OFFICIAL NAME: Arab Republic of Egypt
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 1,001,449 Sq Km (386,559 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 66,706,800
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Egypt is located in the northeastern
corner of Africa. It is bound by Libya to the west, Sudan
to the south, the Red Sea to the east, the Mediterranean
Sea to the north and Israel to the northeast. Topographically,
the country can be divided into four regions. (1.) Wagh
al-Bahari or lower Egypt which is the broad alluvial Nile
Delta. (2.) The Western Desert which is an arid region covered
by vast rolling plains of sand, shifting dunes and large
depressions. (3.) The Eastern Desert or Arabian Desert which
is an elevated plateau broken by deep valleys. (4.) The
Sinai Peninsula which is separated from the bulk of Egypt
by the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The Sinai is a desert
region with mountains rising in the south. The Nile River
is not only the lifeline of Egypt it is also the longest
river in Africa. The country's largest lake is the manmade
Lake Nasser and others include Menzaleh, Brullos, Idku and
Mariut. Major Cities (pop. est.); Cairo 6,849,000, Alexandria
3,382,000, al-Jizah 2,144,000 (1994). Land Use; agricultural-cultivated
3%, urban, wasteland and other 97% (1993).
CLIMATE: The larger part of Egypt has a desert climate which
is hot and arid. There are two seasons, the cool winter season from November
to April, and the hot summer season from May to October, although temperatures
are often tempered strong offshore breezes. The period between March and
June is subject to the Khamsin which is a dust laden sandstorm that blows
from the Sahara in the south. Precipitation is limited to the coastal area
where it averages 200 mm (8 inches) per annum. Average temperature ranges
in Cairo are from 8 to 18 degrees Celsius (46 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit)
in January to 21 to 36 degrees Celsius (70 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit) in
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Egyptians who account
for 99.8% of the population and are of eastern Hamitic origin. The remainder
are made up of the following ethnic groups, Bedouin Arabs, Nubians, Greeks,
Italians and Maltese.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 55 persons per sq km (142
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 43.9% urban, 56.1% rural (1986).
Sex Distribution; 51.1% male, 48.9% female (1989). Life Expectancy at Birth;
59.0 years male, 62.1 years female (1986). Age Breakdown; 42% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 16% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1986).
Birth Rate; 37.5 per 1,000 (1988). Death Rate; 8.6 per 1,000 (1988). Increase
Rate; 28.9 per 1,000 (1988). Infant Mortality Rate; 45.1 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The official religion is Islam with over 95% of the
population Sunni Muslims. The remainder are mainly Coptic Christians.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Arabic which is spoken by
the majority of the population, although other important minority languages
include Coptic, Nubian and Berber.
EDUCATION: Aged 15 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
70.6%, primary and secondary 25.3%, higher 4.1% (1986). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 15,470,000 or 48.4% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1947 the UN voted to divide
Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. With the establishment
of Israel in Palestine in 1948, Egypt and other Arab countries immediately
went to war with Israel but were defeated. This resulted in serious rioting
in Cairo and the assassination of a number of politicians. In July 1952
a discontented army group known as the Free Officers Movement, seized power
and forced the abdication of King Farouk. During the first two years of
military rule Gen. Mohammad Naguib shared power with Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser
and the republic was proclaimed on June 18, 1953. However, the two could
not agree politically and Nasser established an unchallenged rule over
Egypt. Its relations with Israel had worsened due to Egypt's support of
Palestinian Arabs who raided Israel from the Gaza Strip. In Jan. 1956 Nasser
proclaimed a new constitution and the following year after elections Egypt
became a single party state. In the same year Nasser nationalized the Suez
Canal Company and in response Britain and France encouraged an Israeli
invasion of Egypt which took place on Oct. 29 1956. Israel quickly occupied
most of the Sinai Peninsula and when Egypt refused to the Anglo-French
ultimatum for a ceasefire as well as a withdrawal, both countries began
bombing Cairo while Port Said was captured by Anglo-French invasion force.
