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Geography—note: controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, shortest sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics

total: 1,001,450 sq km
land: 995,450 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico

Coastline: 2,450 km

Climate: desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters

Terrain: vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc

Environment—current issues: agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salinization 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; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining natural resources 

Population: 66,050,004 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (male 12,173,882; female 11,637,239)
15-64 years: 60% (male 20,108,426; female 19,718,302)
65 years and over: 4% (male 1,074,271; female 1,337,884) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.86% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 27.31 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.41 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 69.23 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.07 years
male: 60.09 years
female: 64.14 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.41 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Ethnic groups: Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%

Religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94% (official estimate), Coptic Christian and other 6% (official estimate)

Languages: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 51.4%
male: 63.6%
female: 38.8% (1995 est.) 

National capital: Cairo

Independence: 28 February 1922 (from UK)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 23 July (1952)

Constitution: 11 September 1971

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party (NDP), President Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK, leader, is the dominant party; legal opposition parties are as follows: New Wafd Party (NWP), Fu'ad SIRAJ AL-DIN; Socialist Labor Party (SLP), Ibrahim SHUKRI; National Progressive Unionist Grouping (NPUG), Khalid MUHI AL-DIN; Socialist Liberal Party, Mustafa Kamal MURAD; Democratic Unionist Party, Mohammed 'Abd-al-Mun'im TURK; Umma Party, Ahmad al-SABAHI; Misr al-Fatah Party (Young Egypt Party), leader NA; Nasserist Arab Democratic Party, Dia' al-din DAWUD; Democratic Peoples' Party, Anwar AFIFI; The Greens Party, Kamal KIRAH; Social Justice Party, Muhammad 'ABDAL-'AL
note: formation of political parties must be approved by government 

Economy—overview: At the end of the 1980s, Egypt faced problems of low productivity and poor economic management, compounded by the adverse social effects of excessive population growth, high inflation, and massive urban overcrowding. In the face of these pressures, in 1991 Egypt undertook wide-ranging macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform measures. This reform effort has been supported by three successive IMF arrangements, the last of which was concluded in October 1996. Egypt's reform efforts—and its participation in the Gulf war coalition—also led to massive debt relief under the Paris Club arrangements. Although the pace of reform has been uneven and slower than envisaged under the IMF programs, substantial progress has been made in improving macroeconomic performance. Budget deficits have been slashed while foreign reserves in 1997 were at an all-time high. And Egypt has been moving toward a more decentralized, market-oriented economy. These economic reforms and growing investment opportunities have prompted increasing foreign investment, but incoming capital has largely been concentrated in stock market portfolio flows. Egypt's economy also has been hit by a sharp downturn in tourism—a key foreign exchange and job producing sector—following the 17 November 1997 massacre of foreign tourists at Luxor. Although Egypt will probably regain these revenues over time, the slump in tourism is likely to slow the GDP growth rate in 1998.

GDP—real growth rate: 5.2% (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 17%
industry: 32%
services: 51% (1996)

Agriculture—products: cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats; annual fish catch about 140,000 metric tons

total value: $5.1 billion (f.o.b., FY96/97 est.)
commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, cotton yarn, raw cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals
partners: EU, US, Japan

total value: $15.5 billion (c.i.f., FY96/97 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, foods, fertilizers, wood products, durable consumer goods, capital goods
partners: US, EU, Japan

Debt—external: $30.5 billion (1996/97 est.)

Currency: 1 Egyptian pound (£E) = 100 piasters 

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 17,350,925 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 11,247,896 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $3.28 billion (FY95/96)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 8.2% (FY95/96)

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