Egypt Facts

"According to the CIA"

Egypt Facts

Brief History

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.


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 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


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; 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, 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


80,335,036 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 32.2% (male 13,234,428/female 12,631,681) 15-64 years: 63.2% (male 25,688,703/female 25,082,200) 65 years and over: 4.6% (male 1,576,376/female 2,121,648) (2007 est.)

Median age:

total: 24.2 years male: 23.9 years female: 24.6 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.721% (2007 est.)

Birth rate:

22.53 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate:

5.11 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.048 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.024 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.743 male(s)/female total population: 1.017 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 29.5 deaths/1,000 live births male: 31.22 deaths/1,000 live births female: 27.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 71.57 years male: 69.04 years female: 74.22 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.77 children born/woman (2007 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

700 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: intermediate food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid 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 (2008)


noun: Egyptian(s) adjective: Egyptian Ethnic groups: Egyptian 98%, Berber, Nubian, Bedouin, and Beja 1%, Greek, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%


Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1% Languages: 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.)


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 last Thursday in September

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, As Suways, Ash Sharqiyah, 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; 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 appointed by the president


president elected by popular vote for 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 26 September 1999; first election under terms of constitutional amendment held 7 September 2005; next election 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 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 that traditionally functions only in a consultative role but 2007 constitutional amendments could grant the Council new powers (264 seats; 176 elected by popular vote, 88 appointed by the president; members serve six-year


mid-term elections for half of the elected members) elections: People's Assembly - three-phase voting - last held 7 and 20 November, 1 December 2005;(next to be held November-December 2010); Advisory Council - last held June 2007 (next to be held May-June 2010)

Election results:

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); Advisory Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NDP 84, Tagammu 1, independents 3

Judicial branch:

Supreme Constitutional Court

Political parties and leaders:

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 [Moussa Mustafa MOUSSA]

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:

despite a constitutional ban against religious-based parties and political activity, the technically illegal Muslim Brotherhood constitutes Hosni MUBARAK's potentially most significant political opposition; MUBARAK has alternated between tolerating limited political activity by the Brotherhood 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

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Nabil FAHMY 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 Francis J. RICCIARDONE, Jr. embassy: 8 Kamal El Din Salah St., Garden City, Cairo mailing address: Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900 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; design is based on the Arab Liberation flag and 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 - overview:

Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. In the last 30 years, the government has reformed the highly centralized economy it inherited from President Gamel Abdel NASSER.

In 2005, Prime Minister Ahmed NAZIF's government reduced personal and corporate tax rates, reduced energy subsidies, and privatized several enterprises.

The stock market boomed, and GDP grew about 5% per year in 2005-06, and topped 7% in 2007.

Despite these achievements, the government has failed to raise living standards for the average Egyptian, and has had to continue providing subsidies for basic necessities.

The subsidies have contributed to a sizeable budget deficit - roughly 7.5% of GDP in 2007 - and represent a significant drain on the economy.

Foreign direct investment has increased significantly in the past two years, but the NAZIF government will need to continue its aggressive pursuit of reforms in order to sustain the spike in investment and growth and begin to improve economic conditions for the broader population. Egypt's export sectors - particularly natural gas - have bright prospects.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$431.9 billion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$127.9 billion (2007 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

7.2% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$5,400 (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 13.8% industry: 41.1% services: 45.1% (2007 est.)

Labor force:

22.49 million (2007 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 32% industry: 17% services: 51% (2001 est.) Unemployment rate:

10.1% (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

20% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.7% highest 10%: 29.5% (2000) Distribution of family income - Gini index: 34.4 (2001) Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.8% (2007 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

21.8% of GDP (2007 est.)

Budget: revenues: $37.47 billion expenditures: $44.48 billion (2007 est.)

Public debt:

105.1% of GDP (2007 est.)

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: 13.8% (2007 est.)

Electricity - production:

102.5 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - consumption:

84.49 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - exports:

946 million kWh (2005)

Electricity - imports:

168 million kWh (2005)

Oil - production:

688,100 bbl/day (2005 est.) Oil - consumption:

635,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - exports:

152,600 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - imports:

69,860 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - proved reserves:

3.7 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production:

40.76 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

32.81 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

7.951 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.589 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Current account balance:

$3.115 billion (2007 est.)


