Egypt

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EGYPT

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS EGYPTIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Arab Republic of Egypt

Jumhuriat Misr al-'Arabiyah

CAPITAL: Cairo (Al-Qahira)

FLAG: The flag is a tricolor of three horizontal stripesred, white, and blackwith the national emblem in the center white stripe.

ANTHEM: The Arab Republic of Egypt Hymn.

MONETARY UNIT: The Egyptian pound (e£) is a paper currency of 100 piasters or 1,000 milliemes. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 20 piasters and notes of 25 and 50 piasters and 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 1000 pounds. e£1 = us$0.17301 (or us$1 = e£5.78) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the official standard, but various local units also are used: 1 feddan, consisting of 333.3 kassabah, equals 0.42 hectare (1.038 acres).

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Evacuation Day, 18 June; Revolution Day, 23 July; Armed Forces Day, 6 October; Popular Resistance Day, 24 October; Victory Day, 23 December. Movable holidays include Sham an-Nassim (Breath of Spring), of ancient origin, as well as such Muslim religious holidays as 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al'Adha', and the 1st of Muharram (Muslim New Year).

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated at the northeastern corner of Africa, the Arab Republic of Egypt has an area of 1,001,450 sq km (386,662 sq mi), extending 1,572 km (997 mi) senw and 1,196 km (743 mi) nesw. However, the cultivated and settled area (Nile Valley, Delta, and oases) constitutes only about 3.5% of Egypt's land area; the Libyan and Western deserts occupy about 75% of the total. Comparatively, the area occupied by Egypt is slightly more than three times the size of the state of New Mexico. Beyond the Suez Canal in the east, the Sinai Peninsula overlaps into Asia; the Sinai was occupied by Israeli forces from 1967 to 1982.

Egypt is bounded on the n by the Mediterranean Sea, on the e by Israel and the Red Sea, on the s by Sudan, and on the w by Libya. The total land boundary length is 2,665 km (1,656 mi) and its total coastline is 2,450 km (1,522 mi). Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is located in the northeastern part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

The altitude of Egypt ranges from 133 m (436 ft) below sea level in the Libyan Desert to 2,629 m (8,625 ft) above in the Sinai Peninsula. The Nile Delta is a broad, alluvial land, sloping to the sea for some 160 km (100 mi), with a 250-km (155-mi) maritime front between Alexandria (Al-Iskandariyah) and Port Said. South of Cairo, most of the country (known as Upper Egypt) is a tableland rising to some 460 m (1,500 ft). The narrow valley of the Nile is enclosed by cliffs as high as 550 m (1,800 ft) as the river flows about 900 km (560 mi) from Aswan to Cairo. A series of cascades and rapids at Aswan, known as the First Cataract (the other cataracts are in the Sudan), forms a barrier to movement upstream.

The bulk of the country is covered by the Sahara, which north of Aswan is usually called the Libyan Desert. East of the Nile, the Arabian Desert extends to the Red Sea. The Western Desert consists of low-lying sand dunes and many depressions. Kharijah, Siwah, Farafirah, Bahariyah, and other large oases dot the landscape; another lowland, the Qattara Depression, is an inhospitable region of highly saline lakes and soils covering about 23,000 sq km (8,900 sq mi). The outstanding topographic feature is the Nile River, on which human existence depends, for its annual floods provide the water necessary for agriculture. Before the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, the floods, lasting generally from August to December, caused the river level to rise about 5 m (16 ft). Now, however, floodwaters can be stored, making it possible to provide year-round irrigation and to reclaim about 1 million feddans (about 1.04 million acres) of land. Damming the Nile resulted in the creation of Lake Nasser, a reservoir 292 km (181 mi) long and 918 km (611 mi) wide.

CLIMATE

Most of Egypt is a dry subtropical area, but the southern part of Upper Egypt is tropical. Northern winds temper the climate along the Mediterranean, but the interior areas are very hot. The temperature sinks quickly after sunset because of the high radiation rate under cloudless skies. Annual rainfall averages 2.5 cm (1 in) south of Cairo and 20 cm (8 in) on the Mediterranean coast, but sudden storms sometimes cause devastating flash floods. Hot, dry sandstorms, known as khamsins, come off the Western Desert in the spring. In Cairo, average temperatures range from 14°c (57°f) in January to 28°c (82°f) in July. Relative humidity varies from 68% in February to over 70% in August and 77% in December.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Plants are those common in dry subtropical and tropical lands, such as papyrus. Egypt has no forests but does have date palm and citrus groves; eucalyptus and cypress have been introduced. Sheep, goats, and donkeys are found throughout the country, and camels are found in all the deserts. Egypt has some 300 types of birds, with about half of them being breeding species within the country. Wild animals are few, except for the hyena, jackal, lynx, mongoose, and wild boar, the last-named inhabiting the Nile Delta. The ibex may be found in the Sinai, and gazelles in the deserts. The Nile is adequately stocked with fish, but crocodiles have been reduced to a few along the shores of Lake Nasser. Reptiles include the horned viper and the hooded snake. In 2002, there were about 98 species of mammals,123 species of birds, and over 2,000 species of higher plants.

ENVIRONMENT

Egypt's environmental problems stem from its aridity, extremely uneven population distribution, shortage of arable land, and pollution. Soil fertility has declined because of over-cultivation and agricultural land has been lost to urbanization and desert winds. In addition, the nation's beaches, coral reefs, and wildlife habitats are threatened by oil pollution. Heavy use of pesticides, inadequate sewage disposal, and uncontrolled industrial effluents have created major water pollution problems. The expanded irrigation of desert areas after completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970 has increased soil salinity and aided the spread of waterborne diseases.

With recent improvements, about 97% of the rural population and 100% of the urban population have access to improved water sources. The National Committee for Environment, within the office of the prime minister, is the principal agency with environmental responsibilities.

Centuries of human habitation in the Nile Valley have decimated Egypt's wildlife in that region. The hunting of any bird has been prohibited by law. As of 2003, about 9.7% of the total land area was protected. The Wadi Al-Hitan (White Valley) became a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 6 types of mammals, 17 species of birds, 6 types of reptiles, 14 species of fish, and 2 species of plants. Endangered species include the Sinai leopard, northern bald ibis, and green sea turtle. The Sahara oryx has been listed as extinct.

POPULATION

The population of Egypt in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 74,033,000, which placed it at number 16 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 5% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 36% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 101 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.0%, a rate the government viewed as too high. The projected population for the year 2025 was 101,092,000. The population density was 74 per sq km (191 per sq mi). However, populated areas constitute only 6% of Egypt's total area and density varies from 84,150 per sq km (32,500 per sq mi) in Cairo to 60 per sq km (23 per sq mi) in the Suez governate. Some 99% of all Egyptians live in the Nile Valley.

The UN estimated that 43% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 2.39%. The capital city, Cairo (Al-Qahira), had a population of 10,834,000 in that year. Alexandria's metropolitan population was 12,036,000. Other large cities include Giza (Al-Jizah), 2,597,000; Shubra El-Khemia, 1,556,000; Port Said, 548,900; and Suez, 497,000.

MIGRATION

In the early 1960s, most of the Greek population emigrated as the result of the government's nationalization measures; nearly all Jews, who formed less than 0.3% of the population in 1966, left the country after the 1967 war with Israel. With the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, up to 100,000 Nubian tribesmen were moved from flooded parts of the upper Nile and resettled in the plain downstream. During the 1970s there was significant internal migration from rural to urban areas. During the 1970s and first half of the 1980s, more than three million workers took jobs in other countries. In 1992 some 2,850,000 Egyptians were living abroad, including about one million in Libya and 850,000 in Saudi Arabia. In 2003 worker remittances to Egypt were $2.9 billion.

The Egyptian government estimates that there are 35 million Sudanese refugees, some of whom have lived in Egypt for over 30 years. In 2000 there were 169,000 migrants living in Egypt. In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as -0.22 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the immigration level as satisfactory, but the emigration level as too low.

ETHNIC GROUPS

Ethnic groups of Eastern Hamitic stock make up about 99% of the population of Egypt; these include Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers. They are a product of the intermixture of ancient Egyptians with the invaders of many millennia from various parts of Asia and Africa. The remaining 1% of the population is made up of minorities, including mainly Nubians, Armenians, Greeks, and other Europeans, primarily Italian and French.

LANGUAGES

The language of most of the population is Arabic, a Semitic tongue; the 1971 constitution declares Arabic to be Egypt's official language. Dialects vary from region to region and even from town to town. English and French are spoken by most educated Egyptians and by shopkeepers and others. The ancient language of Pharaonic Egypt, a Hamitic tongue, survives vestigially in the liturgy of the Copts, a sizable Christian sect dating back to the 5th century ad. The Nubians of Upper Egypt speak at least seven dialects of their own unwritten language. There are a small number of Berber-speaking villagers in the western oases.

RELIGIONS

The majority religion is Islam, of which the Sunnis are the largest sect. According to official estimates, 90% of the population are Muslim and 810% are Christian, with the Coptic Orthodox Church being the largest Christian denomination. Other denominations represented include Armenian Apostolic, Greek and Syrian Orthodox, Catholics (including Armenian, Chaldean, Greek, Melkite, Roman, and Syrian), and a variety of evangelical Protestant denominations. The Baha'i faith is also represented. The Jewish community is extremely small.

The 1971 constitution declares Islam to be the state religion. Though the constitution provides for religious freedom, the government has a long history of infringements upon this right. Any religious practices that can be considered in conflict to Shariah (Islamic law) are prohibited and Article 98(F) of the Penal Code allows for prosecution for unorthodox practices and beliefs that are considered to be "insulting heavenly religions." Government discrimination extends to both Muslim fundamentalists and Christians. In 2001, two men were convicted and sentenced to five and three years imprisonment under Article 98(F) for allegedly advocating a tolerance of homosexuality in the Islamic faith. In 2002, eight individuals were convicted under the same article for holding unorthodox Islamic beliefs and practices. Sentences ranged from three years imprisonment for two of the offenders to a one year suspended sentence for those who were not accused of promoting their beliefs to others. Proselytizing is generally considered a violation of Article 98(F).

TRANSPORTATION

Egypt's transportation system is well developed, with 64,000 km (39,770 mi) of roads in 2002, of which about 50,000 km (31,070 mi) were paved. In 2003, there were 2,282,760 passenger cars and 688,300 commercial vehicles registered. In 1982, in an attempt to alleviate Cairo's notorious traffic congestion, work began on a city subway system. The first phase, 5 km (3 mi) long, was completed in 1987 at a cost of some $370 million. Cairo Metro, modeled after the Paris Metro, is the first subway to be built in Africa. Alexandria and Cairo are connected by both the Western Desert Highway, a high-speed toll road and the busier Delta Road. Railroads are managed by the state-owned Egyptian Railways, founded in 1852. As of 2004, there was some 5,063 km (3,149 mi) of standard gauge railway that linked all parts of the country. Alexandria and Port Said are the principal ports. Egypt's oceangoing merchant fleet of 77 ships totaled 1,194,696 GRT in 2005.

As of 2004, Egypt had some 3,500 km (2,175 mi) of inland waterways that include the Nile River, the Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, Lake Nasser, the 193.5 km (120 mi) Suez Canal and many other smaller canals in the Nile River delta. However, the Nile River and the Suez Canal are the country's main inland waterways. Steamer service on the Nile is an important means of domestic transport. The modern Suez Canal was constructed between 1859 and 1869 under the supervision of the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps. In 1875 Great Britain became the canal's leading shareholder, and the guarantor of its neutrality in 1888 under the Constantinople Convention. Management of the canal was entrusted to the privately owned Suez Canal Co. British rights over the canal were reaffirmed in the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, then repudiated by Egypt in 1951. In 1956, Egypt nationalized the canal and placed it under the management of the Suez Canal Authority, which had paid former stockholders $64 million by 1963. The canal was closed during the 1967 war with Israel and remained closed until 5 June 1975, when it resumed operations after having been cleared of mines and debris by teams of US, UK, and Egyptian engineers. During its first six months after resuming operations, the canal provided passage for a substantial number of dry-cargo ships but was used by only a comparatively small number of oil tankers, since the newer supertankers could not navigate the canal's 38-ft depth. The first phase of a project to widen and deepen the canal was completed in 1980, permitting ships of 53-ft draft (up to 150,000 tons) to pass through. The second phase includes increasing the navigable depth to 67 ft (up to 270,000 tons). Egypt also announced plans to build five tunnels under the canal and dig a second channel to permit the two-way passage of convoys; the first tunnel at the southern end of the canal was opened to traffic in 1980.

Cairo International Airport is used by numerous international airlines, including Egypt's own Egypt Air. In 2003, about 4.2 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights. As of 2004, Egypt had an estimated 87 airports. In 2005 a total of 72 had paved runways, and there were 2 heliports.

