Arabic Republic of Egypt
Arabic: jumhūriyyatu misri l-¢arabiyya
Independent republic in Africa with 83.1 million inhabitants (2009 estimate), covering a total area of 1,001,450 kmē, divided into 26 governorates. Egypt is largely synonymous with the last 1550 km of the Nile river. The capital is Cairo, located right south of the point where the Nile changes into the Nile Delta.
Egypt has democratic structures, but the presidency and acting power in the country seem to rest in the hands of the established elite, centred around President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt has two national holidays. On February 28, the country commemorates its liberation from British control in 1922. July 23, is the most celebrated now, commemorating the Revolution Day in 1952, the day when monarchy came to an end.
The climate in Egypt is generally very hot in summer, but with big differences between the northern parts and southern areas.
Winter is generally warm. Average summer temperatures can be up to 41ºC in the south, but it average 5-10 oC less in the north. Average winter temperatures are between 13 oC in the north, and 21 oC in the south. Cairo, the capital, is in the middle of these two extremes.
Egypt performs quite badly on the Human Development Index where it comes in as no. 123 of the 182 states that are ranked in the world. On a scale with 1.000 as maximum, Egypt gains 0.703 points.
Egypt’s currency is called Pound in English, geneyh in Arabic. Geneyh is from Guineas. It is semi-convertible and relatively stable, althought it took a fall towards many foreign currencies through the 2000’s.
100 pounds=US$18.20. US$1=5.50 pounds (Sep. 2008)
Egypt’s GDP per capita is US$5,400 (2008 estimate), with a fairly moderate 8-9% unemployment rate and 20% population below the poverty line (2005 estimate).
Egypt’s population growth rate is 1.6% (2009 estimate), which means that it is going down. Egypt’s health care system is below the standard of its neighboring countries. Still, life expectancy is 72 years.
Egypt’s education system includes poor-quality rural schools and high-quality universities. Egypt is a country with many students, many using higher education as a means to emigrate to other countries.
Being a rich country for millenniums, Egyptians are since long heavily mixed by virtually all peoples of the wider Middle East. Egyptians have not intermarried Nubians, though, who live in the very south. Berbers and peoples of Libyan descent dominate the western oases but have no longer a distinct identity, save among the remaining Berber speakers. Doms, the kindred people to the Roms of Europe, are now settled.
Arabic is all in all the dominating language, Nubian is spoken in the very south. Berber is spoken by very few in the oases in the west, but here it seems to be in good condition to survive into the future. Domari is spoken by the Dom people, mainly in the Nile Delta area.
Egypt is one of the most ancient home countries of Christianity, but Christians today represent only 10% of the population. Islam dominates across the country, only the Sunni branch is present.
Egypt’s alarming population growth is gradually coming more under control. Still, fertility rates remain high in the country of a young population, and growth rates remain far above a stable level.
Egypt is one of the cradles of civilization, home of the world’s oldest human-made wonders; the Pyramids. Egypt’s history is a roller coaster, and today’s Egypt stands in front of a crossroad, facing the threat of Islamism and a brutal end to 5000 years of culture.