Long known for its pyramids and ancient civilisation, Egypt is the largest Arab country and has played a central role in Middle Eastern politics in modern times.
In the 1950s President Gamal Abdul Nasser pioneered Arab nationalism and the non-aligned movement, while his successor Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel and turned back to the West.
Egypt’s teeming cities – and almost all agricultural activity – are concentrated along the banks of the Nile, and on the river’s delta. Deserts occupy most of the country.
The economy depends heavily on agriculture, tourism and cash remittances from Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.
However, rapid population growth and the limited amount of arable land are straining the country’s resources and economy, and political unrest has often paralysed government efforts to address the
- ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT
- Capital: Cairo
- Population 83.9 million
- Area 1 million sq km (386,874 sq miles)
- Main language Arabic
- Main religions Islam, Christianity
- Life expectancy 72 years (men), 76 years (women)
- Currency Egyptian Pound