HISTORY

Egypt has the oldest recorded history in Western civilization, dating back 5,000 years. In early times, the desert provided protection against marauders, while the Nile River provided bread. Therefore, by 3400 bc the civilization of Egypt was well developed. The country was united about 3100 bc by Menes (or Narmer), king of Upper Egypt, who conquered Lower Egypt and established the first of some 30 dynasties, ruled over by a divine king, or pharaoh. Menes created a centralized state; under his dynastic successors, trade flourished, and the hieroglyphic form of writing was perfected. During the so-called Old Kingdom, the pharaohs of the fourth dynasty (c.26132494 bc), of whom Cheops (Khufu) was the most notable, began to build the great pyramids as royal tombs. The twelfth dynasty of the Middle Kingdom (c.19911786 bc) built vast irrigation schemes and developed a thriving civilization at Thebes; under their rule, a system of cursive writing was developed. After a century of domination by Semitic peoples known as the Hyksos, who introduced the horse-drawn chariot, ancient Egypt attained its apex during the eighteenth dynasty (c.15701320 bc) of the New Kingdom, under pharaohs Thutmose III, who extended the empire into Asia as far as the Euphrates; Amenhotep III and his son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten, or Ikhnaton), who, with his queen, Nefertiti, attempted forcibly to replace Egyptian polytheism with monotheistic worship of the sun god Aten, or Aton; and the boy-king Tutankhamen.

In subsequent centuries, political instability weakened the kingdom, and Egypt was invaded by Assyria (673663 bc), annexed by Persia (525 bc), and conquered by Alexander the Great (332 bc). Alexander established the Macedonian dynasty of the Ptolemies, which ruled Egypt from 323 to 30 bc. During this period, the city of Alexandria flourished as the intellectual center of the Hellenistic world. The best-known ruler of this dynasty was Queen Cleopatra VII (sometimes designated as VI), who was defeated, together with her lover Mark Antony, at the Battle of Actium in 31 bc by Caius Octavius, later the Roman emperor Augustus. After the official division of the Roman Empire following the death of Theodosius in ad 395, Egypt became part of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

Egypt played an integral role in the Muslim world after the Arab conquest by 'Amr ibn-al-'As in 63942. Egypt's conquerors brought in settlers from Arabia and established firm control under the Abbasid caliphate (established in 749) and the Fatimids (9091171), who founded Cairo as their capital in 969. The Fatimids were overthrown by Saladin (Salah ad-Din), founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, which gave way about 1250 to a local military caste, the Mamluks. The Mamluks continued to control the provinces after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517.

Egypt remained a Turkish satrapy for four centuries. In 1805, an energetic Albanian soldier, Muhammad 'Ali, was appointed ruler (wali) of Egypt. He succeeded in establishing his own dynasty, which ruled the country, first under nominal Ottoman control and later as a British protectorate. Muhammad 'Ali destroyed Mamluk feudalism (already weakened by Napoleon's Egyptian campaign in 1798), stabilized the country, encouraged the planting of cotton, and opened the land to European penetration and development.

After the completion of numerous ambitious projects, including the Suez Canal (1869), Egypt became a world transportation hub and heavily burdened by debt. Ostensibly to protect its investments, England seized control of Egypt's government in 1882 and, at the time of the outbreak of World War I, made Egypt a protectorate. After the war, in 1922, the United Kingdom took account of the gathering momentum of Egyptian nationalism and recognized Egypt as a nominally sovereign country under King Fuad, but retained control over the conduct of foreign affairs, defense, security of communications, and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Militant nationalism was represented by the Wafd Party, led by Sa'ad Zaghlul Pasha and, after his death, by Nahas Pasha. The conditions of association were revised in the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, under which Britain maintained armed forces only in specified areas and especially along the Suez Canal. In that year, Faruk ascended the throne.

Egyptian nationalism gathered further momentum in World War II, during which Egypt was used as an Allied base of operations, and in 1951 the government in Cairo abrogated the 1936 treaty. Royal extravagance, government corruption, the unsuccessful Palestine campaign against Israel in 1948, and delays in long-expected social and political reforms motivated a successful coup on 23 July 1952 by a group called the Society of the Free Officers. Faruk was dethroned and replaced by his seven-month-old son. A republic was proclaimed on 18 June 1953, with Gen. Muhammad Naguib (Najib), the nominal leader of the officers, as its first president. He, in turn, was forced out of power in 1954 by a younger man, Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser (Jamal 'Abd al-Nasir), leader of the revolution.

To increase the productive capacity of his country, Nasser entered into preliminary agreements with the United States, the United Kingdom, and the UN to finance in part a new high dam at Aswan. At the same time, he also negotiated economic aid and arms shipments from the Soviet Bloc when he was unable to obtain what Egypt needed from the West. Financial backing for the dam was subsequently withheld by the United States, whereupon, on 26 July 1956, President Nasser proclaimed the nationalization of the Suez Canal and announced that profits derived from its operations would be used for the building of the dam. (The last British occupation troops had been evacuated from their Suez Canal bases a month earlier.) The dam was completed with aid and technical assistance from the USSR.

Simultaneously, a crisis erupted between Egypt and Israel. Incidents involving Egyptian and Palestinian guerrillas (fadayin ) and Israeli border patrols multiplied. On 29 October 1956, as part of a three-nation plot to bring down Nasser and reassert control over the Canal, Israeli armed forces swept into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The United Kingdom and France then issued an ultimatum to the belligerents to cease-fire. When Egypt rejected the ultimatum, Britain and France took military action in the Port Said area, at the northern end of the canal, landing troops and bombing Egyptian cities from the air. However, the intervention of the United States and the USSR, acting through the UN, led to the withdrawal of the British, French, and Israeli forces by March 1957.

On 1 February 1958, Egypt and Syria proclaimed their union in the United Arab Republic (UAR), under one head of state, one flag, a common legislature, and a unified army. The proclamation was approved by a plebiscite vote of 99.9% in Egypt and 99.98% in Syria. Nasser became president of the UAR, and a new cabinet was formed in March 1958, consisting of 2 Egyptian and 2 Syrian vice presidents, as well as 22 Egyptian and 12 Syrian ministers. Differing economic and political conditions prevented a complete fusion of the two regions, however. Nasser's economic measures were generally accepted, but his program of socialism and nationalization of banks and other commercial establishments were resented and opposed by Syrian businessmen. Syrian opposition to the union was crystallized when Nasser eliminated the separate regional cabinets and set up a unified cabinet in August 1961. On 28 September, the Syrian army revolted, and two days later it proclaimed Syrian independence. Even after the failure of the merger with Syria, Egypt, consistent with its Arab unity ideology, persisted in its attempts to form a union with other Arab states. Cooperation agreements were signed with Iraq, Yemen, Syria again, and Libya during the 1960s and early 1970s. None of these agreements produced a lasting, meaningful political union.

One reason for these political maneuverings was the continuing tension with Israel, which again erupted into open warfare on 5 June 1967, after the UN Emergency Force had on 19 May been withdrawn from the Egyptian-Israeli border at Egypt's demand; on 23 May, Egypt closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. Israel quickly crippled the Egyptian air force and occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai to the Suez Canal, which was blocked and remained so until June 1975. A cease-fire was established on 8 June 1967. On 22 November 1967, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab territories and for the recognition by the Arab states of Israel's right to independent existence within peaceful and secured frontiers. But neither side would agree to peace terms, and Israel continued to occupy the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. During the years after 1967, a "War of Attrition" was fought along the Canal with each side shelling the other and Israeli planes bombing Egyptian cities.

When Nasser died on 28 September 1970, his vice president, Anwar al-Sadat, became president. After a political crisis that resulted in the dismissal from office in May 1971 of 'Ali Sabri and other left-wing leaders who had been close to Nasser (they were subsequently convicted of treason), President Sadat firmly established his hold on the government and began to implement pragmatic economic and social policies. Beginning in July 1971 with the announcement of a 10-year development program, he quickly followed with the introduction in September of a permanent constitution and a series of financial measures designed to give more freedom to the banking system and to encourage investment of foreign and domestic capital. In a surprise move on 18 July 1972, Sadat ordered the expulsion of the 15,000 Soviet military advisers and 25,000 dependents who had come to Egypt after the 1967 war. After the ouster of the Russians, Egypt was able to improve relations with the United States, Europe, and the more conservative Arab states, which provided substantial financial assistance under the Khartoum Agreement to replace Suez Canal revenues (which had ceased when the Canal was closed by the 1967 war with Israel).

Frustrated in his ambition to recover the Sinai, President Sadat broke the 1967 cease-fire agreement on 6 October 1973 by attacking Israeli forces in the Sinai Peninsula; this assault was coordinated with a Syrian attack on Israeli forces occupying the Syrian Golan Heights. After initial successes, the Egyptian strike forces were defeated by the rapidly mobilized Israeli troops, who then crossed the Canal south of Isma'iliyah, destroyed Egypt's surface-to-air missile sites, and cut off the Egyptian 3d Army. A cease-fire that came into effect on 24 October left Egyptian troops in the Sinai and Israeli troops on the west bank of the Canal. A series of disengagement agreements negotiated by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger left Egypt in full control of the Canal and established a UN-supervised buffer zone in the Sinai between the Egyptian and Israeli forces. In November 1975, the Sinai oil fields at Abu Rudeis and Ra's Sudr were returned to Egypt.

President Sadat took a bold step toward establishing peace with Israel by going to Jerusalem in November 1977 and by receiving Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Isma'iliyah the following month. In September 1978, he entered into negotiations with Begin, mediated by US President Jimmy Carter, at Camp David, Md., where the two Middle East leaders agreed to a framework for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict. Following further negotiations, Sadat signed the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in Washington, DC, on 26 March 1979. The treaty provided for the staged withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Sinai, which was completed on schedule by 25 April 1982; set limits on forces and armaments for both sides; established a UN force to supervise the terms of the treaty; and called for full normalization of relations. However, the two nations were unable to agree on the question of autonomy for the Palestinians of the West Bank of the Jordan and in Gaza, as provided for in the Camp David framework. For their roles as peacemakers, Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. But other Arab leaders denounced the accords and sought to isolate Egypt within the Arab world.

Domestically, Sadat encouraged a shift from Nasser's socialism to greater free-market conditions and some political liberalization, one result of which was an upsurge of activity by religious extremists. In early September 1981, Sadat ordered the arrest of 1,536 Muslims, Christian Copts, leftists, and other persons accused of fomenting violent acts. One month later, on 6 October, Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by four Muslim fundamentalists. The vice president, Muhammad Hosni (Husni) Mubarak, who had been Sadat's closest adviser, succeeded him as president, instituted a state of emergency, and immediately pledged to continue Sadat's policies, particularly the terms of the peace treaty with Israel. Relations with Israel cooled during 1982, however, especially after Israeli troops moved into Lebanon. In 1986, renewed efforts at normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel led to the resolution in Egypt's favor of a dispute over Taba, a tiny sliver of land, which had not been returned with the rest of the Sinai.

As a result of Arab fears of an Iranian victory over Iraq in their eight-year war (198088), Egypt, which has the largest army in the Arab world as well as an important arms industry, was welcomed back into the Arab fold following the 'Ammān Arab summit conference in November 1987. Egypt quickly renewed diplomatic relations with a number of Arab states and in May 1989 ended its isolation by rejoining the Arab League, the headquarters of which returned to Cairo. Mubarak continued Sadat's policies of moderation and peacemaking abroad and gradual political liberalization and movement towards free market reforms at home. In July 1989, he became chairman of the Organization of African Unity for one year. In 1990, Egypt played a key role in the coalition to expel Iraq from Kuwait and in 1993 and 1994 was active in promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

Mubarak was reelected president in 1987 and 1993. Parliamentary elections in 1987 were termed the fairest since 1952; 100 members of the opposition were elected to the 458-seat chamber. Opposition political forces, however, had become increasingly disenfranchised over the years and after Mubarak's third election, he conceded to their concerns and announced the government would hold a National Dialogue to hear the grievances of any legal political party. Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, an illegal but tolerated political grouping with massive appeal, were not invited. Just before the meeting, the Nasserists and the New World Party announced they would not participate, essentially nullifying the work of the congress.

In 1995, legislative elections were again held, but, unlike the 1990 polling, the opposition parties announced they would not boycott these elections. The elections were held on 29 November and 6 December and the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) won 316 seats, losing several but retaining a vast majority. Although independents won more than 100 seats, nearly all of them were in reality firmly allied with the NDP. In January 1996, Mubarak replaced the sitting prime minister, Dr. Alif Sidqi, with Kamal Ahmed al-Ganzouri.

