Egypt-- Geography --
Official Name: Àrab Republic of Egypt
Capital City: Cairo
Languages: Arabian – Egyptian – Arabic dialect, Nubian.
Official Currency: Egyptian pound
Religions: muslims , others
Land Area: 1 , 001, 450 sq km
Landforms: Egypt is situated over wide deserted plateau, crossed by the valley and delta of River Nile.
Administrated divisions: 28 areas, called muhafazi .
Geographical location: Egypt is situated in the North-East part of Africa with population pointed mainly around the bank of the River Nile. On the south it reaches the sandy deserts of Sudan, on the north it bounds with the Mediterranean Sea, on the east with the Red Sea which is famous with its coral reefs. The Egypt’s climate is deserted, with hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Confessional structure: Muslims -86.1%, Christians – 13.8% (monofizits – 88.9%, orthodox- 1.9%, uniates – 4.5%, protestants – 4.7%), others- 0.1%. City population – 46%. In Sinai 0.5% of Egypt population live.
Ethnical structure: Egyptian Arabs – 98.8%, Nubians – 0.6%; over 100 thousand people – nomads.
Egypt -- History --
Historical events and dates: 400 B.C – thhe birth of Egyptian civilization. The tribes protosemits, barbers and cushits were mixed up; 3500 B.C – formation of two kingdoms – Up and Down Egypt; 2500 B.C – begins the constructions of the pyramids – Pharaoh’s tombs; 1312 B.C – war with the hetis and Syria and Palestine conquesting; 525 B.C. – Kambis – the Persian king conquers Egypt; 331 B.C – Alexander The Great conquers Egypt. Town of Alexandria is founded. 30 B.C – Egypt becomes a roman province; 395 B.C. – it becomes a part of Byzantium Empire; 639-642- Egypt is conquered by the Arabic. 642-648 egypt is included of the Omeadic possession and later of Abasidities possession. Islam is spread over and the Arabic culture is developed. 969-1171 – political and cultural bloom with the Fathimids. 1171-1250 – the tubidies ruled.1250-1517 – Egypt is ruled by mameluks. 1517 – Conquered by the Turkish and possessed by the Ottoman Empire. 1798-1801- a part of Egypt is conquered by the army of Napoleon I. 1805 – Muhamad Ali is proclaimed as independent ruler. 1869 – the Suez Channel was found; Egypt is dependent economically by the European countries. 1876- Egypt suffers bankruptcy and is set under the financial control of Great Britain, France and other countries. 1882- Great Britain occupies Egypt (from 1914 Egypt is officially British protectorate). 1919 – 21 – Egyptian wars. 1922- British authorities proclaim Egypt as independent kingdom. In the country there are still British armies and the economical and political control are preserved. 1936- The British-Egyptian contract proclaims the Independence of Egypt. 1936-52 – king Faruk I rules; national and social rebellions. 23 July 1952 – July Revolution in Egypt. 1953- Egypt is proclaimed as republic, the G.A Nasar’s Government achieves to evacuate British armies. 1956 – Nationalization off British-French company which rules the Suez Channel and provoke the Suez Crisis. 1958 – Egypt and Syria become one country - United Arabic Republic (UAR), 1961 – Syria comes out from UAR. 1967- After six days war with Israel, part of Egypt is occupied. 1970-81 – the president of Egypt is A. Sadat. 1971- UAR becomes Arabic Republic Egypt (ARE); a new construction is approved. 6th October 1973 – Campaign against Israel. 1979 – Egypt signed separatist’s agreement with Israel in Camp David (USA), sentenced by the Arabic countries. 1981 – After Sadat’s murder, Mubarak became president of Egypt, re-elected (in 1987, 1993, 1999, and 2005). Under the offence of Muslims fundamentalists the laws, constitution and education became isliamistic. 1993- The government takes strong measures against the isliamists , whose outrageous activities go too far. Egypt is a member of Organization for African unity, the League of Arabic Countries, UUN (1945).
