+20 is the dialing code for Egypt.
On the fertile lands along the Nile, one of the world’s earliest high cultures emerged 5,000 years ago. Egypt, by its size, is still one of Africa’s most important political players, but now the country is characterized by deep class divisions and widespread social misery. During the so-called Arab Spring of 2011, the country’s longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted, but a few years later the power was regained by a political elite with strong support from the military, which has since held the country in an iron grip.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Egypt, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Egypt is located in northeastern Africa and also covers the Sinai Peninsula of Asia. It is a pronounced desert land with the Nile as life-giving pulse vein. The cultivated land lies in a narrow belt along the banks of the river. On the surface, Egypt is more than twice the size of Sweden.
The Nile has long been considered the world’s longest river (although it is now believed that the Amazon may be longer). It flows from south to north, about 160 km throughout the country, and forms a vast delta area on the Mediterranean coast.
To the west of the Nile Valley lies the Libyan Desert (or Western Desert), which begins already in the outskirts of Cairo. It consists mostly of large dunes and forms in a north-south direction a chain of sinks, located below the sea level. Oases exist where groundwater comes to the surface through so-called artesian wells (with self-pressure). The Arabian Desert (Eastern Desert), which extends from the Nile towards the Red Sea, is mountainous with peaks up to 2,000 meters above sea level.
At the city of Assuan (Aswan) in the south, Nile’s beaches are mountainous. Here lies the Assuan Dam (or the High Dam) and south of it the artificial Lake of Nasser extends into Sudan. The dam was built to provide Egypt with electricity and control the flow of the Nile. When Ethiopia similarly dams the Blue Nile, which is one of the largest tributaries, it causes tensions with Egypt and Sudan, which are both dependent on the Nile’s waters.
|Cultivated land||3.6 %|
|Land area||1001450 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||1.79 m|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||43.1 %|
|Death rate||4.77 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||76.47 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||71.06 years|
|Birth rate||22.9 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||21.55 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||155300 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per inhabitant||313.1 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||57600 million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||36 million tons|
|Internet users||48.3 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||110 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||45 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||12.8% of the workforce|
|GDP||11800 per resident|
|Primary occupations||32 %|
|Secondary profession||17 %|
|Tertiary professions||51 %|
The Sinai Peninsula is separated from the rest of the country by the Suez Canal and is dominated by the desert. There is Egypt’s highest mountain, Katrina, at just over 2,600 meters above sea level.
Almost all of Egypt has a dry and warm desert climate. In the summer it is hot, temperatures above 40 degrees. In winter, comfortable temperatures prevail. In the desert, nights are cold during winter.
On the Mediterranean coast and in the Nile delta the climate is humid and along the coast, rain falls in winter. In the spring, hard and dry sandy winds, khamsin, blow from the desert in the southwest.
1 002 000 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Libya, Sudan, Israel (and the Gaza Strip)
Capital with number of residents
Cairo 9,700,000 (Sources: Allcitypopulation.com)
Other major cities
Alexandria 3,900,000, Giza 2,500,000, Shubra al-kheima 1,000,000, Port Said 555,000, Suez 506,000 (Estimated 2007)
Katrina (2,637 m asl)
New media law adopted
According to a new decision, President Sisi will appoint a council with the power to fine the media and force them to withdraw published material. The Media Council must also approve and withdraw permits for foreign media.
Bombing the cathedral requires many lives
A suicide bomber strikes during an evening worship service in a chapel next to Coptic St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. The death toll eventually rises to 29. The government is accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the blast. The Brotherhood denies all interference, while IS takes on the deed.
Police killed in attack in Cairo
Six police officers die and three are injured when an explosive charge explodes on the main road to the Giza pyramids. A new group called Hasm (Determination) takes on the deed. According to the security forces, the group is an armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Military presence in Syria is denied
The Foreign Ministry rejects information in Arab media that Egyptian military is on the ground in civil war in Syria. President Sisi has recently expressed support for Syria’s military, and thus appears to be growing in opposition to Saudi Arabia, which is supporting opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Soldiers killed in bombing
Eight soldiers die when a car bomb is triggered at a roadblock on the Sinai Peninsula and a firefight ensues. Three attackers must also have been killed.
