Factbook: Egypt



Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip

Geographic coordinates: 27 00 N, 30 00 E

Map references: Africa

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: 2,689 km
border countries: Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 255 km, Libya 1,150 km, Sudan 1,273 km

Coastline: 2,450 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters

Terrain: 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%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other : 98% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 32,460 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides, volcanic activity; 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 salinization 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 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, Whaling
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, shortest sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics


Population: 64,824,466 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (male 12,080,281; female 11,556,970)
15-64 years: 60% (male 19,616,790; female 19,228,163)
65 years and over: 4% (male 1,050,540; female 1,291,722) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.89% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 27.82 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 8.56 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 71 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 61.75 years
male: 59.8 years
female: 63.8 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.5 children born/woman (1997 est.)

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%

Religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94% (official estimate), Coptic Christian and other 6% (official estimate)

Languages: 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.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt
conventional short form: Egypt
local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah
local short form: none
former : United Arab Republic (with Syria)

Data code: EG

Government type: republic

National capital: Cairo

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

Independence: 28 February 1922 (from UK)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 23 July (1952)

Constitution: 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

Suffrage: 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 Kamal Ahmed El-GANZOURI (since 4 January 1996)
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 4 October 1993 (next to be held NA October 1999); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: national referendum validated President MUBARAK’s nomination by the People’s Assembly to a third 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 – last held 29 November 1995 (next to be held NA 2000); Advisory Council – last held 7 June 1995 (next to be held NA)
election results: People’s Assembly – percent of vote by party – NDP 72%, independents 25%, opposition 3%; seats by party – NDP 317, independents 114, NWP 6, NPUG 5, Nasserist Arab Democratic Party 1, Liberals 1; Advisory Council – percent of vote by party – NDP 99%, independents 1%; seats by party – NA

Judicial branch: Supreme Constitutional Court

Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party (NDP), President Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK, leader, is the dominant party; legal opposition parties are as follows: New Wafd Party (NWP), Fu’ad SIRAJ AL-DIN; Socialist Labor Party (SLP), Ibrahim SHUKRI; National Progressive Unionist Grouping (NPUG), Khalid Muhi al-DIN; Socialist Liberal Party, Mustafa Kamal MURAD; Democratic Unionist Party, Mohammed ‘Abd-al-Mun’im TURK; Umma Party, Ahmad al-SABAHI; Misr al-Fatah Party (Young Egypt Party), leader NA; Nasserist Arab Democratic Party, Dia’ al-din DAWUD; Democratic Peoples’ Party, Anwar AFIFI; The Greens Party, Kamal KIRAH; Social Justice Party, Muhammad ‘ABDAL-‘AL
note: formation of political parties must be approved by 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 has moved more aggressively in the past two years to block its influence; trade unions and professional associations are officially sanctioned

International organization participation: ABEDA, ACC, ACCT (associate), AfDB, AFESD, AG (observer), AL, AMF, BSEC (observer), CAEU, CCC, EBRD, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OAU, OIC, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNOMIL, UNPREDEP, UNRWA, UNTAES, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ahmed Maher El SAYED
chancery: 3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 895-5400
FAX: [1] (202) 244-4319, 5131
consulate(s) general : Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edward S. WALKER, Jr.
embassy: (North Gate) 8, Kamel El-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo
mailing address: Unit 64900, APO AE 09839-4900
telephone : [20] (2) 3557371
FAX: [20] (2) 3572000
branch office: Alexandria