The most serious opposition to the Mubarak government comes from outside the political system. Religious parties are banned and, as a consequence, Islamic militants have resorted to violence against the regime, singling out Christian Copts and posing a threat to tourism, a major source of foreign exchange earnings. Starting in the mid-1990s, security forces cracked down hard on the militants, resorting to authoritarian measures, including arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, and torture to subdue the movement. However, it continued to gather strength, fueled by discontent with poor economic conditions, political autocracy, corruption, secularism, and Egypt's ties with the United States and Israel. In November 1997, militants murdered over 70 persons at a popular tourist site in Luxor. It was alleged that Gamma Islamiyya, one of Egypt's Islamic groups, was responsible for the attacks. However, in 1998 and 1999 the number of violent incidents decreased, and the government began releasing some of the jailed members of Islamist groups, said to number 20,000 by that time.

In September 1999, weeks after surviving an assassination attempt, Mubarak was elected to a fourth six-year term as president, running unopposed. Political opponents and Western observers criticized the ruling NDP's refusal to open up the political system, one result of which, they said, would be to channel some of the political passion now given to outlawed Islamists into legal political parties, who could then use it to create a more open societythus further marginalizing the extremists. However, the government refused to implement electoral reforms. In February 2003, the state of emergency first declared in 1981 was renewed for another three years by President Mubarak.

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the United States called upon all states to adopt counterterrorism measures. The attacks on the United States gave Egypt a reason for increasing its restrictions on the Islamic opposition, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamaa Islamiyya. After 11 September, Egyptian authorities referred increasing numbers of cases of Islamic militants to military courts. One of the leaders of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Muhammad Atta, was Egyptian, as is Ayman al-Zawhiri, the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad who is considered to be Osama bin Laden's second in command. The high-profile positions of these Egyptians in the al-Qaeda organization caused some to place increased scrutiny on Egypt's ability to control Islamic extremism.

Terrorist attacks on tourists and others continued into 2004 and 2005. In October 2004, bomb attacks targeted Israeli tourists on the Sinai peninsula; 34 people were killed. In April 2005, a suicide bomber killed three tourists in Cairo; later that month, another bomb attack in Cairo killed an Egyptian man. On 23 July 2005, nearly 90 people were killed in bomb attacks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

In 2005 Egypt changed its constitution to allow the opposition to contest presidential elections. Potential candidates must meet strict criteria for participation, however, and religious parties remain banned. The Muslim Brotherhoodthe only opposition organization with broad popular supportremains outlawed. In the presidential election held on 7 September 2005, Mubarak gained a fifth consecutive term as president. The election was the first under the new system whereby multiple candidates may stand. In previous elections, Egyptians voted yes or no for a single candidate chosen by parliament. In this election, all candidates were permitted to campaign freely and were given equal time on television. Mubarak faced nine opponents in the September election, although only twoAyman Nour of the Tomorrow party, and Noaman Gomaa of the Wafd partyhad any real following. Without monitors in place in most of the nearly 10,000 polling stations, Mubarak supporters engaged in various acts of voter intimidation. Other voting irregularities existed as well. The opposition to Mubarak came largely from a movement called "Kifaya" or "Enough." Kifaya supporters were permitted to protest without police intervention on the day of the election. Different groups affiliated with the Kifaya movement staged demonstrations for several months prior to the election.

In parliamentary elections held in November and December 2005, the Muslim Brotherhood won 34 seats, doubling the number of seats its members held in all of the last parliament, elected in 2000. Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidates run as independents, due to the outlaw status of the group. The Muslim Brotherhood solidified its position as the strongest opposition group in Egypt by winning an additional 42 seats in the second round of voting, and 12 in the third, to make a total of 88 seats in the new parliament. In total, the ruling NDP won 315 seats, noticeably fewer than the 388 it held in the outgoing parliament, but nonetheless still above the two-thirds majority necessary to control legislation. The elections were marred by clashes between voters and security forces, leaving 12 dead.

In April 2006 the parliament voted to extend the state of emergency, in place since 1981, until 2008.

GOVERNMENT

On 25 March 1964, President Nasser proclaimed an interim constitution; it remained in effect until a permanent constitution, drafted by the National Assembly, was approved by the electorate in a plebiscite on 11 September 1971. The 1971 constitution declares Egypt to be a democratic socialist state and an integral part of the Arab nation. The state of emergency, in effect since the Sadat assassination in 1981, and tough new antiterrorism laws against Islamists have given the government sweeping powers of repression, reminiscent of the Nasser era.

The president of the republic is the head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces. He appoints and retires as many vice presidents and cabinet members as he wishes; he also appoints the prime minister. In addition, he appoints and retires civil, military, and diplomatic personnel in accordance with the law. The president's power to declare war and conclude treaties with foreign countries is subject to the approval of the People's Assembly, a unicameral legislative body consists of 444 elected and 10 appointed members serving five-year terms. A 264-member advisory body, the Shura Council, was formed in 1980. Until 2005, the People's Assembly nominated the president, who had to be confirmed by plebiscite for a six-year term. The constitution was amended by popular referendum in 1980 to permit Sadat to serve more than two terms. Vice President Mubarak, who became president upon Sadat's assassination, was confirmed in that office in national referendums in October 1981, 1987, 1993, and 1999.

An amendment passed by parliament in May 2005 and approved in a public referendum provides that the president is to be elected in direct public elections to be contested by more than one candidate. In the presidential election held in September 2005, Mubarak was opposed by nine candidates. Official results had Mubarak winning 88.5% of the vote, with voter turnout at 23%. Ayman Nour of the Tomorrow party, who came in second place, took 7.3% of the vote, and Noaman Gomaa of the Wafd party came in third with 2.8%.

Suffrage is universal at age 18.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Since the founding of the republic in 1953, the president and his army colleagues have dominated Egyptian politics. The Arab Socialist Union (ASU; founded by President Nasser as the Egyptian National Union in 1957) was the sole legal political party until 1976, when President Sadat allowed three minor parties to participate in parliamentary elections. In 1978, Sadat replaced the ASU with his own organization, the National Democratic Party (NDP), of which he became chairman. In elections held in June 1979, the NDP won 342 seats in the People's Assembly; the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), 29 seats; the Liberal Socialist Party, 3; and independents, 8. In 1980, however, Sadat denounced the SLP as the "agent of a foreign power," and 13 of the party's deputies defected either to join the NDP or to become independent members of the legislature, thus reducing the number of SLP seats to 16.

In January 1982, President Mubarak was elected without opposition as chairman of the NDP. In elections held in May 1984, the NDP won 390 seats in the National Assembly. The New Wafd (Delegation) Party, the middle class successor of the dominant party of the pre-Nasser period allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, won 58. In the 1987 Assembly elections, the ruling NDP again won about 70% of the vote. Seventeen percent voted for an alliance of Socialist Labor, Liberal Socialist and, under their banner (religious parties are banned), the Muslim Brotherhood; 11% voted for the New Wafd. Elections in 1990 drew only some 25% of eligible voters when the opposition boycotted the poll, charging unfair and undemocratic procedures.

In 1995, the opposition contested the elections, but to little effect. Balloting was held on 29 November and the NDP won a huge majority (317) of the body's 444 seats. Although independents won more than 100 seats, they are so closely allied with the NDP that nearly all of them joined the party after the elections. The New Wafd Party won 6 seats; the National Progressive Unionist Party won 5; the Socialists won 1; and the Nasserists won 1.

In elections for the National Assembly held in October and November 2000, the NDP took 353 of 444 elected seats. The New Wafd Party won 35; the New Delegation Party won 7; the National Progressive Unionist Party took 6; the Nasserists won 3; the Liberal Party took 1 seat; independents won 37 seats and 2 seats remained vacant.

Since the beginning of a campaign of terror against tourists and Egypt's Coptic minority, the government has clamped down on Islamist parties, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, which had always been technically illegal. The Mubarak regime has resorted to strict authoritarian measures and holds thousands of suspected Islamic militants in prison. In November and December 2005, the Muslim Brotherhood won a total of 88 seats in the parliamentary elections; the NDP took 315 seats. Non-Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated parties took 14 seats, including the neo-liberal Wafd Party, traditionally recognized as Egypt's largest opposition party. The rest of the seats were won by independents.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Egypt traditionally has been divided into two regions: Lower Egypt (Wagh al-Bahari), north of Cairo, and Upper Egypt (AsSa'id), south of the capital. Under the local government system established in 1960, Egypt is organized into 26 governorates, each headed by an appointed governor. The governorates are responsible for social, health, welfare, and educational services and for the social and economic development of their region. They are also required to supervise the city and village councils, which are constituted in a similar manner. Real authority resides in Cairo in a highly centralized regime, heavily burdened by bureaucracy. Since 1994, village mayors, who were previously elected, have been appointed by the Ministry of the Interior.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The judicial system is based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic codes subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court and the Council of State, which oversees the validity of administrative decisions. A tension exists between civil law derived from France and competition from promoters of Islamic law. Islamic activists succeeded in amending the constitution to state that Shariah (Islamic) law is in principle the sole source of legislation. However, Shariah applies primarily to Muslims with regard to family, personal status, and inheritance matters, and non-Muslims have been allowed to maintain separate legislation in all matters except inheritance. Egypt accepts compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction, with reservations.

Simple police offenses, misdemeanors, and civil cases involving small amounts are subject to the jurisdiction of single-judge summary tribunals. The trial courts of the central tribunals, consisting of three justices each, sit in cases exceeding the jurisdiction of summary courts and also consider appeals. Traffic in narcotics and press offenses, considered serious crimes, are tried by the courts of appeals of the central tribunals in the first instance, sitting as assize courts. There are seven courts of appealsat Cairo, Alexandria, Tantā, Al-Manşurah, Asyut, Bani-Souef, and Ismailiawhich sit in chambers of three judges. The highest tribunal is the Court of Cassation, composed of 30 justices, which sits in panels of at least 5 justices.

The 1971 constitution declares that the judiciary is independent of other state powers and that judges are independent and not subject to enforced retirement. The Supreme Constitutional Court is responsible for enforcing adherence to laws and regulations and for interpreting legislation and the constitution. The Office of the Socialist Public Prosecutor is responsible to the People's Assembly for the security of the people's rights, the integrity of the political system, and other matters.

The president appoints all civilian judges, from nominations by the Supreme Judicial Council, a body designed to assure the independence of the judiciary and composed of senior judges, lawyers, law professors, and the president of the Court of Cassation. Judges are appointed for life, with mandatory retirement at age 64. The judiciary has demonstrated a good degree of independence from the executive branch.

The state of emergency in place since 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat led to detention without due process for many persons. Emergency security courts try suspected terrorists whose only recourse upon conviction is an appeal for clemency to the president or prime minister.

ARMED FORCES

Total active armed forces in Egypt numbered 468,500 in 2005. There were also 497,000 reservists divided among all services. The Army had 340,000 active personnel, equipped with 3,855 main battle tanks, 412 reconnaissance vehicles, 520 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 4,750 armored personnel carriers and 4,348 artillery pieces. The Egyptian Air Force in 2005 had 30,000 active personnel, which were equipped with 572 combat capable aircraft, including 218 fighters, 223 fighter ground attack aircraft and 115 attack helicopters. The Air Defense Command is a separate service. As of 2005, active personnel numbered 80,000. Equipment included both missile and gun-based air defense batteries. The Egyptian Navy had an estimated 18,500 active personnel, including 2,000 coast guard personnel. Major naval units included four tactical submarines, one destroyer, 10 frigates, 48 patrol/coastal vessels and 15 mine warfare ships. Egypt's paramilitary forces were estimated at 330,000 active members, including a national guard of 60,000, a central security force of 325,000, and 12,000 border guards. Egypt's defense budget in 2005 was $2.5 billion.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Egypt joined the United Nations as a charter member on 24 October 1945 and participates in ECA, ESCWA, and all the nonregional specialized agencies. The country is a member of the WTO. It belongs to the African Development Bank, the Arab Monetary Fund, COMESA, G-15, G-24, G-77, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Council of Arab Economic Unity, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD), and the African Union (AU). It is also a member in OAPEC, a permanent observer at the OAS, and a partner in the OSCE.

Between 1958 and 1973, Egypt made several attempts to establish united or federated states with its Arab neighbors. Egypt and Syria formed the United Arab Republic from February 1958 to September 1961, when Syria broke away; the United Arab States, consisting of Egypt, Syria, and Yemen, survived formally from March 1958 through December 1961, although never a political reality; and a federation between Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, officially established in April 1963, was never implemented. On 1 January 1972, Egypt, Syria, and Libya established the Federation of Arab Republics, but to little practical effect. A formal merger attempt between Egypt and Libya, nominally consummated on 1 September 1973, dissolved in practice when relations between the two countries soured. Egypt became the first Arab state to normalize relations with Israel following the conclusion of the 1979 peace treaty. As a result of this act, however, Egypt's membership in the League of Arab States was suspended; Egypt did not rejoin the League until 1989. Arab League headquarters are in Cairo. Egypt plays a key role in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Egypt is part of the Nonaligned Movement and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

In environmental cooperation, Egypt is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.