$27.42 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals

Exports - partners:

Italy 12.1%, US 11.3%, Spain 8.7%, UK 5.5%, France 5.4%, Syria 5.1%, Saudi Arabia 4.3%, Germany 4.2% (2006)


$40.48 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood products, fuels

Imports - partners:

US 11.4%, China 8.3%, Germany 6.6%, Italy 5.4%, Saudi Arabia 5%, France 4.6% (2006)

Economic aid - recipient:

ODA, $925.9 million (2005) Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $31.14 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Debt - external:

$29.9 billion (30 June 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$37.66 billion (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$1.115 billion (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$93.48 billion (2006)

Currency (code):

Egyptian pound (EGP)

Exchange rates:

Egyptian pounds per US dollar - 5.67 (2007), 5.725 (2006), 5.78 (2005), 6.1962 (2004), 5.8509 (2003)

Fiscal year:

1 July - 30 June


Telephones - main lines in use:

10.808 million (2006)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

18.001 million (2006)

Telephone system:

general assessment:

large system; underwent extensive upgrading during 1990s and is reasonably modern; Telecom Egypt, the landline monopoly, has been increasing service availability and in 2006 fixed-line density stood at 14 per 100 persons; as of 2007 there were three mobile-cellular networks and service is expanding rapidly domestic: principal centers at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta are connected by coaxial cable and microwave radio relay.

international: country code - 20; landing point for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 AND SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks; linked to the international submarine cable FLAG (Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe); satellite earth stations - 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

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 14, shortwave 3 (1999) Television broadcast stations: 98 (September 1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

5,363 (2007)

Internet users:

6 million (2006)



88 (2007)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 72 over 3,047 m: 15 2,438 to 3,047 m: 36 1,524 to 2,437 m: 16 under 914 m: 5 (2007)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 16 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 5 under 914 m: 7 (2007)


3 (2007)


condensate 483 km; condensate/gas 74 km; gas 6,466 km; liquid petroleum gas 957 km; oil 5,518 km; oil/gas/water 37 km; refined products 895 km (2007)


total: 5,063 km standard gauge: 5,063 km 1.435-m gauge (62 km electrified) (2006)


total: 92,370 km paved: 74,820 km unpaved: 17,550 km (2004)


3,500 km 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 (2006)

Merchant marine:

total: 77 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,032,116 GRT/1,553,065 DWT by type: bulk carrier 13, cargo 33, container 2, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 14, roll on/roll off 10 foreign-owned: 10 (Denmark 1, Greece 8, Lebanon 1) registered in other countries: 55 (Bolivia 1, Cambodia 14, Georgia 14, Honduras 4, North Korea 1, Panama 13, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Saudi Arabia 1, St Kitts and Nevis 2, St Vincent and The Grenadines 4) (2007)

Ports and terminals:

Ayn Sukhnah, Alexandria, Damietta, El Dekheila, Sidi Kurayr, Suez


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 (2006)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 18,347,560

females age 18-49: 17,683,904 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 15,540,234

females age 18-49: 14,939,378 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 802,920

females age 18-49: 764,176 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

3.4% (2005 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

while Sudan retains claim to the Hala'ib Triangle north of the 1899 Treaty boundary along the 22nd Parallel, both states withdrew their military presence in the 1990s and Egypt has invested in and effectively administers the area;

Egypt vigilantly monitors the Sinai and borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip to deter terrorist, smuggling, and other illegal activities; Egypt does not extend domestic asylum to some 70,000 persons who identify themselves as Palestinians but who largely lack UNRWA assistance and, until recently, UNHCR recognition as refugees.

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 60,000 - 80,000 (Iraq), 70,255 (Palestinian Territories), 13,446 (Sudan) (2006)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Egypt is a transit country for women trafficked from Eastern Europe to Israel for the purpose of sexual exploitation; these women generally arrive as tourists and are subsequently trafficked through the Sinai Desert by Bedouin tribes; men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are believed to be trafficked through the Sinai Desert to Israel and Europe for labor exploitation; some Egyptian children from rural areas are trafficked within the country to work as domestic servants or laborers in the agriculture industry tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Egypt is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking over the past year, particularly in the area of law enforcement

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.

You may also be interested in...

From Egypt Facts Return Home