Information about Egypt: Geography, history, population, map, flag, visa
At 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,660 sq mi), Egypt is the world's 38th-largest country. In terms of land area, it is approximately the same size as all of Central America, twice the size of Spain, four times the size of the United Kingdom, and the combined size of the US states of Texas and California.
Nevertheless, due to the aridity of Egypt's climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that approximately 99% of the population uses only about 5.5% of the total land area.
The coastline of Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city
Egypt is bordered by Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. Egypt's important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, which in turn is traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea.
The Nile River near Aswan
Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt's landscape is a desert. The winds blowing can create sand dunes more than 100 feet (30 m) high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara Desert and of the Libyan Desert. These deserts were referred to as the "red land" in ancient Egypt, and they protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats.
Towns and cities include Alexandria, one of the greatest ancient cities, Aswan, Asyut, Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital, El-Mahalla El-Kubra, Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu, Hurghada, Luxor, Kom Ombo, Port Safaga, Port Said, Sharm el Sheikh, Suez, where the Suez Canal is located, Zagazig, and Al-Minya. Oases include Bahariya, el Dakhla, Farafra, el Kharga and Siwa. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.
See Egyptian Protectorates for more information.
Satellite image of Egypt, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map Library
Egypt does not receive much rainfall except in the winter months. South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm (0.1 to 0.2 in) per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm (16.1 in), with most of the rainfall between October and March. Snow falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim, Sidi Barrany, etc. and rarely in Alexandria, frost is also known in mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt.
Temperatures average between 80 °F (27 °C) and 90 °F (32 °C) in summer, and up to 109 °F (43 °C) on the Red Sea coast. Temperatures average between 55 °F (13 °C) and 70 °F (21 °C) in winter. A steady wind from the northwest helps hold down the temperature near the Mediterranean coast. The Khamaseen is a wind that blows from the south in Egypt in spring, bringing sand and dust, and sometimes raises the temperature in the desert to more than 100 °F (38 °C).
Every year, a predictable flooding of the Nile replenishes Egypt's soil. This gives the country consistent harvest throughout the year. Many know this event as The Gift of the Nile.
The rise in sea levels due to global warming threatens Egypt's densely populated coastal strip and could have grave consequences for the country's economy, agriculture and industry. Combined with growing demographic pressures, a rise in sea levels could turn millions of Egyptians into environmental refugees by the end of the century, according to climate experts.
Governorates and regions
Egypt is divided into 29 governorates. The governorates are further divided into regions. The regions are then subdivided into towns and villages.
Each governorate has a capital, often carrying the same name as the governorate.
The tables (below) list the governorates in alphabetical order. In April 2008, Cairo and Giza have divided to 4 governorates, the new governorates are 6th of October and Helwan beside Cairo and Giza
Governorate Capital Location
Alexandria Alexandria Northern
Aswan Aswan Upper
Asyut Asyut Upper
Beheira Damanhur Lower
Beni Suef Beni Suef Upper
Cairo Cairo Middle
Dakahlia Mansura Lower
Damietta Damietta Lower
Faiyum Faiyum Upper
Gharbia Tanta Lower
Giza Giza Upper
Helwan Helwan Middle
Ismailia Ismailia Canal
Kafr el-Sheikh Kafr el-Sheikh Lower
Governorate Capital Location
Matruh Mersa Matruh Western
Minya Minya Upper
Monufia Shibin el-Kom Lower
New Valley Kharga Western
North Sinai Arish Sinai
Port Said Port Said Canal
Qalyubia Banha Lower
Qena Qena Upper
Red Sea Hurghada Eastern
Sharqia Zagazig Upper
Sohag Sohag Upper
South Sinai el-Tor Sinai
Suez Suez Canal
6th of October 6th of October Middle
Main article: Economy of Egypt
View of Cairo from Cairo tower
Egypt's economy depends mainly on agriculture, media, petroleum exports, and tourism; there are also more than three million Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and Europe. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970 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, limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress the economy.
The government has struggled to prepare the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investments in communications and physical infrastructure. Egypt has been receiving U.S. foreign aid (since 1979, an average of $2.2 billion per year) and is the third-largest recipient of such funds from the United States following the Iraq war. Its main revenues however come from tourism as well as traffic that goes through the Suez Canal.
Egypt has a developed energy market based on coal, oil, natural gas, and hydro power. Substantial coal deposits are in the north-east Sinai, and are mined at the rate of about 600,000 tonnes (590,000 LT; 660,000 ST) per year. Oil and gas are produced in the western desert regions, the Gulf of Suez, and the Nile Delta. Egypt has huge reserves of gas, estimated at 1,940 cubic kilometres, and LNG is exported to many countries.
Economic conditions have started to improve considerably after a period of stagnation from the adoption of more liberal economic policies by the government, as well as increased revenues from tourism and a booming stock market. In its annual report, the IMF has rated Egypt as one of the top countries in the world undertaking economic reforms. Some major economic reforms taken by the new government since 2003 include a dramatic slashing of customs and tariffs. A new taxation law implemented in 2005 decreased corporate taxes from 40% to the current 20%, resulting in a stated 100% increase in tax revenue by the year 2006.
Tourists ride in traditional Nile boat.
FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into Egypt has increased considerably in the past few years due to the recent economic liberalization measures taken by minister of investment Mahmoud Mohieddin, exceeding $6 billion in 2006.
Although one of the main obstacles still facing the Egyptian economy is the trickle down of the wealth to the average population, many Egyptians criticize their government for higher prices of basic goods while their standards of living or purchasing power remains relatively stagnant. Often corruption is blamed by Egyptians as the main impediment to feeling the benefits of the newly attained wealth. Major reconstruction of the country's infrastructure is promised by the government, with a large portion of the sum paid for the newly acquired 3rd mobile license ($3 billion) by Etisalat.
The best known examples of Egyptian companies that have expanded regionally and globally are the Orascom Group and Raya. The IT sector has been expanding rapidly in the past few years, with many new start-ups conducting outsourcing business to North America and Europe, operating with companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and other major corporations, as well as numerous SME's. Some of these companies are the Xceed Contact Center, Raya Contact Center, E Group Connections and C3 along with other start ups in that country. The sector has been stimulated by new Egyptian entrepreneurs trying to capitalize on their country's huge potential in the sector, as well as constant government encouragement.