Country Profile

country

Country Profile

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt (Arabic, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Most of its territory of 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq miles) lies within North Africa and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East, and the 15th most populated in the world. The great majority of its people almost 90 million live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only Arab land is found. The large regions of the Sahara Desert, which constitutes most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern state, having been continuously inhabited since the 10th millennium BCE. Its monuments, such as the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx, were constructed by its ancient civilization, which was one of the most advanced of its time. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest. Egypt's rich cultural legacy, as well as the attraction of its Red Sea Riviera, has made tourism a vital part of the economy, employing about 12% of the country's workforce.

The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels. Egypt is considered to be a middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Names

The English name Egypt is derived from the ancient Greek Aigyptos (Aiyu1t'toc;), via Middle French Egypte and Latin Aegyptus. Misr (IPA: [mes~r]) Is the literary Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while Misr(IPA: [mesˤr]) is theLiterary Arabicand modern official name of Egypt, whileMas(IPA: [mɑsˤɾ]) is the common pronunciation inEgyptian Arabic. The name is ofSemitic origin, directlycognatewith other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrewמִצְרַיִם(Mitzráyim), literally meaning "the two straits" (a reference to the dynastic separation of upper and lower Egypt). The word originally connoted "metropolis” or “civilization” and means “country”, or “frontier-land”.

 

Republic

On 18 June 1953, the Egyptian Republic was declared, with General Muhammad Naguib as the first President of the Republic. Naguib was forced to resign in 1954 by Gamal Abdel Nasser­ the real architect of the 1952 revolution. Nasser assumed power as President in June 1956. British forces completed their withdrawal from the occupied Suez Canal Zone on 13 June 1956. He nationalized the Suez Canal on 26 July 1956, prompting the 1956 Suez Crisis. In 1958, Egypt and Syria formed a sovereign union known as the United Arab Republic. The union was short-lived, ending in 1961. President Nasser died in 1970and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat in 1970. Sadat switched Egypt's Cold War allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States, expelling Soviet advisors in 1972. He launched the Infitah economic reform policy (open door economic policy), while clamping down on religious and secular opposition. In 1973, Egypt, along with Syria, launched the October War, a surprise attack to regain part of the Sinai territory Israel had captured 6 years earlier. While the war ended with a military stalemate, it presented Sadat with a political victory that later allowed him to regain the Sinai in return for peace with Israel. Sadat made a historic visit to Israel in 1977, which led to the 1979 peace treaty in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. Sadat's initiative sparked enormous controversy in the Arab world and led to Egypt's expulsion from the Arab League, but it was supported by most Egyptians. Hosni Mubarak came to power after the assassination of Sadat.

In late February 2005, Mubarak announced a reform of the presidential election law, paving the way for multi-candidate polls for the first time since the 1952 movement. However, the new law placed restrictions on the candidates, and led to his easy re-election victory. Voters turnout was less than 25%. Elections observers also alleged government interference in the election process.

Constitutional changes voted on 19 March 2007 prohibited parties from using religion as a basis for political activity, allowed the drafting of a new anti-terrorism law, authorized broad police powers of arrest and surveillance, gave the president power to dissolve parliament and end judicial election monitoring.

Revolution

On 25 January 2011, widespread protests began against Mubarak's government. On 11 February 2011, Mubarak resigned and fled Cairo to Sharm Ek Sheikh – one of the most attractive cities for tourism and beautiful red sea. Jubilant celebrations broke out in Tahrir Square at the news. The Egyptian military then assumed the power to govern. On 13 February 2011, the new military dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution. A constitutional referendum was held on 19 March 2011. On 28 November 2011, Egypt held its first parliamentary election since the previous regime had been in power. Turnout was high and there were no reports of major irregularities or violence. Mohamed Morsi was elected president on 24 June 2012 who was overthrown by Military and wide spread protests.

Tourism

Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt's economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. Such figures decreased during the years until 2013 when it reached only 11 million. The sector employs about 12% of Egypt's workforce

Religion

Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam as its state religion. The percentage of the adherents of various religions is a controversial topic in Egypt. Around 90% are identified as Muslim, 9% are Coptic Christians, and other Christian denominations make up the remaining 1%. Islam arrived in the 7th century, and Egypt emerged as a center of politics and culture in the Muslim world. Under Anwar Sadat, Islam became the official state religion and Sharia the main source of law. A significant number of Muslim Egyptians follow native Sufi orders, and there is a minority of Shi'a. Cairo is famous for its numerous mosque minarets and is dubbed "the city of 1,000 minarets".

There is a significant Christian minority in Egypt. Over 90% of Egyptian Christians belong to the native Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Oriental Orthodox Church. Other native

Egyptian Christians are adherents of the Coptic Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church of Egypt and various other Protestant denominations. Non-native Christian communities are largely found in the urban regions of Cairo and Alexandria.

Egypt hosts two major religious institutions, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, established in the middle of the 1st century by Saint Mark the Evangelist, and AI-Azhar University, founded in 970 CE by the Fatimids as the first Islamic University in the world.

Sports

Football is the Popular National Sport of Egypt. The Cairo Derby is one of the fiercest derbies in Africa, and the BBC picked it as one of the 7 toughest derbies in the world. The Egyptian national football team won the African Cup of Nations seven times, including three times in a row in 2006, 2008, and 2010.

Squash and tennis are other popular sports in Egypt. The Egyptian squash team has been known for its fierce competition in international championships since the 1930s. Amr Shabana is Egypt's best player in the last few years.

Among all African nations, the Egypt national basketball team holds the record for best performance at the Basketball World Cup and at the Summer Olympics. Further, the team has won a record number of 16 medals at the African Championship.

In the 34 times the African Handball Nations Championship was held, Egypt won first place five times, five times second place, and four times third place.

Egypt has taken part in the Summer Olympic Games since 1912.

 

 

Egypt


 
 
 

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Dr Abdel Aziz  Hegazy
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