The death penalty against Mursi is abolished
The cassation court orders a new trial against the deposed president and five other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Life sentences against 21 other Brotherhood members were also revoked. The case concerns a mass escape from a prison during the 2011 uprising, where Mursi himself was imprisoned. One of three long prison sentences against Mursi is also canceled, a week later.
The IMF approves loans
The International Mortgage Institution gives the go-ahead for a $ 12 billion three-year loan. $ 2.75 billion is to be paid out immediately and the rest provided the reform work continues and development goes in the right direction.
The currency is allowed to float
The central bank decides to allow the Egyptian pound to float, which means it loses almost 50 percent against the dollar in relation to the value the bank tried to maintain. The measure is a demand from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from which Egypt requested loans due to the deep economic crisis in the country. The budget deficit is estimated at 12 percent of GDP. The currency change will make imported goods more expensive.
Soldiers killed at roadblock
Twelve soldiers die and six are injured in an attack on a roadblock on the Sinai Peninsula. IS takes on the attack. According to authorities, 15 “terrorists” were killed, a statement that IS rejected in a statement.
Schism with Saudi Arabia
Egypt ends up in an open dispute with the neighboring giant after voting for a Russian motion for a resolution in the UN Security Council on Syria, a proposal which the Saudis decided against. Soon after, Saudi oil company Saudi Aramco stops deliveries to Egypt, despite the April agreement that included oil promises for five years.
Brotherhood leader killed
A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Kamal, is said to have been killed in a firefight with the Home Office forces and another member. Kamal had been sentenced to life imprisonment in his absence. According to the Interior Ministry, he belonged to the group’s armed branch, whose existence the Brotherhood itself denies.
Officers are shot to death in Sinai
Five conscientious police officers are killed in al-Arish, capital of North Sinai province. Just a few days earlier, three other police officers and their driver were shot dead in the city, in an act taken by the Sinai province. Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed since Mursi was toppled in 2013.
Appeal against human rights representatives
A court orders that assets be frozen for five prominent human rights activists and three organizations. All are accused of receiving money from abroad and using them to damage the security of the nation. The accused risk up to 25 years in prison.
IS leaders reportedly killed
The military claims to have killed Abu Duaa al-Ansari, leader of IS in Sinai. In total, more than 45 “terrorists” should have been killed in the strike.
Corruption fighters convicted
Former Chief of the Audit Office, Hisham Geneina, is sentenced to one year in prison and fined for exaggerating the cost of corruption in the country. Geneina was deposed in March by President Sisi, after stating that he discovered multi-billion-dollar corruption between 2012 and 2015. Geneina, who is appealing the verdict and released conditionally, claims that the trial is political.
Hundreds of “disappeared” in Egypt
Security forces have carried away and tortured hundreds of people over the past year, and many of them have disappeared without a trace – Amnesty International writes in a new report. Students, political activists and protesters are among those affected. The government has rejected all allegations of disappearance, but according to Amnesty, on average, three to four people are removed a day.
The Foreign Minister is visiting Israel
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a first such meeting in nearly a decade. It is a sign of the improved relations between neighboring countries; Israeli military has recently praised security cooperation in the fight against IS.
Mursi is given life in spying
The president is sentenced in a case where several defendants are accused of having handed documents to Qatar. Mursi’s lawyers say he was cleared of suspicion of suspicion but was convicted of belonging to an illegal organization. Six others are sentenced to death in the case, including two al-Jazira journalists who are, however, sentenced in their absence. Mursi has previously been sentenced in several other cases, to death and life imprisonment.
Muslim Brotherhood leaders receive life sentence
Mohammed Badie and 35 others are sentenced to life imprisonment because of the unrest in connection with the overthrow of Mursi. In other trials, Badie has been sentenced to death as well as to imprisonment. A further 48 people receive imprisonment between 3 and 15 years, while 20 are released.