ECONOMY

The Egyptian economy has been historically agricultural, with cotton as the mainstay. Land prices are extremely high because of the shortage of arable land, and output of food is not sufficient to meet the needs of a 1.9% population growth rate over the 200105 period. Although Egypt has expanded its private sector in recent years, industry remains centrally controlled and for the most part government owned; since the 1950s, the government has developed the petroleum, services, and construction sectors, largely at the expense of agriculture.

Egypt's significant economic growth rate from 1975 to 1981, made possible in large measure through foreign aid and credits, had declined to about 5% by 1986. Revenues for 198586 from petroleum exports, Suez Canal traffic, tourism, and remittances from Egyptians working abroadall mainstays of the Egyptian economywere eroded in the wake of sharp declines in international oil prices and developments in the Iran-Iraq war. The inflation rate grew from less than 5% annually in the 1960s to nearly 23% by 1986, reflecting worldwide price increases and the government's deficit spending. Egypt's economic position was strengthened when the Gulf states and the United States rewarded the Egyptians for their role in forming the Arab anti-Iraq coalition, reducing external debt to about $40 billion in 1990.

In the early 1990s, the collapse of world oil prices and an increasingly heavy debt burden led Egypt into negotiations with the IMF for balance-of-payments support. As a condition of the support, Egypt embarked on a comprehensive economic reform and structural adjustment program, under the aegis of the IMF and the World Bank. Egypt succeeded in stabilizing the macroeconomic fundamentals necessary for sustained economic growth: the budget deficit was around 1.3% of GDP, and the inflation rate held steady at 3.8% in 1999. However, progress toward privatizing and streamlining the public sector and liberalizing trade policy was slow. Consequently, despite the improvements, the economy has not experienced the economic growth necessary to reduce unemployment (around 10.9% in 2004, but unofficial estimates are more than twice that figure) and generate the targeted 67% growth rates in the GDP (GDP growth averaged 3% over the 200105 period). The inflation rate over the 200105 period averaged 5.2%, and the budget deficit had reached 6.2% of GDP in 2003.

Remittances from Egyptians working abroad have aided the Egyptian economy. Reform legislation in the areas of intellectual property rights, mortgage laws, and legislation developing banking and capital markets have made the business climate more favorable to investment. A more economically liberal cabinet was appointed in mid-2004, which announced far-reaching plans for economic reform. In September of that year, Egypt pushed through custom reforms, proposed income and corporate tax reforms, reduced energy subsidies, and privatized several enterprises. The tourism sector feared a downturn in tourist numbers when Islamic terrorists attacked resorts in the Sinai Peninsula in 2004 and 2005, but the industry performed better than expected. The development of an export market for natural gas is something for which Egypt strives, but improvement in the capital-intensive hydrocarbons sector does not ameliorate Egypt's chronic unemployment problem.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Egypt's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $337.9 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $4,400. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 4.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 5.4%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 15% of GDP, industry 36.7%, and services 48.4%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $2.961 billion or about $44 per capita and accounted for approximately 3.6% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $894 million or about $13 per capita and accounted for approximately 1.1% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Egypt totaled $59.55 billion or about $881 per capita based on a GDP of $82.4 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 4.2%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 44% of household consumption was spent on food, 7% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 17% on education. It was estimated that in 2000 about 16.7% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

Egypt's civilian labor force increased from 14.8 million in 1990 to 16.8 million in 1994, to an estimated 21.34 million in 2005. In 2002, agriculture accounted for 27.5% of the workforce, with 51.9% in services, and 20.6% in industry. Unemployment was estimated at 10% in 2005.

Egyptian workers obtained the legal right to organize trade unions in 1942. However, private sector unions remain the exception, rather than the rule. In 2005, there were 23 trade unions, all of which were required to be members of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF). The ETUF in 2005 had four million members. Approximately 25% of the Egyptian workforce were union members and were employed at state-owned companies. Collective bargaining is permitted, but is handled through a labor consultative council that includes employer, worker and government representatives. Strikes are prohibited while these procedures are in effect. So-called "wildcat strikes" are prohibited. The government sets wages, benefits and job classifications for government and other public sector employees. In the private sector, employee compensation is set according to the country's laws on minimum wages.

For children in the nonagricultural sector, the law sets the minimum working age at 14 or at the age when basic schooling is completed (which is 15), whichever is higher. In addition, minors under the age of 18 are legally limited to the type of work and the conditions under which it is performed. However, child labor remains a problem. In 2005, an estimated two million children were working. The minimum wage for public-sector employees differed among sectors. The maximum number of hours that can be worked was 48 hours per week. Overtime rates of pay begin at 36 hours, with an extra differential rate for daytime and nighttime hours. Minimum rates, in conjunction with a series of bonuses and other benefits generally triples the amount, thus offering a worker and a family with a decent living standard. Enforcement of health and safety regulations is sporadic.

AGRICULTURE

During the 1970s, despite substantial investment in land reclamation, agriculture lost its position as the dominant economic sector. Agricultural exports, which accounted for 87% of all merchandise export value in 1960, fell to 35% in 1974 and to 13% by 2004. In 2003, agriculture accounted for 16% of GDP and 34% of employment.

Cotton has been the staple crop, but it is no longer important as an export. Production in 1999 was 243,000 tons. Egypt is also a substantial producer of wheat, corn, sugarcane, fruit and vegetables, fodder, and rice; substantial quantities of wheat are also imported despite increases in yield since 1970, and significant quantities of rice are exported. Citrus, dates, and grapes are the principal fruits by acreage. Agricultural output in tons in 2004 included corn, 5,800,000; wheat, 7,199,000; rice, 6,150,000; potatoes, 1,950,000; and oranges, 1,750,000. The government exercises a substantial degree of control over agriculture, not only to ensure the best use of irrigation water but also to limit the planting of cotton in favor of food grains. However, the government's ability to achieve this objective is limited by crop rotational constraints.

Egypt's arable area totals about 3.4 million hectares (8.4 million acres), about one-quarter of which is land reclaimed from the desert. However, the reclaimed lands only add 7% to the total value of agricultural production. Even though only 3% of the land is arable, it is extremely productive and can be cropped two or even three times per year. Most land is cropped at least twice a year, but agricultural productivity is limited by salinity, which afflicts an estimated 35% of cultivated land, and drainage problems.

Irrigation plays a major role in a country the very livelihood of which depends upon a single river; 99.9% of the arable land is irrigated. Most ambitious of all the irrigation projects is that of the Aswan High Dam, completed in 1971. A report published in March 1975 by the National Council for Production and Economic Affairs indicated that the dam was successful in controlling floodwaters and ensuring continuous water supplies, but that water consumption had been excessive and would have to be controlled. Some valuable land was lost below the dam because the flow of Nile silt was stopped, and increased salinity remains a problem. Further, five years of drought in the Ethiopian highlandsthe source of the Nile River's watercaused the water level of Lake Nasser, the Aswan High Dam's reservoir, to drop to the lowest level ever in 1987. In 1996, however, the level of water behind the High Dam and in Lake Nasser reached the highest level since the completion of the dam. Despite this unusual abundance of water supply, Egypt can only utilize 55.5 billion cu m (1.96 trillion cu ft) annually, according to the Nile Basin Agreement signed in 1959 between Egypt and Sudan. Another spectacular project designed to address the water scarcity problem is the New Valley (the "second Nile"), aimed at development of the large artesian water supplies underlying the oases of the Western Desert. Total investment in agriculture and land reclamation for the government's Third Plan (19931997) was e£16,963 million.

The agrarian reform law of 1952 provided that no one might hold more than 190 feddans for farming and that each landholder must either farm the land himself or rent it under specified conditions. Up to 95 additional feddans might be held if the owner had children, and additional land had to be sold to the government. In 1961, the upper limit of landholding was reduced to 100 feddans, and no person was allowed to lease more than 50 feddans (1 feddan = 0.42 hectares). Compensation to the former owners was in bonds bearing a low rate of interest, redeemable within 40 years. A law enacted in 1969 reduced landholdings by one person to 50 feddans. By the mid-1980s, 90% of all land titles were for holdings of less than five feddans, and about 300,000 families, or 8% of the rural population, had received land under the agrarian reform program. According to a 1990 agricultural census, there were some three million small land holdings, almost 96% of which were under five feddans (2.1 hectares/5.2 acres). Since the late 1980s, many reforms attempting to deregulate agriculture by liberalizing input and output prices and by eliminating crop area controls have been initiated. As a result, the gap between world and domestic prices for Egyptian agricultural commodities has been closed.

The government plans massive irrigation and development projects to create new communities to alleviate population intensity in the valley, with the objective of increasing the percentage of populated areas from 5.3% to 25% of Egypt's total area. These projects are centralized in southern Egypt, by the Suez Canal, and Sinai. The government plans to create a new delta in the south of the Western Desert parallel to the Nile, adding 540,000 feddans (1,134,000 hectares/2,802,000 acres) to the cultivated area, to be irrigated by the Nile's water.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Because of the very intensive cultivation of the soil, little land is available for animal husbandry, but efforts were made in the 1980s to increase the output of fodder per land unit and the productivity of livestock raising. In 2005, the estimated livestock population included 95,000,000 chickens, 3,960,000 goats, 5,150,000 sheep, 3,920,000 head of buffalo, 4,500,000 head of cattle, and 30,000 hogs. Livestock products in that year included 2,300,000 tons of cow milk, 1,433,000 tons of meat, and 240,000 tons of eggs.

FISHING

Fishing is concentrated in the Nile Delta and River and in the Mediterranean and Red seas. The catch of sea fish amounted to 160,319,174 tons in 2003. The inland catch was 715,074 tons. Mullet and eels are caught in the Delta and sardines in the Mediterranean. Egypt's production from aquaculture amounted to 445,181 tons. Total fish production from capture and aquaculture was 875,990 tons in 2003. There is a small-scale freezing and canning industry. Nevertheless, Egypt has been a net importer of fish. In the early 1980s, new fish-farming facilities were established at Maryut in the Delta.

FORESTRY

There are no forests in Egypt. In 2003, Egypt imported $791.2 million in forest products. The construction and furniture-making industries rely on wood imports. Furniture production engages about 40,000 persons and is concentrated in the Damietta Governorate in the northern part of the Nile Delta. Softwood products come mostly from Russia, Sweden, and Finland; hardwood products from Romania, Croatia, and Bosnia.

MINING

In recent decades, crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products have dominated Egypt's mineral industry. However Egypt is also a producer of ferroalloys, gold, iron ore, primary aluminum, steel, secondary copper, lead and zinc, and construction materials such as clay, gypsum, gemstones, dimension stone and raw materials to make glass. Among nonfuel minerals, phosphate rock (around the Red Sea, along the Nile, and in the Western Desert) and iron ore were the most important in terms of value and ore grade. In 2003 Egypt also produced manganese ore, titanium, ilmenite, asbestos, barite, cement, bentonite, fire clay, kaolin, crude feldspar, fluorspar, gypsum and anhydrite, lime, nitrogen, salt, soda ash, sodium sulfate, basalt, dolomite, granite, dimension stone, gravel, limestone, marble blocks (including alabaster), glass sand, construction sand, talc, soapstone, pyrophyllite, and vermiculite, and there were occurrences of gold, ocher, sulfate of magnesia, and nitrate of soda. The government was engaged in efforts to partially privatize mining and metal assets. Although mineral resources have been exploited in Egypt since antiquity, including gemstones and zinc, some regions of the country remained geologically unexplored. Extraction of limestone, clay, and gypsum during World War II rose in response to the Allied armies' urgent demand.

In 2003, Egypt produced 1.5 million metric tons of phosphate rock, unchanged from 2002, but up from 972,000 metric tons in 2001. Output of iron ore and concentrate was 2.5 million metric tons in 2003, unchanged since 2001. Development of an iron ore mine and steel plant near Aswan ceased in 2000 when the government charged the promoters with misappropriating public funds. Higher-quality deposits were being exploited in the Western Desert. Gold and copper deposits were not of sufficient grade to justify profitable extraction.

ENERGY AND POWER

Egypt is an important non-OPEC energy producer. (OPEC is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.) Commercial quantities of oil were first found in 1908, and more petroleum was found in the late 1930s along the Gulf of Suez. Later, large oil fields were discovered in the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Suez, the Western Desert, and the Eastern Desert. The Abu Rudeis and Ra's Sudr oil fields in the Sinai, captured by Israel in 1967, were returned to Egyptian control in November 1975, and the remaining Sinai oil fields reverted to Egyptian control by the end of April 1982. Egypt's proven crude oil reserves were estimated at 3.7 billion barrels as of 1 January 2005. Oil production in 2004 was estimated at 698,000 barrels per day, (down from 922,000 barrels per day in 1996), of which crude oil accounted for 594,000 barrels per day. Approximately 50% of Egypt's oil production comes from the Gulf of Suez, with the Western Desert, Eastern Desert, and the Sinai Peninsula as country's three other primary producing areas. Domestic consumption was estimated at 564,000 barrels per day in 2004. Net oil exports in that same year were estimated at 134,000 barrels per day. The Suez Canal and the 322-km (200-mi) Sumed Pipeline from the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean Sea are two routes for oil from the Persian Gulf, which makes Egypt a strategic point of interest in world energy markets. Although the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has deepened the canal so that it can accommodate the largest bulk freight carriers, the canal was scheduled to be deepened a further 20 m (66 ft) by the end of 2006 to accommodate very large crude carriers (VLCCs).

