country profile - EGYPT
Background: 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. Completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 elevated Egypt as an important world transportation hub. 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 from Britain 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 population through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.
Inspired by the 2010 Tunisian revolution, Egyptian opposition groups led demonstrations and labor strikes countrywide, culminating in President Hosni MUBARAK's ouster. Egypt's military assumed national leadership until a new parliament was in place in early 2012; later that same year, Mohammed MORSI won the presidential election. Following often violent protests throughout the spring of 2013 against MORSI's government and the Muslim Brotherhood, and massive antigovernment demonstrations, the Egyptian Armed Forces intervened and removed MORSI from power in July 2013 and replaced him with interim president Adly MANSOUR. In January 2014, voters approved a new constitution by referendum and in May 2014 elected Abdel Fattah Al SISI president. Legislative elections are expected by the end of 2015.
geography  
Location: 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
Area: total: 1,001,450 sq km
land: 995,450 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 2,612 km
border countries (4): Gaza Strip 13 km, Israel 208 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,276 km
Coastline: 2,450 km
Climate: desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc
people  
Population: 88,487,396 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.89% (male 14,430,312/female 13,790,448)
15-24 years: 17.64% (male 7,985,589/female 7,620,404)
25-54 years: 38.45% (male 17,307,230/female 16,715,153)
55-64 years: 6.86% (male 2,971,475/female 3,100,747)
65 years and over: 5.16% (male 2,058,911/female 2,507,127) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 25.3 years
male: 24.9 years
female: 25.6 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.79% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 22.9 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 4.77 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate -0.19 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Egyptian(s)
adjective: Egyptian
Ethnic groups: Egyptian 99.6%, other 0.4% (2006 census)
Religions: Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 90%, Christian (majority Coptic Orthodox, other Christians include Armenian Apostolic, Catholic, Maronite, Orthodox, and Anglican) 10% (2012 est.)
Languages: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73.8%
male: 82.2%
female: 65.4% (2015 est.)
government  
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: republic
Capital: 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: 27 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat); Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar (Red Sea), Al Buhayrah, Al Fayyum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah (Alexandria), Al Isma'iliyah (Ismailia), Al Jizah (Giza), Al Minufiyah, Al Minya, Al Qahirah (Cairo), Al Qalyubiyah, Al Uqsur (Luxor), Al Wadi al Jadid (New Valley), As Suways (Suez), Ash Sharqiyah, Aswan, Asyut, Bani Suwayf, Bur Sa'id (Port Said), Dumyat (Damietta), Janub Sina' (South Sinai), Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh, Qina, Shamal Sina' (North Sinai), Suhaj
Independence: 28 February 1922 (from the UK)
National holiday: Revolution Day, 23 July (1952)
Legal system: mixed legal system based on Napoleonic civil and penal law, Islamic religious law, and vestiges of colonial-era laws; judicial review of the constitutionality of laws by the Supreme Constitutional Court
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Abdelfattah Said ELSISI (since 8 June 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Sherif ISMAIL (since 12 September 2015); note - Prime Minister Ibrahim MEHLAB resigned 12 September 2015
cabinet: Cabinet sworn in 17 June 2014
elections/appointments: president elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 26-28 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2018); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the House of Representatives
election results: Abdelfattah Said ELSISI elected president; percent of vote in 1 round - Abdelfattah Said ELSISI (independent) 96.6%, Hamdeen SABAHI (Egyptian Current Party ) 3.4%
Legislative branch: unicameral House of Representatives (Majlis Al-Nowaab); according to 2014 election laws, will consist of up to 567 members; 420 members to be in elected in single- and multi-seat districts by simple majority vote, 120 members to be elected in party-list districts by simple majority vote, and up to 27 seats as presidential appointees
elections (for new House of Representatives): initially scheduled for late December 2014, changed several times, latest on 18-19 October 2015
