source: The World Factbook (CIA)