Egypt operates nine refineries that are capable of processing crude oil at an estimated rate of 726,250 barrels per day, as of 1 January 2005. The largest refinery is the El-Nasr facility located at Suez. It is able to process 146,300 barrels per day.

Major discoveries in the 1990s have given natural gas increasing importance as an energy source. According to data from Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum, the country's reserves of natural gas are estimated at 66 trillion cu ft, as of 1 January 2005, but probable reserves have been placed at or more than 120 trillion cu ft. Since the early 1990s, significant deposits of natural gas have been found in the Western Desert, in the Nile Delta and offshore from the Nile Delta. Domestic consumption of natural gas has also risen as a result of thermal power plants converting from oil to natural gas. As of 2002, Egypt's production and consumption of natural gas are each estimated at 941 billion cu ft.

The Egyptian electric power system is almost entirely integrated, with thermal stations in Cairo and Alexandria and generators at Aswan. In 2002, output was estimated at 81.3 billion kWh, of which nearly 85% was from fossil fuels and 15% was from hydropower (mostly from the Aswan High Dam). In the same year, consumption of electricity totaled 75.719 billion kWh. Total installed capacity was estimated at 17.6 million kW, as of 1 January 2002.

A $239 million electricity network link with Jordan was completed in 1998. In late 2002 Egypt announced that it would coordinate a regional energy distribution center to coordinate energy distribution among the nations of the region, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.

INDUSTRY

Egypt at the time of the 1952 revolution was much further advanced industrially than any other Arab country or indeed any country in Africa except South Africa. Under the socialist Nasser administration, the government coordinated industrial expansion and the establishment of an industrial base. As a result, bureaucracy and a dependence on political directives from the government became common to Egyptian industry. Since the early 1990s the government has promoted privatization as a way to eventually increase industrial output.

Industry accounted for 33% of GDP in 2004, and employed 17% of the labor force. The industrial production growth rate in 2004 was 2.5%. Major industrial products included textiles, chemicals (including fertilizers, polymers, and petrochemicals), pharmaceuticals, food processing, petroleum, construction, cement, metals, and light consumer goods. The clothing and textiles sector is the largest industrial employer.

Greater Cairo, Alexandria, and Helwan are Egypt's main industrial centers, producing iron and steel, textiles, refined petroleum products, plastics, building materials, electronics, paper, trucks and automobiles, and chemicals. The Helwan iron and steel plant, 29 km (18 mi) south of Cairo, using imported coke, processes iron ore mined near Aswan into sheets, bars, billets, plates, and blooms.

The petroleum industry accounts for approximately 40% of export earnings. Egypt is encouraging oil exploration, but natural gas is becoming the focus of the country's oil and gas industries. In 2005, the country's first liquefied gas export terminal began operations. A large natural gas field off the Mediterranean coast of the Egyptian city of Damietta was discovered in 2002. Natural gas reserves in the country were estimated at 66 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2005, based on new finds.

Egypt's industrial sector has undergone major reforms since World Bank adjustment programs went into effect during 1991, privatizing and restructuring state owned enterprises. Some of the companies in important non-oil industries are technically in the private sector, but control still remains with the government.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Founded in 1971, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Cairo is the national body responsible for science and technology. Egypt also has 12 specialized learned societies in the fields of agriculture, medicine, science, and technology. The National Research Center, also in Cairo, carries out research in pure and applied sciences. The Ministry of Agriculture has 20 attached research institutes in Cairo and Giza. Twenty other institutes conduct research in medicine, science, and technology.

In 2000, (the latest year for which the following data is available) research and development (R&D) expenditures totaled $438.522 million or 0.19% of GDP. In 2002, high technology exports totaled $13 million, or 1% of manufactured exports. For the period 1990-01 there were 366 technicians and 493 researchers per million people actively engaged in R&D.

Located in Cairo are museums devoted to agriculture, geology, railways, and marine technology. In addition to polytechnic institutes in Cairo and Mansoura, Egypt in 1996 had 13 universities offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 12% of college and university enrollments.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Cairo and Alexandria are the most important commercial centers. Virtually all importers, exporters, and wholesalers have offices in one or both of these cities. Egypt's retail trade is dominated by a large number of small privately-owned shops and vendors. Government cooperatives with hundreds of outlets also combine wholesale and retail activities. The principal retail centers have general and specialized stores as well as large bazaars. Smaller bazaars and open markets are found in the towns and villages. There are large wholesaling markets for meat and produce in Cairo, Alexandria, and Mansoura. The franchising of fast food restaurants and retail chains continues to grow quickly, with both American- and Egyptian-based companies holding franchises.

Though most farms are privately owned, manufacturing is largely controlled by the public sector. Domestic industries include textiles (especially in cotton), food processing, and vehicle assembly. In 2001, about 51% of the work force was employed in the service sector, which also accounts for about 50% of GDP.

Government hours are 8 am to 2 pm, Saturday to Wednesday. Business hours vary widely. Typically, a business schedule in summer would be 8 am to 2 pm; in the winter, from 9 am to 1 pm and from 5 to 7 pm, Saturday through Wednesday. Friday is the Muslim holy day, and most people do not work on Thursdays. While the official language is Arabic, commercial firms frequently employ English or French for business correspondence. Haggling or in Arabic, momarsa (auction), is a standard business process for determining a fair price for goods and services in Egypt. The Cairo International Trade Fair, held every spring, has been an important promotional event for a number of years.

FOREIGN TRADE

Before 1973, when Egypt was linked to the then-Soviet Union, 55% of its exports went to Soviet bloc countries, which supplied 30% of its imports. In 1999, the EU countries were the market for about 35% of Egypt's exports, and provided Egypt with 36% of its imports. The US provided some 14% of Egypt's imports and received

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 6,160.7 10,892.7 -4,732.0
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 757.7 537.8 219.9
Bunkers, ship stores 566.7 566.7
United States 520.9 1,272.9 -752.0
India 465.0 146.6 318.4
Free zones 384.9 1,529.7 -1,144.8
Spain 287.9 127.5 160.4
Netherlands 228.0 178.9 49.1
Saudi Arabia 185.3 252.8 -67.5
France-Monaco 166.5 448.7 -282.2
United Kingdom 147.0 262.4 -115.4
() data not available or not significant.

over 12% of its exports. Trade with Libya and Saudi Arabia has increased in recent years. Petroleum replaced cotton and cotton products as Egypt's principal export in 1976. Fuel exports accounted for 37% of Egypt's estimated $3.5 billion in merchandise exports in 1999. Other exports included textile yarn and cotton (7%), and fabric, and finished garments (7.9%).

In 2004, Egypt's major exports were: finished products (38.4% of all exports); petroleum and petroleum products (38.3%); semifinished products (7.1%); and cotton, textiles, and garments (4.1%). Major imports were intermediate goods (29.5% of all imports); investment goods (22%); petroleum and petroleum products (14.1%); and consumer goods (durables and nondurables, 14%).

Egypt's leading markets in 2004 were: the United States (35.7% of all exports); the EU (34.6%); Arab countries (12.3%); and Asia (8.7%). Leading suppliers that year were: the EU (30.5% of all imports); the United States (23.5%); Asia (14.7%); and Arab countries (7.9%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Structural reforms instituted in the early 1990s have helped Egypt to slowly try to take care of its debt. Total outstanding debt stood at $33.75 billion in 2004. However, Egypt's annual trade deficit has increased steadily during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The structural trade deficit stood at $9.3 billion in 2004. Merchandise exports, which continue to be dominated by oil, rose strongly to $12.3 billion in 2004, from $9 billion in 2003. However, imports soared by more than 40% to $21.6 billion. The wider trade deficit was offset by a considerable strengthening of the services (fueled by tourism and Suez Canal revenues) and current transfers surpluses, leaving the current-account surplus little changed at 4.7% of GDP. The current-account surplus averaged 2.8% of GDP over the 200105 period.

The government has attempted in recent years to improve the balance of payments situation through monetary and foreign exchange

Current Account 3,743.0
     Balance on goods -4,201.0
         Imports -13,189.0
         Exports 8,987.0
     Balance on services 4,599.0
     Balance on income -254.0
     Current transfers 3,599.0
Capital Account
Financial Account -5,725.0
     Direct investment abroad -21.0
     Direct investment in Egypt 237.0
     Portfolio investment assets -25.0
     Portfolio investment liabilities -18.0
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets -4,651.0
     Other investment liabilities -1,248.0
Net Errors and Omissions 1,575.0
Reserves and Related Items 407.0
() data not available or not significant.

policies that have kept interest rates high and made access to credit and foreign exchange for imports difficult. These policies, while improving the balance of payments situation, have had an overall negative impact on economic growth and the country's ability to encourage foreign investment.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The National Bank of Egypt, founded in 1898, had as a private institution the exclusive right to issue currency and act as the government's banker. In January 1961, although permitted to retain its commercial banking business, it was divested of its central banking function, which was given to the newly established Central Bank of Egypt. In 1957, when foreign banks refused to finance Egypt's cotton crop after the Suez Canal was nationalized, the government took over foreign banks and insurance companies. By the end of 1962, all banks had been nationalized. The number of registered banks dwindled to only four by 1971.

As of 1999, there were 69 banks operating in Egypt: 4 stateowned commercial banks; 29 commercial banks; 33 investment banks, and 7 specialized banks; including 20 foreign bank branches. The four state-owned commercial banks-the National Bank of Egypt, the Bank of Alexandria, the Banque du Caire, and the Banque Misr-dominate the sector due to their size in terms of assets, deposit base, and branches (an average of 200 branches each), accounting for 55% of the banking system's total assets. The Central Bank of Egypt supervises all banks in Egypt except for Misr African International Bank, the Arab International Bank, and the Egypt Export Development Bank. The national stronghold on the system becomes apparent when the public-sector banks' shares in joint-venture banks are taken into account, which reveals the big four to be holders of over 90% of the total assets of commercial banks. The dominance of the public sector is heightened if the National Investment Bank (NIB) is included. Holding the long-term resources mobilized by the social security system, the NIB possesses roughly 25% of total bank deposits. Private sector ownership accounted for less than 30% of the banking sector in 2002, while the total assets of Egypt's banks in the same year amounted to $72 billion.

In 1975, the public sector was allowed to perform transactions freely with all banks, which became largely free to exercise all banking functions. The government's "open door" policy toward banking permitted international banks of good standing to establish branches in Egypt and exempted those banks from regulations governing the control of foreign exchange. In 1991, foreign exchange rates were liberalized. In 1992 and 1993, laws were passed allowing foreign bank branches to deal in Egyptian currency. In order to bring the Egyptian banking sector into line with international banking norms, banking law 155 of 1998 established a legal basis for the privatization of the four public-sector banks, but by 2002 this process was just getting started.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $14.9 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $65.8 billion. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 11%.

Egyptians habitually have invested their funds in real estate, in foreign countries, or in gold. In June 1992, a comprehensive Capital Markets Law was passed, sparking a revival of the Cairo and Alexandria exchanges that had been dormant since 1961 nationalization. In 1994, Egypt had one of the world's best-performing stock markets, but the primary stock market remained thin. Most investors preferred to establish closed companies and to resort to bank loans. Stock trading in the secondary market was also limited. Nevertheless, Egypt's first corporate bond since 1951, issued by the German-Egyptian Hoechst Orient in May 1994, was almost three times oversubscribed. In 2004, the Egyptian stock market's capitalization totaled $38.516 billion. In that same year, a combined total of 792 companies where listed on the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges. Trading volume (by value) in 2004 totaled $5.608 billion, up from $3.278 billion in 2003.

INSURANCE

Until the 1950s, insurance companies operating in Egypt were mostly branches of foreign institutions. In July 1961, Egypt promulgated laws nationalizing all insurance companies. From 1996, the insurance market was dominated by four public-sector insurance companies (one of which was a re-insurance company), although three private-sector companies existed. Two joint ventures with foreign firms operated in the free zones. The domestic insurance market was closed to foreign companies, although they were able to operate as minority partners in Egypt's eight free zones.