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 that 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 – overview: By the end of the 1980s Egypt – hit by the collapse of the world oil market and servicing a foreign debt totaling about $50 billion – faced crises in virtually all economic sectors. Problems of low productivity and poor economic management were compounded by the adverse social effects of large population growth rates, high inflation, and massive urban overcrowding. In the face of these pressures, in 1991, Egypt undertook wide-ranging macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform measures. This reform effort has been supported by three successive IMF arrangements, the last of which was concluded in October 1996. Egypt’s reform efforts – and its participation in the Gulf war coalition – also led to massive debt relief under the Paris Club arrangements. Egypt’s foreign debt fell to about $31 billion at yearend 1996. Although the pace of reform has been uneven and slower than envisaged under the IMF programs, substantial progress has been made in improving macroeconomic performance – budget deficits have been slashed while foreign reserves in 1996 were at an all-time high – and in moving toward a more decentralized, market-oriented economy. Egypt was able to capitalize on its progress during the third Middle East/North Africa economic conference which it hosted in November 1996. Egypt’s President MUBARAK told reporters that Egypt had concluded deals worth $10 billion in investment during the conference, 20 times the country’s estimated total direct foreign investment for the 1995/96 fiscal year. According to press reports, Egypt and foreign investors agreed on nine megaprojects, including the export of liquefied natural gas from Egypt to Turkey, estimated at $2 billion to $4 billion. Egypt has a broad-based inventory of geographic, human, and physical assets which in a liberalized market environment could spur rapid, sustainable growth into the next century. But rapid population growth continues to cast a shadow over economic prospects.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $183.9 billion (1996 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 4.9% (1996 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $2,900 (1996 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 16%
industry : 34%
services: 50% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 7.3% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 17.4 million (1996 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 40%, services, including government 38%, industry 22% (1990 est.)

Unemployment rate: 9.4% (FY95/96 official estimate)

revenues: $17.4 billion
expenditures: $18.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.5 billion (FY95/96)

Industries: textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, petroleum, construction, cement, metals

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity – capacity: 13.04 million kW (1994)

Electricity – production: 47.89 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity – consumption per capita: 723 kWh (1995 est.)

Agriculture – products: cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats; annual fish catch about 140,000 metric tons

total value : $4.6 billion (f.o.b., FY95/96 est.)
commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, cotton yarn, raw cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals
partners: EU, US, Japan

total value: $13.8 billion (c.i.f., FY95/96 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, foods, fertilizers, wood products, durable consumer goods, capital goods
partners: US, EU, Japan

Debt – external: $31 billion (yearend 1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $1.713 billion (1993)

Currency: 1 Egyptian pound (£E) = 100 piasters

Exchange rates: Egyptian pounds (£E) per US$1 – 3.4 (November 1994), 3.369 (November 1993), 3.345 (November 1992); market rate – 3.3900 (January 1997), 3.3880 (1996), 3.3900 (1995), 3.3910 (1994), 3.3718 (1993), 3.3386 (1992)

Fiscal year: 1 July – 30 June


Telephones: 2.2 million (1993)

Telephone system: large system by Third World standards but inadequate for present requirements and undergoing extensive upgrading
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; participant in Medarabtel

Radio broadcast stations: AM 39, FM 6, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 41

Televisions: 5 million (1993 est.)


total: 4,751 km
standard gauge: 4,751 km 1,435-m gauge (42 km electrified; 951 km double track)

total: 50,000 km
paved: 15,000 km
unpaved : 35,000 km (1990 est.)

Waterways: 3,500 km (including the Nile, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in the delta); Suez Canal, 193.5 km long (including approaches), used by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 16.1 m of water

Pipelines: 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: 156 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,151,960 GRT/1,771,863 DWT
ships by type: bulk 21, cargo 65, liquefied gas tanker 1, oil tanker 14, passenger 35, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 16, short-sea passenger 3 (1996 est.)

Airports: 81 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 73
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m : 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 10 (1996 est.)

Airports – with unpaved runways:
total : 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (1996 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1996 est.)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command

Military manpower – military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower – availability:
males age 15-49: 16,942,953 (1997 est.)

Military manpower – fit for military service:
males: 10,987,037 (1997 est.)

Military manpower – reaching military age annually:
males: 672,197 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $3.28 billion (FY95/96)

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: 8.2% (FY95/96)

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: administrative boundary with Sudan does not coincide with international boundary creating the “Hala’ib Triangle,” a barren area of 20,580 sq km

Illicit drugs: a transit point for Southwest Asian and Southeast Asian heroin and opium moving to Europe and the US; popular transit stop for Nigerian couriers; large domestic consumption of hashish from Lebanon and Syria