Egypt -- Economy --
General Information: Egypt is one of the most economically developed Arabic countries. In the beginning of 1990 under the aegis of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fond huge reforms began which goal was the centralized Egyptian economy which till then was controlled by the state, to be transformed in modern market economy In the period -2005-2006 the market of securities prospered and GDP grew up to 5%. The energy sector provides 7% of GDP in Egypt. In contrast to other Arabian countries, Egypt has not plenty of petroleum resources. The biggest petroleum possessions in Egypt are located in the Suez Gulf (provides about 70% of the daily production) and in the West Desert (about 16% of the daily production). Extremely fast is developing the gas sector – the production of natural gas in Egypt in 2002 grew up to 3 billions cubic foots, e.g it increased twice only for 3 years. According to official issues the approved resources of natural gas are about 60 billions cubic foots and the suggested are about 120 milliards. The main problem of the Egyptian agriculture is the limited areas of agricultural lands – only about 3.3% of Egyptian area mainly of the valley of Nile is suitable for cultivation of agricultural cultures and the other 96.7% are deserted and half-deserted areas. That’s why the agriculture of Egypt provides only 14.7% of GDP (2006) and does not satisfy the needs of the country. In the future is expected Egypt to import around 2/3 of the needed foodstuffs and to provide life minimum for 90% of the people. Tourism is one of the most important sources of currency for the country and the second, after the agriculture, main source of income for a lot of Egyptian families. In this sector are working 10% of the people. Another important source of currency are the taxes for passing the Suez Channel. The External debt of the country is 29.59 milliards USD (June 2006). The export of Egypt for 2006 amounts 24.22 milliards USD, and the import – 35.86 milliards USD. The main partners for which Egypt exports are USA – 13%, Italy- 9.3%, Spain – 7.7%, Syria – 5.5%, France – 4.9%, Germany – 4.8%, Saudi Arabia – 4.7% (for 2005). The main partners for the import in Egypt are: USA – 10.6%, Germany – 7%, China – 6.5%, Italy- 5.8%, Saudi Arabia – 4.8% (for 2005).
Labour : Egypt’s labor force of 23.1 million is 78 percent male and 22 percent female. The largest proportion of the labor force works in agriculture or fishing, which employ 30 percent of all workers. The services sector employs 50 percent, and industry (including manufacturing and construction) employs the remaining 20 percent. There are few skilled workers, since training is usually rudimentary and one-third of the adult population is illiterate. Workers in the state sector are represented by the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, which was established by the regime in 1961 and remains under government control.
According to the data of Egyptian center for economical researches the unemployment in Egypt for 2007 is 8.3%. The reason for these high indexes is the fast growing up of the population of Egypt and the uncapabilities of the government to provide the appropriate number of vacancies for the qualified specialists.
Manufacture : Industry, including manufacturing, mining, and construction, contributed 38 percent of the GDP in 2006. The main manufactured goods are textiles, chemicals, metals, and petroleum products. More liberal economic policies have led to the establishment of a number of private companies involved in automobile assembly, electronics, consumer durable goods such as refrigerators and other appliances, and pharmaceuticals. The majority of factories are concentrated around the two major cities of Cairo and Alexandria and in industrial zones along the Suez Canal.
Services : contributed 48 percent of the GDP in 2006. Important services include government social services such as health and education, financial services, and personal services.
Tourisim : In 2006, 8.6 million tourists visited Egypt, providing $7.6 billion in revenues. The majority of visitors make a simple tour that includes Cairo, the great pyramids nearby, and the sites of other ruins and artifacts of ancient Egypt up the Nile. Many tourists also visit Egypt’s Red Sea resorts to take advantage of the warm winter weather. In 1992 attacks on foreigners by Islamic extremists scared off most tourists, but the industry soon recovered. The tourism industry is made up entirely of privately owned businesses.
Agriculture: In 1998 the agricultural sector (including fishing) provided 18% of GDP. Before the industrialization the agriculture supplied big part of Egyptian export but in 1997 it was only 4% of the export. The most important cultures are – cotton, cereals, fruits and vegetables and animal feed. The cultivated area in Egypt is not too much but is very productive. It is located around Nile and the Delta of Nile. The production is big and almost every part of the area produce at least two crops a year. Now the country imports almost 1/4 of wheat cultures and bigger proportion of meat and milk products.