As part of its IMF agreement, the government pushed a new, if still restrictive, insurance law through the People's Assembly in early May 1995. This allowed foreign access to the domestic market on condition that the foreign company owned no more than a 49% stake in the insurance company, that the manager of the company was Egyptian, and that the company met the capitalization requirement of $9 million. By 1998, the Egyptian parliament had passed a law allowing 100% ownership by foreign insurance companies, and complete privatization of public-sector insurance companies, but little progress has been made towards these goals. In 1999, there were 12 national insurance companies practicing in Egypt, and by 2003 there was $566 million in direct insurance premiums written, with nonlife premiums accounting for $386 million. Misr was the country's top nonlife insurer, with gross nonlife written premiums of $139.2 million in 2003. Al Chark was the top life insurer in that same year, with gross life premiums written of $55.2 million.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Egypt's central government took in revenues of approximately $18 billion and had expenditures of $24.5 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$6.5 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 93.6% of GDP. Total external debt was $28.95 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2002, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were e£77,773 million and expenditures were e£100,739 million. The value of revenues in US dollars was us$17,283 million and expenditures $22,386 million, based on a market exchange rate for 2002 of us$ = e£4.5000 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 35.7%; defense, 10.1%; public order and safety, 5.7%; economic affairs, 9.8%; housing and community amenities, 4.0%; health, 4.9%; recreation, culture, and religion, 9.6%; education, 19.2%; and social protection, 0.9%.

TAXATION

As of 2005, Egypt's standard corporate tax rate was 40%, although there was a reduced rate of 32% for industrial companies, and profits made through export operations. Branches of foreign companies are treated the same as domestic companies. Oil production and prospecting companies are subject to a 40.55% tax on their profits.

Personal income tax is assessed according to a progressive schedule with a top rate of 40%.

The main indirect tax is the general sales tax (GST), set at 10% for most products, and 25% on a few others. Services are taxed at lower rates of 5% and 10%. There are also stamp duties that range from ranging from e£100 to e£600 (roughly, $15 to $100).

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Customs duties in Egypt serve not merely for protection but also for revenue. Under-invoicing is common, prompting customs officials to add 1030% of invoice value to calculate the true value. In September 2004, Egypt's president issued a decree that reduced administrative fees and tariffs on imported goods. Generally, primary foodstuffs and raw materials were subject to a 2% ad valorem duty, followed by a 5% duty on capital goods, a 12% duty on intermediate goods, a 22% duty on nondurable consumer goods, a 32% duty on nondurable consumer goods, a 32% duty on semidurable consumer goods, and a 40% duty on durable consumer goods. In addition, customs fees and tariffs on information technology machines, spare parts and equipment have been. However, items such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco and automobiles with engines larger than 2000 cc are subject to higher rates. Egypt assesses a 2% or 4% service fee on imports (depending on the customs

Revenue and Grants 77,773 100.0%
     Tax revenue 51,726 66.5%
     Social contributions
     Grants 3,713 4.8%
     Other revenue 22,334 28.7%
Expenditures 100,739 100.0%
     General public services 36,014 35.7%
     Defense 10,218 10.1%
     Public order and safety 5,759 5.7%
     Economic affairs 9,862 9.8%
     Environmental protection
     Housing and community amenities 4,068 4.0%
     Health 4,915 4.9%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 9,709 9.6%
     Education 19,305 19.2%
     Social protection 889 0.9%
() data not available or not significant.

duty assigned to the commodity) and a 525% sales tax is added to the final customs value of imports.

Free zones have been established in Alexandria, Cairo (Nasr City), Port Said, Ismailia, Damietta, Safaga, Sohag, and Suez; these are exempt from customs duties.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Egypt has declared that foreign private capital is both desired and welcome and that foreign capital investment has a place in the country's economic development. Investors in approved enterprises are assured of facilities for transfer of profits, withdrawal of capital, and employment of necessary foreign personnel. In 1974, Egypt sought specifically to encourage capital investments from multinational corporations in the West, so new projects financed with foreign capital were protected, capital was freed for reexport within five years of its investment in Egypt, and investment profits earned within Egypt were allowed transfer abroad. In 1991, all foreign exchange transfer restrictions were lifted.

The main laws governing foreign investment are the Capital Market Law of 1992, as amended to increase stock market regulation in 1998; the Investment Incentives and Guarantees Law of 1997, establishing the regime for free trade zones (FTZs); and a series of laws in 1998 setting conditions for private (including foreign) participation in public banks, insurance, maritime transport, electricity distribution, and telecommunications.

Depending on their size, location, and other characteristics, new projects financed with foreign capital are exempt from taxation for five to ten years; in addition, payments of interest on foreign loans are not taxable and investors are exempt from certain customs duties. There is one basic condition for approval: the project must be on an approved list in the fields of industrialization, mining, energy, tourism, transportation, reclamation and cultivation of barren land, or animal husbandry. Applications must be made to the General Authority for Arab Investment and the Free Zones, which consists of the minister of state for Arab and foreign economic cooperation and seven other members. The bidding process for contracts has been made more transparent, but Egyptian bids have preference up to 15% above foreign bids. Since 1991, Egypt has liberalized its foreign trade by reducing the number of items on its list of banned imports. In 1990, the list covered 37% of all imports; in 1992, 11%; and in 1999, only apparel was banned. The use of other nontariff barriers on imports and export restrictions has also been reduced. Bureaucratic barriers, however, still hamper investment. FTZs offer exemption from import duties, sales taxes, and taxes and fees on capital goods. A 1% tax is charged on warehoused goods and on exports from assembly plants. Investments are often located in the free zones of Alexandria, Cairo (Nasr City), Port Said, Ismailia, Damietta, Safaga, Sohag, and Suez. In 2003, to deal with the chronic shortage in foreign exchange, a law was passed requiring that 75% of foreign exchange earnings be converted into local currency.

A new Ministry of Investment was created in July 2004 to oversee investment policy, coordinating among the various ministries with investment-related areas of responsibility.

From 1992, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow was about $1 billion a year. As of 2005, FDI stock totaled $15$20 billion. Inflows of FDI peaked in 1999 at nearly $3 billion, but then fell to $1.2 billion in 2000, to $510 million in 2001, and to only $184 million in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2003/04. In terms of portfolio investment, the Egyptian stock market declined nearly 60% in 2001, and did not recover by 2004.

The United Kingdom is Egypt's largest foreign investor, followed by the United States; both countries are very active in investing in the oil and gas sector. Other major investing countries are France, Italy, and Arab countries.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

At the time of the 1952 revolution, Egypt presented the familiar picture of a dual economy, having a small modern sector developed within a tradition-bound society. A rapidly expanding population was pressing hard on limited agricultural resources; there were severe problems of poverty, unemployment, unequal distribution of income and wealth, disease, political corruption, and illiteracy. Rapid industrialization was viewed as essential to economic improvement. The revolution was both a national revolution, Egyptianizing the economy by ridding it of foreign influence, and a social revolution, developing a "democratic, cooperative, socialist" society. The promised "socialism" was not at that time doctrinaire; it was pragmatically selective in its application. A major objective was the diversion of private investment from land into industry. In this earlier period, industrialization also was fostered through government creation and expansion of industrial firms.

In July 1961, in a major policy shift, socialist decrees brought virtually all economic activity under government ownership or control. The Charter for National Action, which elaborated the philosophy of Arab socialism, was approved by the National Congress of Popular Forces on 1 July 1962. It is clear that the Egyptian government had decided that industrialization and improvement of living standards could come only through central planning and direct government ownership and control of virtually the entire system of production and foreign trade.

Egypt inaugurated its first five-year development program in 1960. By the end of 1965, national income had increased in the five-year period by 39.6%; 171,000 new jobs had been created; and wages and salaries had increased by 54%. A second five-year development plan (196670) was canceled in 1967 because of the Arab-Israeli war, and annual plans were instituted. Shortly after the 1973 war, President Sadat introduced an "open door" economic development program that confirmed Egypt's socialist policy but decentralized decision making in the public sector, removed government constraints on the private sector, and attracted foreign private capital by liberalizing financial and trade regulations. As a result, most public-sector industries developed rapidly during the 197379 period. A five-year development plan (198084) was replaced in 1982 by the new plan for 198287, of which the public sector was allocated 76.5% of the total funds. Of fixed investments in development projects, the industrial and mining sector was to receive 26%, transport and communications 16%, agriculture 12%, housing 11%, and electric power 8%. By 1987/881991/92 investment allocation for the public sector dropped to 62% and to 42% in the 1992/931996/97 plan. It aimed at the privatization of several sectors by encouraging the private sector to invest more capital. Egypt at the end of the 1990s was able to attract more foreign investment, cut the inflation rate, and decrease budget deficits.

As of the early 2000s, the state still controlled virtually all heavy industry, although agriculture was in private hands, and has been deregulated, with the exception of the cotton and sugar sectors. This and other efforts at privatization have increased the growth of the economy. At the end of 2004, total public debt amounted to 102.74% of gross domestic product (GDP), and foreign debt amounted to $33.75 billion. A general sales tax was extended to the wholesale and retail levels of business in 2001. Increased spending on infrastructure projects in the early 2000s widened budget deficits once more. In 2003, after a series of currency devaluations, Egypt adopted a floating exchange rate mechanismthe Egyptian pound was no longer pegged to the dollar.

Although such events as the 1997 terrorist attacks at Luxor, the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dampened the growth of tourism in Egypt, which experienced below-average growth rates in this sector, tourist arrivals were 10 times higher than global averages over the 200003 period, and attracted some 25% of tourist arrivals to the Middle East. There were more than six million visitors to Egypt in 2003. This growth in arrivals generated $4.6 billion in tourism receipts, accounting for 22% of total exports of goods and services, and 39% of services exports, making tourism the largest foreign currency earner in Egypt. In 2004, tourism was estimated to generate some $6.1 billion in revenue, although terrorist attacks in the Sinai Peninsula in 2004 and 2005 contributed to below-target tourist arrivals.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Employees pay 1013% of their wages toward old age, disability, and survivor pensions. Retirement is set at age 60. A death grant and a funeral grant is also available. Employed persons aged 18 or older are covered by work injury insurance, except for casual workers, domestic workers, and the self-employed. Unemployment legislation has been in place since 1959 and covers all employed persons in the public and private sectors. It is funded by contributions from employers with deficits covered by the government.

Equality of the sexes is provided by law, but many aspects of law and traditional practice discriminate against women. Under Egyptian law, only males can transmit citizenship to their children or spouses. Women have won employment opportunities in a number of fields, but Egyptian feminists fear these gains will be halted by resurgent Islamic fundamentalism. Muslim female heirs receive half of the amount of a male heir, and Christian widows of Muslims retain no inheritance rights. The government continues its efforts to eradicate the widespread practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Domestic abuse and violence is common. Because the concept of family integrity supersedes the well-being of the woman, few women seek redress from authorities.

Christian minorities in Egypt are often subject to discrimination and harassment. Extremists have attacked churches and have killed Christians. They sometimes face discrimination in obtaining higher education and employment. Muslim converts to Christianity have been subject to harassment by police and have been charged under the Penal Code.

Human rights abuses of torture, extrajudicial killings, and prolonged pretrial detentions are on the decline. Arbitrary arrest and detention continue, and prison conditions remain poor. The government restricts freedom of press, assembly, religion, and expression. Islamic extremists also engaged in terrorist attacks, killing civilians. Human rights organizations do not have legal recognition, but they do operate openly.

HEALTH

Nearly all Egyptians have access to health care. Between 1982 and 1987 (during the first five-year plan), the government established 14 public and central hospitals, 115 rural health units, and 39 rural hospitals. The total number of beds increased by 9,257 during this period (to a total in 1985 of 96,700). In 1987, 190 general and central hospitals were established (26,200 beds), as well as 2,082 rural health units, and 78 village hospitals. In 2000, 95% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 94% had adequate sanitation. As of 2004, there were an estimated 212 physicians, 276 nurses, 27 dentists, and 68 pharmacists per 100,000 people.

Serious diseases in Egypt include schistosomiasis, malaria, hookworm, trachoma, tuberculosis, dysentery, beriberi, and typhus. Although malaria and polio cases were small in number, nearly 1,444 measles cases were reported in 1994. In 1999, Egypt vaccinated children up to one year old against tuberculosis; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (94%); polio; and measles (95%). Of children under age five, 4% were malnourished as of 2000.

As of 2000, 56% of reproductive-age women practiced contraception. Abortion is legal only for medical reasons. The overall death rate was estimated at 7.6 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2002 and the infant mortality rate in 2005 was 32.59 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy in 2005 was 71 years.

A full 80% of all Egyptian women undergo female genital mutilation. There are no specific laws against this practice. Egypt planned to expand its health insurance, with the target of covering 75% of the population. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 3.8% of GDP.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 12,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 900 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

Prior to 1952, most Egyptians lived in mud huts. Post revolutionary governments, however, have actively concerned themselves with housing. In order to encourage rural housing activities on unfertile soil, "extension areas" have been allocated for villages. Efforts have been made to provide low-rent housing in towns; the units were constructed in cooperation with the Reconstruction and Popular Dwellings Co., in which the government held a share. Assisted by the state, which grants long-term and low-interest loans, cooperative societies also engage in housing construction. The state affords facilities for cooperatives to acquire land from the religious foundations.

