Geographic and Governmental Profile of Egypt

Background
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. Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt. 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 with the overthrow of the British-backed monarchy in 1952. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered 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 growing population through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure. Egyptian youth and opposition groups, inspired by events in Tunisia leading to overthrow of the government there, organized a "Day of Rage" campaign on 25 January 2011 (Police Day) to include non-violent demonstrations, marches, and labor strikes in Cairo and other cities throughout Egypt. Protester grievances focused on police brutality, state emergency laws, lack of free speech and elections, high unemployment, rising food prices, inflation, and low minimum wages. Within several days of the onset of protests, President MUBARAK addressed the nation pledging the formation of a new government, and in a second address he offered additional concessions, which failed to assuage protesters and resulted in an escalation of the number and intensity of demonstrations and clashes with police. On 11 February MUBARAK resigned and national leadership was assumed by a Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). The SCAF dissolved the Egyptian parliament, suspended the nation's constitution, and formed a committee to recommend constitutional changes to facilitate a political transition through democratic elections. Following some delays, elections for a new parliament took place between November 2011 and January 2012. Presidential elections held in May and June witnessed the victory of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed MURSI over former Prime Minister Ahmed SHAFIQ.
Location
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula
Geographic coordinates
27 00 N, 30 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
1,001,450 sq km
rank:
30
land:
995,450 sq km
water:
6,000 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico
Land boundaries
total:
2,665 km
border countries:
Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,273 km
Coastline
2,450 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Terrain
vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Qattara Depression -133 m
highest point:
Mount Catherine 2,629 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, rare earth elements, zinc
Land use
arable land:
2.92%
permanent crops:
0.5%
other:
96.58% (2005)
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Irrigated land
35,300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
86.8 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
68.3 cu km/yr (8%/6%/86%)
per capita:
923 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes; flash floods; landslides; hot, driving windstorms called khamsin occur in spring; dust storms; sandstorms
Environment - current issues
agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; limited natural freshwater resources away from the Nile, which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, a sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics; dependence on upstream neighbors; dominance of Nile basin issues; prone to influxes of refugees from Sudan and the Palestinian territories
Country name
conventional long form:
Arab Republic of Egypt
conventional short form:
Egypt
local long form:
Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah
local short form:
Misr
former:
United Arab Republic (with Syria)
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Cairo
geographic coordinates:
30 03 N, 31 15 E
time difference:
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
27 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazat); Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar (Red Sea), Al Buhayrah, Al Fayyum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah (Alexandria), Al Isma'iliyah (Ismailia), Al Jizah (Giza), Al Minufiyah, Al Minya, Al Qahirah (Cairo), Al Qalyubiyah, Al Uqsur (Luxor), Al Wadi al Jadid (New Valley), As Suways (Suez), Ash Sharqiyah, Aswan, Asyut, Bani Suwayf, Bur Sa'id (Port Said), Dumyat (Damietta), Janub Sina' (South Sinai), Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh, Qina, Shamal Sina' (North Sinai), Suhaj
Independence
28 February 1922 (from UK protectorate status; the revolution that began on 23 July 1952 led to a republic being declared on 18 June 1953 and all British troops withdrawn on 18 June 1956); note - it was ca. 3200 B.C. that the Two Lands of Upper (southern) and Lower (northern) Egypt were first united politically
Constitution
provisional constitution passed by referendum 19 March 2011; adopted 30 March 2011
Legal system
mixed legal system based on Napoleonic civil law and Islamic religious law; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative decisions)