Energy: Egypt satisfied its needs of energy. The main sources are hydro-energy electrical stations over the dam of Aslan and steamed electrical stations used planetary gas. Egypt posse’s big amount of oil and in that way supplies almost the whole amount of fuel needed for the country. The gas is supplied to the almost all main cities through pipes.
Transport : Egypt has 5,150 km (3,200 mi) of railroads, all of which are owned by the state. The principal line links Aswan and towns north of it in the Nile Valley to Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. The inland waterways of Egypt are used extensively for transportation. These waterways include the Nile, which is navigable throughout its course in the country; about 1,600 km (about 1,000 mi) of shipping canals; and more than 17,700 km (11,000 mi) of irrigation canals in the Nile Delta.highways connect Cairo with Alexandria. Other highways connect Cairo to Port Said, Suez, and Al Fayyum. The total length of highways and roads in Egypt is 92,000 km (57,000 mi). International airlines provide regular service between Cairo and Alexandria and major world centers. EgyptAir, the government-owned airline, also provides domestic and foreign service. The country has about 80 airports and airfields. The major seaport is Alexandria, followed by Port Said and Suez, all of which are served by numerous shipping companies. The Suez Canal produces substantial annual toll revenues. In the early 2000s about 18,000 vessels used the canal each year.
Communications: Egypt is cultural and information center of the Arabic world, Cairo is the biggest information center. In the city there are 8 daily newspapers with around 2 millions drawings, big amount of monthly newspapers, magazines and journals. The most of the political parties have their own editions and newspapers. The Egypt television (ETV) is managed by the Government and is financed mainly by the advertising revenue. ETV sell its programs and series to the whole Arabic world. In Egypt there are a lot of other programs: Saudi Television, broadcasted by London (MBC), Arabic Radio and Television (ART), Al-Djazira TV and others, as well as western televisions, available for these Egyptians who have satellite receivers. ETV has two national channels, six regional channels and three satellite channels. Of the two national channels Channel I use mainly Arabic language, Channel II is mainly for foreigners and broadcast news on English and French as well as Arabian. Telephones – used lines – 8.735 millions (2005), telephones – mobile, cell 5 797 500 (2003). The telephone systems has been significantly improved in 1990 and modernized. There are internet and cell services.
Foreign Trade: Before the revolution in 1952 the Egyptian foreign commerce consisted mainly of export of raw materials and the import of processed goods. After the revolution regime disposed politics discouraging imports by the presence of high tariff barriers to protect the growth industry. It also introduced most of the state trading under government control. More liberate politics was presented in 1970. But in 1990 was taken steps for opening of Egyptian market for external commercial competition. Also there was new emphasis over the export. Without paying attention on the export of raw and refined petroleum materials, this politics didn’t ease the commercial imbalance. In 1998 the export contributed to the country $3.1 billions but import cost $16.5 billions. As a result the country had commercial deficit. Part of this deficit is compensated by the money from tourism, taxes of he Suez Channel, and the revenue from the Egyptian people working abroad. Petrol and the petroleum products contribute most of the half revenue of export in 1990. As well in the export are included the textile products, fruits and vegetables, clothes and accessories and aluminum products. The main export consists of machine and transport equipment; main processed goods , iron, steel and paper; food products, wheat products and chemical products. USA is the main commercial partner of Egypt followed by Italy, Germany, France.
Currency : Egypt's currency is the Egyptian pound, consisting of 100 piastres (5.70 Egyptian pounds equal U.S.$1; 2006 average). The Central Bank was created in 1961, when all the country's private banks were nationalized. Several specialized state-owned banks were also set up. Foreign banks were allowed to reenter the country as joint ventures with Egyptian investors in 1974 after having been forced to leave during the nationalization period. In the late 1990s the government agreed to partially privatize Egypt’s four giant state-owned banks. More than 80 domestic and foreign banks operate in the country.
Egypt -- Culture --
Egyptian culture has five thousand years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations and for millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and other African countries. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself came under the influence of Hellenism, Christianity, and Islamic culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt's ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture, itself with roots in ancient Egypt.
Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is Africa's largest city and has been renowned for centuries as a center of learning, culture and commerce. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab World. Some Egyptian born politicians were or are currently at the helm of major international organizations like Boutros Boutros-Ghali of the United Nations and Mohamed ElBaradei of the IAEA.
Literature : Literature constitutes an important cultural element in the life of Egypt. Egyptian novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated throughout the Middle East. The first modern Egyptian novel Zaynab by Muhammad Husayn Haykal was published in 1913 in the Egyptian vernacular. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Egyptian women writers include Nawal El Saadawi, well known for her feminist activism, and Alifa Rifaat who also writes about women and tradition. Vernacular poetry is perhaps the most popular literary genre amongst Egyptians, represented by the works of Ahmed Fouad Negm (Fagumi), Salah Jaheen and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi.
Art and architecture : The Egyptians were one of the first major civilizations to codify design elements in art and architecture. The wall paintings done in the service of the Pharaohs followed a rigid code of visual rules and meanings. Egyptian civilization is renowned for its colossal pyramids, colonnades and monumental tombs. Well-known examples are the Pyramid of Djoser designed by ancient architect and engineer Imhotep, the Sphinx, and the temple of Abu Simbel. Modern and contemporary Egyptian art can be as diverse as any works in the world art scene, from the vernacular architecture of Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef, to Mahmoud Mokhtar's famous sculptures, to the distinctive Coptic iconography of Isaac Fanous.
The Cairo Opera House serves as the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital. Egypt's media and arts industry has flourished since the late nineteenth century, today with more than thirty satellite channels and over one hundred motion pictures produced each year. Cairo has long been known as the "Hollywood of the Middle East;" its annual film festival, the Cairo International Film Festival, has been rated as one of 11 festivals with a top class rating worldwide by the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations. To bolster its media industry further, especially with the keen competition from the Persian Gulf Arab States and Lebanon, a large media city was built. Some Egyptian-born actors, like Omar Sharif, have achieved worldwide fame.
Music and dance : Egyptian music is a rich mixture of indigenous, Mediterranean, African and Western elements. In antiquity, Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, including two indigenous instruments: the ney and the oud. Percussion and vocal music also became an important part of the local music tradition ever since. Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of people such as Abdu-l Hamuli, Almaz and Mahmud Osman, who influenced the later work of Egyptian music giants such as Sayed Darwish, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez. These prominent artists were followed later by Amr Diab. He is seen by many as the new age "Musical Legend", whose fan base stretches all over the Middle East and Europe. From the 1970s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, while Egyptian folk music continues to be played during weddings and other festivities.
The national dance company, the Reda Dance Troupe, specializes in modern adaptations of folkloric dances. Belly dancing is popular among all classes and is performed in a variety of settings ranging from nightclubs to family celebrations.
Films: The first film show in Egypt is in Alexandria in 1896. In the cafes the fashion to movies is fast distributed, in 1917 the beginning of first movie company is set. At this time there are 80 cinema halls in the country. The first full-length Egyptian movie is shot in 1927. This is “Leila” – the director is Udad Orfi. But in 30 years of the 20 century with the appearance of the sound in the films a development is noticed in the Egyptian cinema. “Aluad-Al Zuad” with Usuf Uahbi and Amina Risk is the first film with a sound, appeared in 1932. Untill 50-th years the Egyptian cinema is believed to be the Hollywood of The East with production of 80-130 films yearly. When the state started to produce cinema the number of films decrease but some fabulous films screened out like “The Mummy” whish is the winner of 12 awards in the whole world (and was showed in Bulgaria in 1970). In this period are raised the stars of Souad Hosni, Omar Sharif and Ismail Yasin. In 1980 the Government establishes Senior Council for Cultural Affairs and two international film festivals. In the last decades exclusive films are made.