Pressure from both the UN and the strong US opposition resulted in a cease-fire
and a UN supervised Anglo-French withdrawal. Nasser strongly believed in
the unity of Arab countries and in 1958 Egypt and Syria became the United
Arab Republic (UAR). Syria eventually withdrew from the UAR three years
later, but Egypt kept UAR as its official name. In 1961 Egypt severed ties
with Yemen (Sana) and in 1967 Arab-Israeli tensions erupted in what was
known as the Six Day War after Egyptian sponsored Palestinian guerrillas
attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip. The war was a territorial and military
disaster for the Arab countries with Egypt losing the Gaza Strip as well
as the Sinai Peninsula. After Nasser's death in 1970, Anwar Sadat was elected
as President. Sadat dismantled Nasser's socialist planning and encouraged
private enterprise. In 1971 Egypt was officially named the Arab Republic
of Egypt. In Oct. 1973 an unexpected and unsuccessful military assault
was launched across the Suez Canal against the Israelis on the Sinai Peninsula.
In 1975 an agreement was reached in which Israel removed its troops from
part of the Sinai that it had occupied since 1967. During 1976 Egypt returned
to a multiparty state. In Nov. 1977 Sadat became the first Arab leader
to visit Israel and with US mediation the two sides agreed to a peace agreement
known as the Camp David Accord in Oct. 1978. It guaranteed the return of
the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and called for the creation of a peace treaty
between Egypt and Israel which was signed in Mar. 1979. As a result, Egypt
was removed from the Arab League in 1979. In Oct. 1981 Sadat was assassinated
by Muslim fundamentalists and was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak. Throughout
the early 1980's there have been waves of unrest in protest to economic
hardships which have been repressed resulting in mass arrests and imprisonments.
In 1984 Jordan reestablished diplomatic relations with Egypt in the hope
to revive the Middle East peace process. In May 1989 Egypt returned to
the Arab League and in 1990 the headquarters of the organization were returned
to Cairo. In Oct. 1990 the speaker of the People's Assembly, Rifaat al-Mahgoub
was assassinated by Islamic militants. In Jan. 1991 military debts of $5.8
billion to the US and $7 billion to the Gulf states were written off as
a reward for Egypt's support in the Gulf War. On Oct. 8, 1991 Egypt adopted
a single exchange rate for the pound as part of an INF promise for assistance.
On Nov. 21, 1991 Egypt's Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros Ghali was
elected as secretary-general of the UN Security Council. In 1991 Egypt
contributed more than 35,000 troops as well as tanks and heavy artillery
to the US-led coalition that resulted in the liberation of Kuwait in Jan.
1991 after Iraq's earlier Aug. 1990 invasion. In late 1991 Egypt gave its
support to the US initiative aimed at a regional and comprehensive Arab-Israeli
peace conference. On May 8, 1991 Pres. Mubarak announced that all Egyptian
troops would be withdrawn from the Gulf within three months in contrast
to the signing of the a Gulf peace and security agreement named the "Damascus
Declaration" in Mar. 1991. In a May Day address Pres. Mubarak announced
that party politics were "inadequate" in terms of popular participation
and called for internal change within the political hierarchy. On June
1, 1991 the government renewed the emergency detention laws for another
three years. Also in 1991 there were price increases in essential services
and sharp increases in spending on social services, pensions and benefits.
In 1992 Islamic fundamentalism increased with the banned organization al-Jama'a
al-Islamiya calling for the destruction of the Pharaonic monuments as "pagan
sites" and orchestrated armed attacks on tourists. The attacks by
armed militants were concentrated along a 210 km (130 mi) stretch of road
560 km (350 mi) south of Cairo. In June 1992 Farag Foda a well-known writer
and translator of western literature was assassinated by the same organization
that claimed responsibility for the Oct. 1990 assassination of the Assembly
speaker. In July 1992 police arrested 16 suspects and 6 in Asyut province
where clashes with between militants and police occurred almost daily in
the preceding three weeks and had resulted in 12 deaths and 24 injured.