election results (for previous legislature): Advisory Council (held 29 January and 14 February 2012) - percent of vote by party - Democratic Alliance for Egypt 45%, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 28.6%, New Wafd Party 8.5%, Egyptian Bloc 5.4%, other 12.5%; seats by party - Democratic Alliance for Egypt 105, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 45, New Wafd Party 14, Egyptian Bloc 8, other 4, independents 4, presidential appointees 90; People's Assembly (held in three stages 28 November 2011 to 11 January 2012) - percent of vote by party - Democratic Alliance for Egypt 37.5%, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 27.8%, New Wafd Party 9.2%, Egyptian Bloc 8.9%, Al-Wasat Party 3.7%, The Revolution Continues Alliance 2.8%, Reform and Development Party 2.2%, National Party of Egypt 1.6%, Freedom Party 1.9%, Egyptian Citizen Party 0.9%, other 3.5%; seats by party - Democratic Alliance of Egypt 235, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 123, New Wafd Party 38, Egyptian Bloc 35, Al-Wasat 10, Reform and Development Party 9, The Revolution Continues Alliance 8, National Party of Egypt 5, Egyptian Citizen Party 4, Freedom Party 4, independents 21, other 6, SCAF appointees 10
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Constitutional Court or SCC (consists of the court president and 10 justices); the SCC serves as the final court of arbitrator on the constitutionality of laws and conflicts between lower courts regarding jurisdiction and rulings; Court of Cassation (CC) (consists of the court president and 550 judges organized in circuits with cases heard by panels of 5 judges); the CC is the highest appeals body for civil and criminal cases, also known as “ordinary justices"; Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) - consists of the court president and organized in circuits with cases heard by panels of 5 judges); the SAC is the highest court of the State Council
judge selection and term of office: under the 2014 constitution, all judges and justices selected by the Supreme Judiciary Council and appointed by the president of the Republic; tenure NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; courts of limited jurisdiction; Family Court (established in 2004)
Political parties and leaders: officially recognized: Al-Asala [Ehab SHIHA]
Al-Dustour (Constitution) Party [Hala SHOKRALLAH]
Al-Karama Party [Mohamed SAMY]
Al-Nour [Yunis MAKHYUN]
Al-Wasat Party [Mohamad Abdel LATIF]
Al-Watan [Imad Abd al-GHAFUR]
Building and Development Party or BDP [Tarek al-ZOMOR]
Congress Party [Omar Mokhtar SEMEIDA]
Egyptian National Movement Party [Ahmed SHAFIK]
Egyptian Social Democratic Party [Mohamed Aboul GHAR]
El Tagamu'u Party [Sayed Abdel AAL]
Free Egyptians Party [Essam KHALIL]
New Wafd Party [Sayed al-BADADWI]
Popular Current Party [Hamdeen SABAHI]
Reform and Development Party [Mohamad Anwar al-SADAT]
Socialist Popular Alliance [Abdel Ghafar SHOUKR]
Strong Egypt Party [Abdel Moneim Aboul FOTOUH]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, BSEC (observer), CAEU, CD, CICA, COMESA, D-8, EBRD, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 6.32 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 95.3 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (2014 est.)
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; multiple mobile-cellular networks with a near 100-percent penetration of the market
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 (2015)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 11, shortwave 3 (1999)
Television broadcast stations: 64 (2010)
Internet country code: .eg
Internet hosts: 177,443 (2009)
Internet users: 42 million (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 83 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 72
over 3,047 m: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 36
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2013)
Heliports: 7 (2013)
Pipelines: condensate 486 km; condensate/gas 74 km; gas 7,986 km; liquid petroleum gas 957 km; oil 5,225 km; oil/gas/water 37 km; refined products 895 km; water 65 km (2013)
Railways: total: 5,085 km
standard gauge: 5,085 km 1.435-m gauge (62 km electrified) (2014)
Roadways: total: 137,430 km
paved: 126,742 km (includes 838 km of expressways)
unpaved: 10,688 km (2010)
Waterways: 3,500 km (includes the Nile River, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in Nile Delta; the Suez Canal (193.5 km including approaches) is navigable by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 17.68 m) (2011)
Merchant marine: total: 67
by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 20, container 3, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 12, roll on/roll off 9
foreign-owned: 13 (Denmark 1, France 1, Greece 8, Jordan 2, Lebanon 1)
registered in other countries: 42 (Cambodia 4, Georgia 7, Honduras 2, Liberia 3, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 1, Moldova 5, Panama 11, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Saudi Arabia 1, Sierra Leone 3, unknown 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Mediterranean Sea - Alexandria, Damietta, El Dekheila, Port Said; Gulf of Suez - Suez
oil terminal(s): Ain Sukhna terminal, Sidi Kerir terminal
container port(s) (TEUs): Alexandria (1,108,826), Port Said(East) (2,617,043), Port Said(West) (1,138,753)
LNG terminal(s) (export): Damietta, Idku (Abu Qir Bay)
transnational issues  
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 (countries of origin): 70,023 (West Bank and Gaza Strip); 12,730 (Sudan); 5,149 (Iraq) (2014); 128,019 (Syria); 7,365 (Somalia) (2015)
stateless persons: 20 (2014)
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
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html