Despite these efforts, Egypt's housing shortage remains acute, with about one million units needed in urban areas. Housing construction was a major priority of development plans in the 1980s, but it was considered likely that it would take many years for Egypt's housing deficit to be met. The greatest shortage is in lowcost housing.

According to the 1996 census, there were about 9.6 million apartments and 4.5 million rural homes throughout the country. About 2.6 million units were built in the period 19811999. There were nearly 400 slum/squatter areas housing over seven million people. In 1998, government subsidies helped build about 63,000 housing units. The new housing demand has been estimated at about 750,000 per year. In 2004, only about 260,000 units were available for sale. About 1.8 million housing units are vacant, partly because tenants can not afford the cost of rent, but also because rent controls translate into low rents in some areas and landlords feel that the cost of maintenance would be higher than their return.

EDUCATION

The Education Act of 1953 provided free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6 and 15. The nine years of basic education is split into six years of primary education and three years of preparatory studies. Secondary schools cover threeyear programs in either general or technical studies. Some students opt for a five-year advanced technical studies program for secondary school. The curriculum was updated in 1995 and includes a greater emphasis on vocational training, as well as on physics and foreign languages. The general secondary education certificate entitles the holder to enter a university.

In 2001, about 13% of children between the ages of four and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 91% of age-eligible students. In 2001, secondary school enrollment was about 78% of age-eligible students; 80% for boys and 76% for girls. It is estimated that about 91% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 22:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 17:1.

A decree of 23 July 1962 provided free tuition at all Egyptian universities. The traditional center for religious education in the Muslim world is Al-Azhar in Cairo, which in 1983 celebrated 1,000 years of teaching as the oldest continuously operating school in the world. Al-Azhar offers instruction in three faculties and 14 affiliated institutes and maintains its own primary and secondary schools. There are a total of 13 universities, and numerous institutes of higher learning.

There is also the American University in Cairo, which offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as an American school in Cairo and one in Alexandria. The American Research Center in Cairo is supported by US universities and museums. It was established in 1948 to encourage the exchange of archaeologists and other researchers in almost all fields of interest.

Adult education, under the Ministry of Education, is increasingly important. Since 1993 the government conducted a campaign against illiteracy. Business firms are required to combat illiteracy among their employees. Recent university graduates are being hired to lead literacy classes, and armed forces recruits are also expected to teach. In addition, the government has set up 3,000 oneclass schools to teach a nontraditional study plan. These schools are aimed at girls who are unlikely to attend formal schooling, and as a result, are likely to remain illiterate. The schools provide vocational training and lessons on income generating businesses, in addition to the more traditional classes in Arabic, religion, sciences and arithmetic. In 2003, about 19% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 55.6%, with 67.2% for men and 43.6% for women. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.7% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

In 2003 the Bibliotheca Alexandria was established on the same site of the ancient library destroyed in a fire 2,000 years before. Bibliotheca Alexandria is the largest library in the Middle East and serves as a cultural center with exhibit areas, planetarium, and conference center. Egypt's other major libraries are the Egyptian National Library (2.5 million volumes), Alexandria University Library (with 15 collections, of which the largestbelonging to the Faculty of Artsnumbers 141,300 volumes), and the Cairo University Library (more than 1.4 million volumes). The National Library also functions as the main public library for the nation's capital and supervises 11 branch libraries located throughout the country. The Municipal Library in Alexandria contains one of the country's largest public library collections, with 23,390 Arabic and 35,400 European volumes.

One of the most important special libraries is the Scientific and Technical Documentation Division of the National Research Center at Cairo, which has the best collection of scientific and technical material in the Arab world. American University in Cairo sponsors a library system of nearly 400,000 volumes (primarily English language) and holds the Creswell Collection of Islamic art and architecture, comprising about 3,200 bound volumes. In all, Egyptian libraries affiliated with institutions of higher education hold over 35 million volumes. Assuit University sponsors 16 libraries with an approximate total of 177,274 Arabic volumes and 167,120 foreign books, as well as hundreds of periodicals.

The Egyptian National Museum, founded in 1902, contains unique exhibits from prehistoric times up to the 3rd century ad, and it also has a notable Department of Antiquities, established in 1835, which supervises excavations and administers archaeological museums. There are many specialized museums, including the Coptic Museum, devoted to the history of the old Christian Monophysites; the Museum of Islamic Art; the Greco-Roman Museum; the Agricultural Museum; the State Museum of Modern Art; the Islamic Archaeological Museum; the Railway Museum; and the Cotton Museum. There is a museum dedicated exclusively to the work of Mohmoud Mokhtar in Cairo. Several former royal palaces have been transformed into museums: the Al-Gawhara Palace in Cairo (a converted 19th-century Ottoman palace), Ras at-Tin Palace in Alexandria, and Al-Montazah Palace in Montazah-Alexandria.

MEDIA

Telephone, telegraph, radio, and television services are operated by the state-owned Telecommunication Organization. In 2003, there were an estimated 127 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 99,500 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 84 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

As of 1999, there were 42 AM and 14 FM radio stations and 42 television stations, broadcasting mostly in Arabic. In 2003, there were an estimated 339 radios and 229 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 21.9 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 39 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 28 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

The two leading newspapers, with their estimated 2002 daily circulations, are Al-Ahram (The Pyramid ; 900,000) and Al-Akhbar (The News ; 780,000). Al-Jumhuriyah (The Republic ; 900,000) is the official publication of the government; Al-Ahram is the unofficial publication. The leading evening paper is Al-Misa'a (405,000). There is also an English-language newspaper, the Egyptian Gazette (40,000). Arev is a daily Armenian paper. There are two weekly Greek publications, Phos (20,000) and Tachydromos-Egyptos (2,000). Le Journal D'Egypte (weekly, 72,000) and La Reforme (daily) are the leading French publications.

On 23 May 1960, all Egyptian newspapers were nationalized and subjected to censorship. President Sadat ended formal press censorship in 1974, but the following year he set up a government council to supervise the newspapers. In 1981, President Mubarak revoked the ban on opposition newspapers, but the press remains sensitive to the wishes of the government. The Middle East News Agency is under the supervision of the information section of the Ministry of National Guidance. The constitution does provide for freedom of speech and press, though the government exercises control through media ownership, oversight, and a monopoly on resources such as newsprint.

ORGANIZATIONS

Most organizations in Egypt serve occupational and professional (particularly agricultural) goals. The land reform law makes it compulsory for landholders who have obtained land under it to join cooperative societies (such as the Egyptian Seed Association) to help supply them with tested seeds, tools if available, and possibly markets. Several multinational organizations are based in Egypt, including the African Farmers Association and the Arab Labor Organization. The International Labour Organization has an office in Cairo. There are many chambers of commerce, representing various cities and various economic groups. The Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce is in Cairo.

There are scholastic and archaeological, accounting, economic, historical, and other learned organizations. A national Academy of Scientific Research and Technology was established in 1971. The Egyptian Medical Association promotes research and education on health issues and works to establish common policies and standards in healthcare. There are also several associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions.

Egypt serves as a multinational center for many sports organizations, including Arab federations for boxing, fishing, basketball, judo, gymnastics, and fencing, to name a few. Many youth organizations are affiliated with religious institutions. Scouting programs are active, as are chapters of the YMCA/YWCA. The Egyptian Association of Women promotes higher education and professional training for women.

The multinational Arab Organization for Human Rights is based in Cairo. There are national chapters of the Red Crescent Society, CARE, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, UNICEF, and Caritas.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Passports and visas are required of tourists. Visitors arriving from most African, American, and Caribbean countries need either a certificate of vaccinations against yellow fever or a location certificate from the Sudanese government stating that they have not been in southern Sudan within the previous six days.

Tourism has been a major foreign exchange earner. It grew steadily after the end of the Iran-Iraq war. There were 6,044,160 foreign visitors in 2003, almost 69% of whom came from Europe. The 136,510 hotel rooms with 273,020 beds had an occupancy rate of 59%. Tourism receipts totaled $4.7 billion. The average length of stay that year was eight nights. Principal tourist attractions include the pyramids and Great Sphinx at Giza, the Abu Simbel temples south of Aswan, the Valley of the Kings at Luxor, and the Muhammad Ali Mosque in Cairo. Rides are available on fellucas, traditional sailing boats of the Nile. Popular pastimes among Egyptians include card playing, movie-going, and sports such as football (soccer), swimming, tennis, and horse racing.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Cairo at $239. Expenses in Alexandria were $242 per day.

FAMOUS EGYPTIANS

Egypt's first recorded ruler, or pharaoh, was Menes (or Narmer, fl.3100? bc), who united the southern and northern kingdoms and founded the capital at Memphis. Notable successor pharaohs included Cheops (Khufu, fl.26th cent. bc), who built the Great Pyramid at Giza; Thutmose III (r.1504?1450 bc), who greatly extended the empire through conquest; Amenhotep III (r.14171379 bc), who ruled at the summit of ancient Egyptian civilization and built extensive monuments; his son Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten, or Ikhnaton, r.13791362 bc), who, with his queen, Nefertiti, instituted a brief period of monotheism; and Tutankhamen (r.13611352 bc), whose tomb containing valuable treasures was found practically intact in 1922. Cleopatra VII (6930 bc) was involved in the political conflicts of the Romans.

Philo Judaeus (13? bcad 50?) attempted to combine Greek philosophy with Judaism. Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus, fl.2d cent. ad) was the foremost astronomer of ancient times. Egyptian-born Plotinus (ad 205?270) was a neoplatonic philosopher in Rome.

The most notable of Egypt's rulers under the Muslim caliphate was Saladin (Salah ad-Din, 113893), sultan of Egypt and Syria and founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. The founder of Egypt as a part of the Ottoman Empire was Muhammad 'Ali (17691849), of Albanian origin, the first of a dynasty that ended with the deposition of Faruk in 1952. 'Arabi Pasha (Ahmad 'Arabi, 1841?1911) led a popular uprising against British intervention in 1882 but was defeated. Later, the fiery political fight against British rule was waged by Sa'ad Zaghlul Pasha (1860?1927), a founder of the Nationalist Party, Wafd.

No one had greater influence on Egypt during the 1950s and 1960s than Gamal Abdel Nasser (Jamal 'Abd al-Nasir, 191870), the moving spirit of the army's revolt against the monarchy in 1952. As prime minister (195456) and president (195670), Nasser set Egypt on its socialist course and attempted to unify the Arab world through confederation. His successor as president, Anwar al-Sadat (as-Sadat, 191881), continued Nasser's policies but with important modifications, especially in relation to Israel; with Menachem Begin he shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 and negotiated the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979. Upon Sadat's assassination in 1981, Muhammad Hosni (Husni) Mubarak (b.1928), who had been air force chief of staff (196972) and vice-president (197581), became president of Egypt. Mohamed ElBaradei (b.1942) is the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

The poet Sami al-Barudi (18391904) wrote popular and highly regarded verses about Islam's heroic early age. 'Abbas al-Aqqad (18891964) has been called the greatest contemporary Arab poet and the most original Arab writer. Involved in a political plot, he was jailed and composed an Arab "De Profundis" about his life in prison. Taha Husayn (18891973), the most widely known modern Egyptian intellectual leader, was minister of education from 1950 to 1952. The poet and essayist Malak Hifni Nasif (18861918) sought an improvement in the status of women. Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi (18921955) was a renowned poet, essayist, and dramatist. Mahmud Taymur (18941973), a leading dramatist, wrote popular social satires and comedies. Um Kalthum (Fatma al-Zahraa Ibrahim, 1898?1975) was the most famous singer of the Arab world. Mohammed Hassanein Heikal (b.1923), journalist and author, was the outspoken editor of the influential newspaper Al-Ahram (195774) until he was forced by the government to resign. In 1988, Naguib Mahfouz (b.1912) won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Ahmed Hassan Zewail (b.1946) is an Egyptian-American chemist, and the winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on femtochemistry.

DEPENDENCIES

Egypt has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Asante, MolefiK. Culture and Customs of Egypt. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Bunson, Margaret. Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File, 2002.

Goldschmidt, Arthur. Historical Dictionary of Egypt. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2003.

. Historical Dictionary of Egypt. [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

Harik, Iliya F. Economic Policy Reform in Egypt. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

Rossellini, Ippolito. The Monuments of Egypt and Nubia. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2003.

Shaw, Ian (ed.). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Supples, Kevin. Egypt. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2002.

Weiss, Dieter. The Economics and Politics of Transition to an Open Market Economy: Egypt. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1998.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

Zuehlke, Jeffrey. Egypt in Pictures. Minneapolis: Lerner, 2003.

