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Info Africa - EGYPT

Egypt lies in Northern Africa, bordering Libya, Sudan and Israel. It also borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. This former British colony, which gained independence in 1922, is known for its Nile River, Pyramids and its various historic sites. But most importantly, it is one as one of the world’s great civilizations. In the past, Egypt was ruled by various unified kingdoms and dynasties. As well, the Greeks, Romans and Byzantines each had their turn in administrating Egypt. When the Arabs came to Egypt in the 7th century, they introduced Egypt to Islam as well as the Arabic language. Presently, most Egyptians are Muslim and Arabic is the official language. Egypt’s Nile River continues to provide Egypt with water, transportation and trade. It also allows people to communicate. Since the Suez Canal was built in 1869, Egypt has been an important transportation center. Egypt is home to numerous attraction points including; the cities of Aswan and Alexandria, the Nile River, the Oases, the Sinai Peninsula, the Red Coast Sea and the capital city, Cairo. Cairo, the largest city in Africa, has a blend of African, European and Arab influences. From spice traders and pyramids to museums and mosques, Cairo is houses much of Egypt’s rich past. Visitors are welcomed to visit the Egyptian Museum as well as the Great Pyramids, which are Egypt’s most visited monuments. Some interesting parts of Cairo are the Midan Hussain, a large open square, which is surrounded by tea houses and the sacred Mosque of Sayyidna Al-Hussain. Cairo also has one of the largest bazaars in the world, where one can buy spices, perfumes and other commodities. Egypt is also home to a sacred site, namely Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt’s nature is diverse, with its many birds, waters and desert land. Egypt’s music is a rich mixture of Arabic, African and Western influences. Some of the dances practiced in Egypt include Belly Dancing.

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CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Egypt's Flag

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, Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band, and Yemen, which has a plain white band

Nationality: Egyptian

Capital: Cairo

Population: 78,887,007 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 32.6% (male 13,172,641/female 12,548,346)
  • 15-64 years: 62.9% (male 25,102,754/female 24,519,698)
  • 65 years and over: 4.5% (male 1,510,280/female 2,033,288) (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.75% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 57.7%
    male: 68.3%
    female: 46.9% (2003 est.)

Major religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%

Languages: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes

Quick Facts
  • total: 1,001,450 sq km
  • land: 995,450 sq km
  • water: 6,000 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: the size of Ontario

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc

Environmental 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


Most of Egypt’s economic activity takes place on the fertile Nile Valley. The government of Egypt has been reforming their highly centralized economy in the last 30 years. In 2005, the Prime Minister of Egypt, Ahmed Nazif, decreased personal and corporate tax rates and energy subsidies. As well, he ordered the privatization of several enterprises. This contributed to the growth in the stock market as well as a GDP growth of nearly 5%. However, the government has not been successful in raising living standards for average Egyptians and it continues to provide subsidies for basic necessities. This has led to a growing budget deficit. A higher GDP growth can be achieved once the government continues its aggressive pursuit of reform, especially in the energy industry. While the export sectors of Egypt, mainly natural gas, have bright prospects, foreign direct investment remains low in Egypt.

Major industries:

  • textiles
  • food processing
  • tourism
  • chemicals
  • pharmaceuticals
  • hydrocarbons
  • construction
  • cement
  • metals
  • light manufactures

Agricultural products:

  • cotton
  • rice
  • corn
  • wheat
  • beans
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • cattle
  • water buffalo
  • sheep
  • goats

Oil production: 700,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)


  • 5,063 km - standard gauge: 5,063 km 1.435-m gauge (62 km electrified) (2004)

Road map: 64,000 km (paved: 49,984 km, unpaved: 14,016 km (1999))

Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP)


Telephone lines in use: 10.4 million (2005)

Cellular lines in use: 14,045,134 (2005)

Television Stations: 98 (September 1995)

Radio Stations: AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 14, shortwave 3 (1999)

Internet users: 5 million (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2001 est.)

More Information

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