Egypt Air plane crashes
A passenger plane en route from Paris to Cairo crashes in the Mediterranean with 66 people aboard. It is unclear what happened, but suspicions are immediately raised about a new terrorist act. Whatever the reason, a third airplane incident in a short period of time (see October 2015 and March 2016) represents another setback for important tourism.
Eight police officers shot dead on the outskirts of Cairo
The civilian-dressed police officers were killed when four men opened fire on the van they were traveling in. The Sinai Province is taking on the deed. The Islamist group has recently carried out several attacks against police in Cairo.
Island transfer triggers protests
Some 50 activists defy the general ban on unauthorized demonstrations and gather in Cairo to protest the regime. The protests are aimed at the government’s decision during the Saudi king’s state visit earlier this month to transfer the two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Sisi is criticized for having sold the islands in exchange for a multi-billion dollar Saudi aid and investment package. The police disperse the protesters with the help of tear gas. In May, a total of 152 people are sentenced to two and five years in prison respectively for participating in the protests.
Criticism from France
During a state visit to Egypt, French President François Hollande strongly criticizes the Egyptian regime for human rights violations.
The Minister of External Affairs receives prison for corruption
Former Agriculture Minister Salah Helal (see September 2015) is sentenced to ten years in prison for receiving bribes. His chief of staff receives the same length of imprisonment and both are also fined.
Saudi King on State Visit
King Salman ends a five-day visit as he expressed strong support for Sisi’s government and promised investments in the multi-billion class. Salman has also reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s strong support for the Egyptian regime’s fight against IS on the Sinai Peninsula. In connection with the meeting, the countries agree that two uninhabited Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, should belong to Saudi Arabia.
Domestic flight hijacked
A plane on its way from Alexandria to Cairo was cut by a man forcing the pilot to fly to Cyprus. After eight hours the drama is over without anyone getting hurt. The hijacker seems most confused and his bomb belt proves false. However, the drama shows that security at Egyptian airports is still slim (see also October 2015). In 2019, the pilot is sentenced to life imprisonment.
The UN is concerned about human rights in Egypt
UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Raad al-Hussein expresses great concern that hundreds of civil society organizations have been forced to close or have their assets frozen, and that many human rights activists have been brought to justice.
13 police killed in Sinai
IS takes on what the authorities describe as a grenade attack on a roadblock and calls it the bloodiest attack in months. IS states that a suicide bomber struck the roadblock. Five attackers must also have been killed in gunfire near the scene.
Justice Minister kicked
the 13th of March
Ahmed al-Zind is allowed to go after he said in a television interview that the very same prophet Muhammad would go to prison if he broke the law.
“Terrorism behind Russian aircraft crash”
al-Sisi admits for the first time that it was an act of terror that caused the Russian aircraft to crash (see October and November 2015), something he previously dismissed as “propaganda”. The aim was, according to the president, to damage Egypt’s tourism industry and relations with Russia. He does not designate any particular group.
Death sentences are torn down
A court orders new trial against 149 members of the Muslim Brotherhood regarding the attack on the Kerdasa police station (see December 2014 and February 2015)
Tighter security ahead of the anniversary of the revolution
Police are posted near Tahrir Square for the fifth anniversary of January 25. The raids have been carried out in about 5,000 homes in central Cairo in the days before, to try to prevent protests against President Sisi. Some activists have been arrested and others have gone underground. Human rights activists, both Egyptian and foreign, say the situation is worse than ever before in the country.
Police killed on Sinai Peninsula
Five police officers are killed when suspected jihadists open fire on a roadblock in North Sinai. Three are also injured in the attack. The perpetrators get away.
Explosion near the pyramids
At least seven people, including five police officers, were killed in a raid on an apartment near the Giza pyramids. An IS-affiliated group takes on the deed
Parliament is gathering
The 568 newly elected MPs gather for the first parliamentary session of over three years. They will appoint a President and two Vice-Presidents, as well as a position on over 300 laws in two weeks.
Attack on tourist hotel
An attack on a hotel in Hurghada on the Red Sea is a new blow to the tourism industry. Three tourists – including a Swedish – are injured in the attack, which ends with a perpetrator being shot dead and one injured.