In Aug. 1992 violence erupted in the usually quite town of Idku after reports
that a local man had died as a result of police torture. On Oct. 12 1992
an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale caused widespread damage
throughout Cairo while killed 552 people, injured 6,500 and damages in
excess of $600 million. On Oct. 21, 1992 a British woman was killed and
two men injured after a bus was ambushed by militants near Dayrut, their
stronghold. Also in 1992 Egypt responded favorably to the Israeli election
of Yitzhak Rabin in June, while Pres. Mubarak was involved in high-level
international diplomatic missions throughout the year with visits to Libya,
Sudan and further involvement in the Damascus Declaration. In 1993 the
continuation of Islamic fundamentalism was a top priority for the government
with tourism arrivals severely slumping following some 200 deaths in the
preceding 18 months. In March 1993 militant activities resulted in the
bloodiest month with 45 people being killed in bomb attacks, raids and
shoot outs between extremists and security forces. In April 1993 the interior
minister was sacked after sanctioning mediation talks with the militants
and was replaced with a former Asyut governor, Hassan Muhammad al-Alfi.
On June 8, 1993 a bomb was thrown on a tourist bus in Giza's Pyramid Road
that killed one woman and wounded several others while later in the year
two Americans and a Frenchman were gunned down as they dined at a Cairo
hotel. On Aug. 14, 1993 a civil judge acquitted Islamic fundamentalists
thought to be responsible for the assassination of the Assembly speaker
in Oct. 1990, as evidence had allegedly been extracted through torture.
On Aug. 18, 1993 a bomb was detonated by terrorists as Alfi's motorcade
approached the Interior Ministry building that resulted in 5 deaths and
16 wounded including Alfi. On Nov. 25 1993 Prime Minister Sedki escaped
injury in a car-bomb attack that claimed the life of a school girl and
wounded 21 others. On Dec. 29, 1993 government forces arrested a number
of militants thought to be planning a number of assassinations. In 1993
Jordan's King Hussein visited Cairo which put an end to three years of
bitter relations following the Gulf War while Egypt also supported the
Middle East peace process. Also during the year Pres. Mubarak undertook
a tour of the GCC states in an attempt to isolate Iran, which had been
accused of backing the Islamic militants and their activities, and Egypt
requested the extradition from the US of the spiritual leader of the al-Jama'a
al-Islamiya over alleged involvement in violence in 1989.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Pound (EP) divided into
1,000 Milliemes, 100 Piastres and 5 Tallaris.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $36,679,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $36,603,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $10,715,600,000 (1994).
Exports; USD $3,064,800,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,332,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; USD $ -7,651,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 16,013,000 or 27.8% of total population (1994). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Japan.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Barley, Beans, Buffaloes, Cattle, Clover,
Cotton, Goats, Gypsum, Iron Ore, Lead, Lentils, Limestone, Maize, Manganese,
Millet, Oil and Natural Gas, Phosphates, Rice, Sea Salt, Sugar Cane, Sheep,
Talc, Wheat, Zinc.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Aluminum, Cement, Chemicals, Fertilizers,
Food Processing, Iron and Steel, Military Equipment, Oil Refining, Petrochemicals,
MAIN EXPORTS: Crude Oil, Cotton, Fruit and Vegetables, Rice, Textiles.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 5,355 km (3,327 mi) (1986),
passenger-km 34,876,000,000 (21,671,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo
ton-km 2,868,335,000 (1,964,523,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length
45,500 km (28,272 mi) (1989). Vehicles; cars 826,915 (1989), trucks and
buses 550,649 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 435 (1990), deadweight tonnage
1,824,632 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 5,998,303,000 (3,720,958,000
passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 143,982,000 (98,613,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 16 with a total circulation
of 2,426,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 16,450,000 (1994). Television; receivers
5,000,000 (1994). Telephones; units 2,374,800 (1993).
MILITARY: 436,000 (1993) total active duty personnel with 71.1%
army, 3.7% navy and 25.2% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 4.3% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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