Libraries and museums: On 23 of April 2002 in Alexandria was opened big modern library, which main purpose is to restore the old majesty and to provide free access for everyone who wants to get to the knowledge. In the financing and constructing UNESCO took part. Construction working of the building has been continued for 12 years. The eleventh-floor ultramodern building has the form of oblique cut cylinder, which was made up as a symbol of the Sun – the sign of Ancient Egypt. On one of the walls one can see letters from all alphabets that exist in the world. In a huge light reading room made for 3500 visitors every book can be received and immediately a part of it can be written on a compact disk. The level of readings are 7, and the new building has 40 130 sq.m. Area. In the end of 19-th century the Egyptian museum has been established. As a result of major archeological excavations took in the second half of 19-th century a lot of monuments had been revealed. For their preservation and exposure has been established the famous worldwide museum in Cairo. The museum has been established in 1901 and contains over 120 000 exhibits, most of which are not exposed. His founder is the famous French archeologist Auguste Mariette who devoted his life of researching of the Ancient Egypt; national museum with a treasure of Tutankhamen’s tomb in Cairo; the pyramids in Gaza; temples and castles in Luxor.
Egypt -- Political system, law and government --
The Egyptian Constitution provides for a strong executive. Authority is vested in an elected president who can appoint one or more vice presidents, a prime minister, and a cabinet. The president's term runs for 6 years. Egypt's legislative body, the People's Assembly, has 454 members 444 popularly elected and 10 appointed by the president. The constitution reserves 50% of the assembly seats for "workers and peasants." The assembly sits for a 5-year term but can be dissolved earlier by the President. There also is a 264-member Shura (consultative) Council, in which 88 members are appointed and 174 elected for 6-year terms. Below the national level, authority is exercised by and through governors and mayors appointed by the central government and by popularly elected local councils.
Opposition party organizations make their views public and represent their followers at various levels in the political system, but power is concentrated in the hands of the President and the National Democratic Party majority in the People's Assembly and those institutions dominate the political system. In addition to the ruling National Democratic Party, there are 18 other legally recognized parties, whereas in 2004 there were only 16 other legally recognized parties.
Progress was seen in the September 2005 presidential elections when parties were allowed to field candidates against President Mubarak and his National Democratic Party. In early 2005, President Mubarak proposed amending the constitution to allow, for the first time in Egypt's history, competitive, multi-candidate elections. An amendment was drafted by parliament and approved by public referendum in late May 2005. In September 2005, President Mubarak was reelected, according to official results, with 88% of the vote. His two principal challengers, Ayman Nour and No'man Gom'a, took 7% and 3% of the vote respectively.
In March 2007, Mubarak introduced several constitutional amendments that would increase presidential powers and, more significantly, ban any political parties based on religion, race, or ethnicity. The amendments were put to a popular referendum and, despite low voter turnout and boycotts by opposition groups, passed with 75.9% approval.
Principal Government Officials :
President--Mohamed Hosni Mubarak
Prime Minister--Dr. Ahmed Nazif
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Ambassador to the United States--Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
Permanent Representative to the United Nations--Ambassador Maged Abdel Fattah Abdelaziz
Political parties: In the country there are 21 parties officially registered: 1 riling and 20 opposites. According the constitution formation of parties on ethnical or religious matter is prohibited. Main political strengths in the country are: the ruling National Democratic Party of Hosni Mubark; New “Yafd” party; National progressive unionistic party (Tagammua); Al Gad Party.
Military: Military service is 18 months – 3 years, it depends on the level of education. Military age – 18 years. In 2006 the military expenditure are 3.1% from GDP.
The international affairs of Egyptian Government is expression to the strengths to keep the political authority and its positions in the area of Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa in the conditions of the new molding system of international affairs consequently occurred in the political and economical situation globally.The priorities of the international affairs of the country are developing the relationships with USA, ambition to Egypt’s transformation to be a privileged partner in the area of Middle East and keeping the American economical help, developing the relationship with the European Union, motivated from economical as well as political interests. European Union is the biggest commercial partner of Egypt. On 1st of July was ratified Agreement for associating to EU from all countries – members of the union. On 6th March 2007 within the third meeting of Egypt – European board of associating in Brussels was adopted action plan of Egypt for the period of 2007-2013. The plan was a result of 18 months negotiations and defines priorities for collaboration with EU regarding Egyptian economical, social and political reforms. The contact will help Egypt to be modernized in the spheres of healthcare, education, commerce, energetic and the environment. For the period of 2007-2010 EU is allocated funds amounting 558 millions euro.