Information on Egypt


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Arab Republic of Egypt
102,3 Mio. (World Bank)
Cairo
Presidential republic
Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi (2014)
Israel, Libya, Sudan, Gaza Strip (Palestine) 
Arabic (official language)
Islam
1 Egyptian Pound = 0,056 € (as of Feb. 10th 2022)



History

Despite formal independence from the colonial power Great Britain in 1922, Egypt continued to be closely tied to the British Empire as an important trade and troop transport route, especially during World War II. The growing dissatisfaction with the government after the war led to the 1952 Egyptian revolution which made Egypt a republic and where British advisers were finally expelled. 

In the following years, the economically and strategically important Suez Canal repeatedly led to conflicts between Egypt and its newly founded neighbor Israel, including the Six-Day War in 1967. Subsequently, peace negotiations between the two countries were formalized in a peace treaty in 1979. In 1981, the 30-year reign of Husni Mubarak began, building the country into one of the leading Arab nations. His time as Egypt's president ended in 2011 with a revolution and subsequent military coup. In the period that followed, there was repeated political turmoil.

 

Politics 

In 2011, widespread protests began in Egypt against the oppressive regime of Mubarak (Egyptian Revolution), who resigned shortly after. The military took power and dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution. After a referendum to strengthen democratic control, new parliamentary elections were held. Mohamed Morsi was elected president but in the following, great political chaos led the military to remove Morsi from office in 2013. Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour was sworn in as acting president over the new government following the removal of Morsi. The new Egyptian authorities cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, jailing thousands and forcefully dispersing pro-Morsi and/or pro-Brotherhood protests. In 2014 a new constitution was appointed. Former military member and chief of the armed forces Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced his candidature for the presidential elections. He was sworn into office and is still the current president of Egypt to this day.  

Population 

Egypt has the highest population in the Arab world and the third most populous on the African continent, with about 102 million inhabitants. Its population grew rapidly in the last 50 years due to medical advances and increases in agricultural productivity.  

Egypt's people are highly urbanised, being concentrated along the Nile (notably Cairo and Alexandria), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Egyptians are divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centres and the fellahin, or farmers, that reside in rural villages. The total inhabited area constitutes only 77,041 km², putting the physiological density at over 1,200 people per km2.

An estimated 2.7 million Egyptians live abroad. Approximately 70% of Egyptian migrants live in Arab countries and the remaining 30% reside mostly in Europe and North America. 

Egypt has the largest Muslim population in the Arab world, and the sixth world's largest Muslim population, and is home for 5% of the world's Muslim population. Besides that, Egypt has the largest Christian population in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam as its state religion. 

An estimated 51.2% of Egyptians are under the age of 25, with just 4.3% over the age of 65, making it one of the most youthful populations in the world.

Ethnic Egyptians are by far the largest ethnic group in the country, constituting 99.7% of the total population. Ethnic minorities include the Abazas, Turks, Greeks and Bedouin Arab tribes living in the eastern deserts. 

Some 5 million immigrants live in Egypt, mostly Sudanese, some of whom have lived in Egypt for generations. Smaller numbers of immigrants come from Iraq, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Eritrea.

 

Economy

Leaving behind a centralised economic system under president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1954–1970), Egypt adopted a more open approach, diversifying its economy and moving toward a market oriented strategy with substantial foreign investments. However, the government does still have some state-owned organisations, like banks. Following Egypt’s 2030 Vision, the country’s economy became the second largest in the continent after Nigeria regarding nominal GDP, gaining the 36th position in worldwide rankings as of 2021. This new plan significantly decreases prominent issues such as unemployment and poverty. yet not fully erasing them, leaving Egypt with still a high level of unemployment especially among young people.

The country enjoys a strong currency and is well-supported financially by external stakeholders.

After its completion, the Suez Canal benefited primarily the sea trading powers of the Mediterranean countries, which now had much faster connections to the Near and Far East than the North and West European sea trading nations such as Great Britain or Germany

Among the most established industries: tourism, textile production, food processing, hydrocarbons, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction, cement and metal production, and manufacturing. Warm weather and plentiful water are the reasons why agriculture is also one of the main economic activities. Land is worked intensively and yields are high. Increasingly, a few modern techniques are applied to producing fruits, vegetables and flowers, in addition to cotton, for export.

The informal sector of the economy is quite large and represents between 30% and 60% of the GDP. Businesses having more informal connections within the government receive preferable treatment navigating through Egypt's cumbersome regulatory framework, providing a disincentive for competition. An inefficient and sporadically enforced legal system and a widespread culture of corruption leave businesses reliant on the use of middlemen (known as wasta) to operate, and well-connected businesses enjoy privileged treatment.

Culture

Egypt can look back on over 6000 years of cultural history. Ancient Egypt was among the first civilizations and maintained an enormously complex and stable culture for millennia, influencing later cultures in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Today, many aspects of ancient Egyptian culture are still present and interact with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture.

Cairo has been one of the intellectual and cultural centres of the Arab world for centuries. The city is the seat of the renowned Islamic university al-Azhar and the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. It is considered the most important centre of the Arab book market and is home to large libraries, museums and the first opera house in the Arab world. In addition, there is an active independent cultural scene in Egypt. However, this scene has increasingly been subject to increased state control and repression since 2015, due to its status as a meeting place for free expression of opinion.  

Egypt is known as the cultural leader of the Arabic-speaking world, which is why contemporary Arab culture is very much influenced by Egyptian literature and music, as well as Egyptian films and television. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Prize winners in Africa and the entire Arab world.