Egypt Country Facts

By | June 5, 2024
مصر‎ Miṣr
Capital city Cairo
Surface 1,002,450 km²
Population 99,581,000
Road network length 47,500 km
Length of highway network 2,471 km
First highway ?
Motorway name ?
Traffic drives Right
License plate code ET

Egypt (Arabic: مِصر ‎ Miṣr) is a large country in northern Africa and western Asia. With nearly 100 million inhabitants, the country is the third most populous country on the continent. The country is approximately 25 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Cairo.


Egypt is mainly located in the north of Africa, with the Sinai in Asia. The Suez Canal forms the border between the two continents. To the north is the Mediterranean Sea, to the east the Red Sea. Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south and Israel to the east. The Hala’ib Triangle in the southeast is a disputed territory between Egypt and Sudan, but is under Egypt’s control. The Red Sea splits around Sinai into the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba, separating the country from Saudi Arabia. Egypt measures approximately 1,050 kilometers from north to south and 1,200 kilometers from east to west.

The Nile River (En-Nīl.) flows through Egypt) from south to north and splits north of the capital Cairo in the Nile Delta. The valley of the Nile and the Nile Delta are the only intensively cultivated areas of Egypt, the rest of the country consists mainly of uninhabited desert, with some oases here and there. The Moerismeer near Faiyum is 43 meters below sea level. In the northwest of Egypt lies the Qattara Depression which lies 133 meters below sea level. Egypt’s highest mountains are located in the Sinai and the extensive coastal region of the Red Sea. The 2,629 meter high Gebel Katherîna in the south of Sinai is the highest point in Egypt. Between the Nile and the Red Sea are mountains with peaks up to 1,900 meters. In the southwest in the Sahara there are plateaus about 1,000 meters above sea level.

Egypt has some large lakes. The Aswan Dam has created Lake Nasser, a 550-kilometer-long reservoir partly located in Sudan. West of Lake Nasser in the Sahara are the large Toshka Lakes, which are watered from Lake Nasser and only started growing in 1998. It eventually grew into one large lake of more than 1,300 km². The Fayum Depression also has some large lakes. Along the Mediterranean Sea are some large lagoon-like lakes, especially in the Nile Delta area, but also in the north of the Sinai.

The country has a hot and very dry desert climate, with high temperatures throughout the year. Cairo averages 25 mm of rainfall per year, mainly in winter. From April to October it rains on average less than 1 day per month. Egypt is the sunniest country in the world, some regions are almost cloudless all year round. In the immediate vicinity of the Mediterranean coast, there is more precipitation, up to 200 mm per year. Snow sometimes falls in the winter in the higher parts of the Sinai. Snow practically never occurs in Cairo. Average maximum temperatures range from 20°C in winter to 35°C in summer, although temperatures above 40°C are no exception. The Mediterranean coast has a slightly less hot climate due to a light sea breeze. The south of Egypt is unbearably hot in summer, in Luxor, the average maximum temperature 7 months of the year is between 35 and 41 °C. The average annual rainfall in Asyut is 0 mm.


Egypt was a planned economy for a long time in the 20th century, but in the late 1990s it transitioned into a market economy. Egypt’s economic growth since 2000 has been substantial, albeit partly due to very rapid population growth. The country was the world’s 40th largest economy in 2015 and is a regional power. The Egyptian army is the largest in the Middle East and an important pillar of the economy. The country receives military and economic support from the United States. Egypt has few agricultural areas to feed the large population: the country has to import most of the food. Desertification is a problem, although irrigation projects have been set up here and there in the desert. The economy is heavily dependent on the Nile River, without the Nile the country would consist entirely of barren desert.

Unlike many countries in the Middle East, Egypt does not have such large oil and gas reserves. The energy sector comprises less than 10 percent of GDP. Oil is mainly found in the Gulf of Suez and gas in the Nile Delta, the western desert and off the coast of the Mediterranean. Oil production decreases while gas production increases. The economy is also dependent on the (manufacturing) industry, especially textiles. The construction industry is large due to its rapidly growing population. Huge urban districts have been built in the desert around Cairo. Tourism plays an important role in Egypt, both for beach holidays on the Red Sea and cultural holidays around Cairo and in the Nile Valley. The tourism industry fluctuates greatly due to frequent unrest and terrorist attacks.