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Muhammad MURSI (since 30 June 2012); vice president Mohamed MEKKY (since 13 August 2012)
head of government:
Prime Minister Hisham QANDIL (since 24 July 2012)
cabinet:
Prime Minister GANZOURI asked to form a new government on 27 November 2011
elections:
presidential election (first round held on 23-24 May 2012; runoff held on 16-17 June 2012
election results:
percent of vote (first round) - Mohammed MURSI 24.3%, Ahmed SHAFIQ 23.3%, Hamdin SABBAHI 20.4%, Abdul Moneim Aboul FOTOUH 17.2%, Amr MOUSSA 11.1, other 3.7%; (runoff) - Mohammed MURSI 51.7%, Ahmed SHAFIQ 48.3%
Legislative branch
bicameral system consists of the Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (Shura Council) that traditionally functions mostly in a consultative role (270 seats; 180 members elected by popular vote, 90 appointed by the president; members serve six-year terms; mid-term elections for half of the elected members) and the People's Assembly or Majlis al-Sha'b (508 seats; 498 members elected by popular vote, 64 seats reserved for women, 10 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections:
Advisory Council - last held in June 2010 (next to be held in 2012); People's Assembly - last held in three phases (two rounds each) between November 2011 and January 2012
election results:
Advisory Council - percent of vote by party - Democratic Alliance for Egypt 45%, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 28.6%, New Wafd Party 8.5%, Egyptian Bloc 5.4%, other 2.8%;; seats by party - Democratic Alliance for Egypt 105, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 45, New Wafd Party 14, Egyptian Bloc 8, other 4, independents 4, presidential appointees 90; People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - Democratic Alliance for Egypt 37.5%, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 27.8%, New Wafd Party 9.2%, Egyptian Bloc 8.9%, Al Wasat Party 3.7%, The Revolution Continues Alliance 2.8%, Reform and Development Party 2.2%, National Party of Egypt 1.6%, Freedom Party 1.9%, Egyptian Citizen Party 0.9%, other 3.7; seats by party - Democratic Alliance of Egypt 235, Alliance for Egypt (Islamic Bloc) 123, New Wafd Party 38, Egyptian Bloc 35, Al-Wasat 10, Reform and Development Party 9, The Revolution Continues Alliance 8, National Party of Egypt 5, Egyptian Citizen Party 4, Freedom Party 4, independents 21, other 6, SCAF appointees 10
the Supreme Court on 14 June 2012 dissolved the People's Assembly; lawsuit to dissolve the Advisory Council is pending
Judicial branch
Supreme Constitutional Court
Political parties and leaders
Al-Wasat Party; Democratic Alliance for Egypt (includes Freedom and Justice Party, Dignity Party, Socialist Labour Party, Ghad El-Thawra Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Generation Party, Egyptian Arab Socialist Party); Democratic Peace Party; Egyptian Bloc (includes Free Egyptians Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, National Progressive Unionist Party); Egyptian Citizen Party; Freedom Party; Islamic Bloc (includes Al Nour, Building and Development Party, Authenticity Party); National Party of Egypt; New Wafd Party [Sayed EL-BEDAWY]; Reform and Development Party; The Revolution Continues Alliance (includes Socialist Party, Egyptian Alliance Party, Equality and Development Party, Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution)
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AU, BSEC (observer), CAEU, CICA, COMESA, D-8, EBRD, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Sameh Hassan SHOUKRY
chancery:
3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 895-5400
FAX:
[1] (202) 244-4319
consulate(s) general:
Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Ann W. PATTERSON
embassy:
8 Kamal El Din Salah St., Garden City, Cairo
mailing address:
Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900; 5 Tawfik Diab Street, Garden City, Cairo
telephone:
[20] (2) 2797-3300
FAX:
[20] (2) 2797-3200
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the national emblem (a gold Eagle of Saladin facing the hoist side with a shield superimposed on its chest above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic) centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white)
similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars in the white band, Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band, and Yemen, which has a plain white band
National symbol(s)
golden eagle
National anthem
name:
"Bilady, Bilady, Bilady" (My Homeland, My Homeland, My Homeland)
lyrics/music:
Younis-al QADI/Sayed DARWISH
adopted 1979; after the signing of the 1979 peace with Israel, Egypt sought to create an anthem less militaristic than its previous one; Sayed DARWISH, commonly considered the father of modern Egyptian music, composed the anthem
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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