Egypt is located in Northern Africa, to the west of the Sinai Peninsula and Suez Canal. The Nile River and its delta influence a large part of the country’s geography, water, and humidity in turn influencing cultivation of crops and supporting trade (CIA, 2013). According to the CIA World Factbook (2013), the land mass of Egypt is just over 1,000,000 square miles with 6,000 square kilometers of water, a “vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta” and barely 4% arable land (para. 4). Libya sits to the west and the Red Sea to the East, with the Sudan at Egypt’s southern border.
Egypt’s major ethnic groups are comprised of native Egyptians who speak Arabic, and smaller ethnic groups such as the Beja, Bedouin and Berbers. However, Egyptian Muslims, primarily Sunni, comprised 90% of the country’s population (CIA, 2013).
The country’s population reaches over 85,000,000 and is majority Muslim, and 9% Coptic Christian (CIA, 2013). According to Goldschmidt of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Egypt has the fastest growing population amongst all Arab nations and is the most populous country in the Middle East. Egypt’s age demographics are fascinating in that 32% of the population is 14 or under, and another 38% between the ages of 25 and 54, making the populous incredibly young with a median age of 24.8 years (CIA, para. 4).
The culture of Egypt is distinct in that there are vast metropolises such as Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and Port Said. The country enjoys an rich history in ancient civilization, and has been greatly shaped by the Nile River via food production, travel and commerce. According to Goldschmidt, two-thirds of the country’s people live in urban areas, and the majority live within the Nile River delta plains. Various languages are spoken throughout the country in addition to Arabic, and English and French are understood by academic and educated groups (Goldschmidt, 2013, p. 5).
The vast majority, around 90%, of the people in Egypt are practicing Muslims (CIA, 2013). Another 9% are Coptic Christians, an ancient sect that dates back to the first century after Christ.
Ancient Egypt was one of the few civilizations of the Ancient World that reached epic greatness in terms of its infrastructure, architecture, governance, and art. In modern times, Egypt was under British colonial rule from 1882 to 1952, and closed with the Egyptian Revolution for independence (Goldschmidt, 2013). After the revolution, Egypt was established as a republic, but with a president and ruling party who exercised “authoritarian control” and decades of unrest culminated in the uprisings and Egyptian Revolution of 2011 (Goldschmidt, para. 7). Unfortunately, the youth driven revolution of 2011 resulted in tighter military control and a near police state, according to the BBC’s World Report on Egypt.
The economy of Egypt has recently been in the process of diversifying and is based upon goods such as (CIA, 2013). crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals, agriculture, and fishing.
The present government is a multi-party system with an Interim President and Prime Minister. The government is a republic and features executive, legislative and judicial branches of government with a standard checks and balances system (CIA, 2013). Elections are held for political officials and are open to popular vote.
In the 1970s, Egypt began to open its economic policies and invest in infrastructure and power, primarily in major hydroelectric projects and dams. According the CIA World Factbook, Egypt’s water quality and access to potable water have increased to meet the needs of all citizens (at 100% in urban areas) and healthcare and sanitation have improved in the last 3 decades.
Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
Some NGOs present in Egypt today are the Human Rights First, UNESCO, The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists and the World Health Organization (Egypt NGO Center, 2009). Also, international religious organizations such as the Christian Aid and World Service are active but regulated. A couple main indigenous religious organizations of Egypt are the Coptic Catholic Church and native Nile River Egyptians. Although there are some NGOs present, the government strictly regulates their presence (Goldschmidt, 2013).
- BBC News. (2013, Dec 18). Egypt Profile. Retrieved from
- Central Intelligence Agency. (2013). Egypt. Retrieved from
- Goldschmidt, A. E. (2013). Egypt. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from
- Egypt NGO Center. (2009). Directory List of Egypt NGO. Retrieved from http://ngocenter-eg.org/