City Population
Cairo 12,230,000
Alexandria 5,046,000
Giza 4,028,000
Shubra El-Kheima 3,073,000
Port Said 1,607,000
suez 1,347,000

Egypt has a very fast growing population. Just after the Second World War, the country had about 18 million inhabitants. This grew to more than 30 million inhabitants in the 1970s and more than 60 million inhabitants after 2000. In 2017, the country has approximately 93 million inhabitants. Overpopulation is a serious problem, 99% of the inhabitants live on 5% of the land area, mainly in the Nile Delta and the Nile Valley. The capital Cairo is seriously overcrowded and in the desert to the west and east of the city very large expansion areas were realized after 2000, which are even larger than traditional Cairo. Egypt plans to build a new capital east of Cairo.

The capital of Egypt is Cairo, also the largest city with approximately 12.2 million inhabitants. Alexandria is the second largest city with more than 5 million inhabitants. Cairo’s suburbs of Giza (4 million) and Shubra El-Kheima (3 million) are larger than many cities in Europe. The cities of Port Said and Suez at the ends of the Suez Canal are the other cities with more than 1 million inhabitants. Luxor is the largest city in southern Egypt. The desert is very sparsely populated outside the Cairo region, large parts are virtually unpopulated in the west and east of Egypt. Some major tourist cities have been developed along the Red Sea, such as Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

Egypt has a young population, more than 30% of the inhabitants are under 14 years old and only 4% are older than 65 years. Egypt has relatively few minorities. The vast majority of the population are ethnic Egyptians. The main minorities are Bedouins in the Sinai and Nubians in the south. In Egypt people speak the Egyptian variety of Arabic, with the Arabic script. The spoken language is Egyptian Arabic while the written language is standard Arabic. English is the main foreign language, French is sometimes spoken.


Egypt is one of the oldest nation-states in the world, going back millennia. Unlike other peoples, the Egyptians have migrated little to other areas, their homeland has always been the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta. There are many archaeological sites in Egypt, the country is known for the temples, pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza. Over the years, the country has been under the rule of foreign powers such as Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Ottomans and finally the British. Egypt was a British protectorate between 1914 and 1922. The country then remained under British influence for a long time, the Second World War was also fought in western Egypt, first between the British and Italians, later with the Germans. The last British soldiers left the country in 1954.

Nasser came to power in 1954, who nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, after which the Suez Crisis took place. Israel, France and the United Kingdom tried to regain Western control of the Suez Canal, but were forced by the United States and the Soviet Union to abandon their invasion. Egypt and Syria formed between 1958 and 1961briefly a union, the United Arab Republic. It was also in association with North Yemen. Egyptian influence in Yemen has always been great. In the 1960s, Egypt was strongly influenced by the Soviet Union. In 1967, the Six-Day War, in which Israel occupied Sinai, followed. In 1970, Nasser died and Sadat became the president of Egypt. Sadat focused more on the United States, and in 1973 the Yom Kippur War was fought. In the late 1970s, Egypt was the first Arab country to normalize relations with Israel and in return got the Sinai back. In 1981, Sadat was assassinated by an Islamic extremist. He was succeeded by Mubarak, who continued Sadat’s foreign policy but improved relations with other Arab countries. The country was undergoing a very rapid population growth, especially around the capital Cairo. Terrorist attacks became more frequent from the 1980s onwards. In 2011, Mubarak was forced to resign from his post after protracted protests. After that, the first democratic elections in Egypt’s history were held, after which President Morsi came to power. He was deposed by the Egyptian army in 2013. Since 2014, el-Sisi has been the president of Egypt. The country faces ongoing unrest, particularly in the Sinai. Since 2014, el-Sisi has been the president of Egypt. The country faces ongoing unrest, particularly in the Sinai. Since 2014, el-Sisi has been the president of Egypt. The country faces ongoing unrest, particularly in the Sinai.


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