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World Mission

Egypt

Basic info

Neighbouring countries are Gaza Strip, Israel, Libya and Sudan. Egypt is strategically placed, controlling the only land bridge from Africa, the Sinai desert, and the Suez Canal. It plays a central role in Arab-Israeli politics.
  • Area: 385,229 square miles
  • Population: 96,474,100
  • Infant mortality: 19 per 1000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 71.32
  • Urbanisation: 49%
  • Literacy: 67%

History

The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled with semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed for the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C., and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia. The last native dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It was the Arabs who introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and who ruled for the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 elevated Egypt as an important world transportation hub. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty from Britain in 1952. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have reaffirmed the time-honored place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to meet the demands of Egypt's population through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure. Inspired by the 2010 Tunisian revolution, Egyptian opposition groups led demonstrations and labor strikes countrywide, culminating in President Hosni MUBARAK's ouster in 2011. Egypt's military assumed national leadership until a new parliament was in place in early 2012; later that same year, Mohammed MORSI won the presidential election. Following often violent protests throughout the spring of 2013 against MORSI's government and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Armed Forces intervened and removed MORSI from power in July 2013 and replaced him with interim president Adly MANSOUR. In January 2014, voters approved a new constitution by referendum and in May 2014 elected former defense minister Abdelfattah ELSISI president. Egypt elected a new legislature in December 2015, the first parliament since 2012. ELSISI was reelected to a second four-year term in March 2018.

Environment

Nearly all hot desert, except for the Nile valley and delta. The Nile enters Egypt from Sudan and then flows 960 miles north to the sea. Egypt experiences hot dry summers and cool winters. Environmental hazards include drought, earthquakes, flash floods, landslides and sandstorms.

Economy

Egypt has achieved economic progress since the 1980s, although oil price fluctuations and the massacre of foreign tourists in Luxor in November 1997 have lost it foreign exchange earnings. About 40% of the labour force work in agriculture, 40% in services (including government) and 20% in industry. Egypt is rich in mineral resources like petroleum, natural gas, iron ore and phosphates. Its exports include crude oil and petroleum products, cotton products, textiles, metal products and chemicals. Tourism is important.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Groups(%)

Egyptian

86

Arab

6

Nubian

3

Berber

2

Gypsy

2

Other

1

Religion

Religion(%)

Muslim (mostly Sunni)

86

Orthodox (especially Coptic)

13

Protestant

1

Protestant Denominations

Anglican, Free Methodist, various Pentecostal and Charismatic, Presbyterian.

Languages

  • 68%

    Egyptian Arabic

  • 29%

    Saidi Arabic

  • 1.6%

    Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic

  • 0.6%

    Sudanese Arabic

  • 0.3%

    Domari

  • 0.3%

    Nobiin