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Egypt

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Arab Republic of Egypt
Region: Africa
Population: 68,359,979
Language(s): Arabic, English, French
Literacy Rate: 51.4%
Number of Primary Schools: 18,522
Compulsory Schooling: 8 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 4.8%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 6,726
Libraries: 187
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 7,499,303
  Secondary: 6,726,738
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 101%
  Secondary: 75%
  Higher: 20%
Teachers: Primary: 310,116
  Secondary: 424,586
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 23:1
  Secondary: 17:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 94%
  Secondary: 70%
  Higher: 16%

History & Background


The Arab Republic of Egypt is situated at the crossroads between Europe and the Orient and between North Africa and southwest Asia. Egypt controls both the Sinai Peninsula, the only land bridge between Africa and the remainder of the Eastern Hemisphere, and the Suez Canal, the shortest sea link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean forms the northern boundary, on the east is Israel and the Gaza strip, on the south is Sudan, and on the west is Libya.

Approximately the size of Texas and New Mexico combined, Egypt occupies 1,001,494 square kilometers with 995,450 square kilometers of land area and 6,000 square kilometers of water. The land is mostly a vast desert plateau interrupted by the narrow green ribbon of the Nile Valley and delta. The longest river in the world, the Nile, flows 1600 kilometers through Egypt northward from the Egypt-Sudanese border to the Mediterranean Sea.

Egyptian economy is based on its natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, and several minerals. There are no permanent pastures, forests, or woodlands. Dependence on food imports is heavy. Almost all large-scale industry is in the public domain. Manufacturing produces mainly consumer goods, but also some iron, steel, aluminum, and cement. Economic diversity began in 1960 with industrialization efforts, development of oil revenues, tourism, Suez Canal income, and remittances from expatriates working in various Arab countries.

The private sector, dominated by food processing and textiles, is comprised of 150,000 small and medium businesses. Most Egyptians work for mini-firms; nearly 100 percent of the non-agricultural private enterprises have fewer than 50 employees, most have fewer than 10 and many have fewer than 4. Egypt ranks fourth in the world on the list of countries implementing privatization programs. In 1999, the economic picture turned rosy with a sustained growth rate of five percent, inflation below four percent, a budget deficit of approximately one percent of GDP, and foreign revenues of 18 billion, covering about 14 months worth of imports.

Egypt is a (limited) multiparty socialist state based on Islamic law. Suffrage is universal and compulsory. Politically, Egypt is divided into governorates (provinces) each subdivided into districts, which are further subdivided into communes. The governors heading each governate administer the plans and operation of the schools. The Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) comprises 99 percent of the population with Greeks, Nubians, Armenians, and other Europeans (primarily Italians and French) at less than one percent. The Hamitic people are descendents of the ancient Egyptians. Islam is the religion of 94 percent of Egyptians with Sunni Muslims in the majority; Coptic Christians and others make up the remaining six percent.

The population is concentrated in the Nile Valley and delta, an area roughly the size of Vermont, where approximately 95 percent of the population is packed into 5 percent of the country. Some 45.1 percent of Egyptians live in urban areas; approximately 2.3 million were living abroad in 1997. In 1995, the workforce numbered 16.9 million; in 1999, it had grown to 19.0 million. Approximately 40 percent of the labor force is engaged in agriculture, 38 percent in services, and 22 percent in industry. Unemployment is high; in 1999, the unemployment rate was estimated to be 11.8 percent. The population explosion is staggering. The population of 49 million in 1985 expanded beyond 68 million in 2000, an increase of more than 105,000 people per month. More than one-third of the population was under the age of 15 in 2000. The population growth rate has slowly declined from 2.8 percent in 1986 to 2.1 percent in 1999.

In 1992, an estimated 9 percent of the children under the age of five were malnourished. Estimates in the late 1990s reported that 52 percent of school children suffered from anemia and 20 percent from vitamin and protein deficiency. Poverty estimates vary; government statistics show 23 percent of Egyptian households to be below (the very low) poverty line in 1999. The consensus of independent observers is that the rate is closer to 35 percent. Arabic is the official language. Many variations of vernacular Arabic are spoken and the people in the Aswan region speak Nubian. The Coptic language spoken in the middle regions is the last stage of ancient Egyptianno longer spoken but still used in the Bohairic dialect for liturgical purposes.

Egyptian history dates back more than 7,000 years. In the period between 6000 and 2686 B.C., hunters and gatherers settled along the banks of the Nile and evolved into settled, subsistence agriculturists. Written language, religion, and institutions developed. The unification of Upper (Red Land) Egypt and Lower (Black Land) Egypt in the third millennium B.C. is considered by Egyptians to be the "First Time" or the creation of the universe. Unification marked the beginning of the Pharaonic Age. The monuments that remain give testimony to the administrative and religious structures developed in that era. Higher education in ancient Egypt took place in the temples where sciences such as physics, astronomy, solid geometry, geography, mathematics, measurements, and medicine were taught as well as ethics, music, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. Plato attended the University of "Eon" in Cairo.

The Pyramid Age lasted for five centuries and was followed by a long history of invasions. A Persian invasion overthrew the last Pharaoh in 525 B.C., and Persians ruled intermittently until 333 B.C. when Alexander the Great arrived, became the "king" of Egypt and founded Alexandria. Direct and exploitive Roman rule began in 30 B.C. upon the death of Cleopatra, lasting six centuries until 640 A.D. The Arab conquest of Egypt (639-641) eventually transformed a predominately Christian society into a Muslim country in which the Arabic language and culture were widely adopted. A number of dynasties ruled Egypt between 868 and 1260. In 1250, Turkish tribes crossed the borders eventually converting to Islam and controlling Egypt until 1517 when the Ottomans added Egypt to their empire. A dim period followed, lasting more than five centuries under the Mamluk and Turkish rules (1250 to 1798) and education, as with all aspects of life, stagnated and diminished. Napoleon's brief invasion (1798-1801) was accompanied by a commission of scholars and scientists sent to investigate every aspect of life in Egypt. Their report was later to become a valuable historic record. Ottoman pasha Muhammad Ali governed Egypt between 1805 and 1848 and initiated a dual system of education; one for children of the masses who attended traditional Islamic schools and the other for the elite civil servants and technicians who studied a broader range of subjects, generally of western origin.

Muhammad Ali established higher education military schools, a marine school, schools of medicine, pharmacology, veterinary medicine, engineering metallurgy, arts, irrigation, agriculture, industrial chemistry, gynecology and obstetrics, languages, accountancy, and administration during the first three decades of the 1800s. Turkey and other European countries forced Egypt to scale back education and military forces in 1841. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 highlighted Egypt's strategic geographic importance and paved the way for foreign intervention and domination. A 40-year British "protectorate," beginning in 1882 and lasting until 1922, continued the social and economic stratification of the society and the dual education system. Colonization brought with it the imposition of non-Egyptian models of schooling including education elitism. Education for the masses ("education for serfdom") was either nonexistent or limited to low-level subsistence activities. In the 25 years between 1882 and 1907, the Egyptian population grew from 7 to 11 million, but few new schools were founded. When independence came in 1922, more than 95 percent of the Egyptian population was illiterate.

Independence brought a monarchy with a multiparty parliamentary government system, but real power remained with the British and education remained elitist. It wasn't until Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in 1954 that serious efforts to expand Egyptian education began. Islamic values were a cornerstone of this education. The government began appointing the functionaries of mosques and Islamic religious schools while simultaneously expanding secular education. Five-year plans for 1961-1965 and 1966-1970 included as goals the education of the masses and guaranteed government employment for all higher education graduates. Hampered by three wars in 15 years, only modest educational gains were made. Nasser's era was one of socialism, planning, Arab nationalism, and the rise of Islamic radicalism. Upon Nasser's death, Anwar Sadat (1970-1981) moved to open and liberalize economic and political participation. His economic Open Door policy (infitah ) ended (de facto ) the college graduate hiring requirement and, by the mid-1980s, unemployment among university graduates was estimated to be as high as 30 percent. Sadat continued Nasser's educational patterns. Comprehensive national planning lapsed, but higher education was flooded with students, and more than a dozen universities or branches opened in the 1970s accompanied by mass migration of professors to higher salaries in other Arab countries.

Hosni Mubarak revived national planning. The developmental strategies of the first (1982-1987) plan included increasing manpower productivity through training and educational programs. Under this plan, student enrollments increased 27 percent; university enrollments, 6 percent; and the number of schools, 14 percent. A major goal of a 1988-1992 National Plan was to promote education, especially technical education, to produce the manpower resources needed for the expanding economy. The 1989 Educational Development Plan was designed to "equip the populace to value human rights, to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually, and to develop higher rational abilities; create a productive society by providing highly skilled and educated citizens; achieve the total development of individualseconomically, socially, and culturallyby integrating knowledge with attitudes and aspiration; and prepare a generation of scientists." The comprehensive plan proposed expansion of all educational levels, life-long education, and self education; educational reform, including coordination among educational sectors; eradication of illiteracy; continuous educational planning; educational research; variety in educational delivery systems; family participation in the education process; the separation of wages from college degrees; and improved dissemination of educational information and practices.

The succession of post-revolution leaders: Nasser (Arab Socialism), Sadat (Open Door), and Mubarak (Grand Revival) each established new national social and economic development goals, thereby requiring shifts in the direction of the educational system. The educational policies of the three national leaders, however, shared important common themesthey all supported universal education and the introduction of technological skills into society through the educational system.

The 1980s and 1990s saw Islamic acts of violence with assassinations of top government officials and security officers, members of the Coptic Christian minority, writers, and foreign tourists "in a relentless murderous cycle." The Society of the Muslim Brotherhood, established in 1928, became the major Islamic fundamentalist movement and has remained so. Essentially, the Brotherhood is an Islamic protest movement against change and modernity, government corruption, social and economic injustice, and foreign influence. With branches in other Arab countries, it comes close to being a transnational, pan-Islamic movement. In the mid-1990s, the government attempted to rid the educational system of Islamic influences by transferring hundreds of teachers to administrative posts, removing Islamic tracts from library shelves, and banning the imposition of veiling on young schoolgirls. The costs of three wars in fifteen years (1956 Suez War, 1967 Arab-Israeli Six Day War, and the 1969-1970 war of attrition) followed by world recession, drops in oil prices, and an exploding population strained resources for Egypt's massive educational efforts. The picture is reversing in the new millennium due to the rise of oil prices in 1999 and improved fiscal management.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations


Egyptian constitutions date back to 1923, 1956, 1958 (provisional), 1964 (provisional), and 1971 (significantly amended in 1980). The current constitution declares Egypt to be a democratic, socialist state and the Egyptian people to be part of the Arab nation. Islam is the state religion and Arabic the official language. Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation, and sovereignty is for the people alone. Political parties are regulated by law. Education, cultural, social, and health services are guaranteed. Every citizen has a constitutional guarantee to "choose the level and type of education that suit and agree with her/her talents, abilities and attitudes." Religious education is to be a principal subject in general education. Free education in the state educational institutions is guaranteed, and combating illiteracy is declared a national duty. Education Act No. 146/1981 grants educational authorities the power to require payments for "additional services" and for "insurance on the use of school equipment." A Ministry of Education decree in 1992 (No. 187) imposes such an annual fee (9 Egyptian pounds in primary school and 13.2 in elementary school). Still another decree (149/1986) imposes private group tuition of 2 Egyptian pounds monthly in primary school (3 pounds in preparatory school) for each course attended. Parent and teacher councils can double these fees.

The ambitious provisions of the 1989 Educational Development Plan were implemented by laws and decrees in the 1990s that:

  • changed the nine year compulsory education to eight years
  • increased the academic year from 30 to 38 weeks
  • established the General Organization for School Buildings to plan for school building needs
  • established a ten-year plan to eradicate illiteracy with emphasis on the education of women, the elderly, and rural populations
  • developed new training programs for teachers of learning-impaired children
  • allocated funds to establish one- or two-classroom schools
  • upgraded school quality at all levels with new curricula
  • coordinated university admission with secondary school diploma requirements
  • standardized teacher preparation
  • created a central division for educational planning within the Ministry of Education.

The 1990s were declared the National Decade of the Child and the National Decade for the Eradication of Illiteracy. The next educational plan, which covered the period from 1992 to 1997, contained corresponding programs for education. Program I, the promotion of education, planned for expanding and upgrading schools and universities and for expanding outside-of-school projects for dropouts and primary school non-enrollers. Program II planned for the eradication of illiteracy by the year 2000.

The plan set in motion the establishment of one-room rural schools for girls and community schools; upgrading the preparation of primary and preparatory teachers to the university level; initiation of a national program of in-service teacher training with in-county and overseas training; revision of primary and preparatory school curricula, textbooks, and teacher-guide books; expansion of modern technologies with laboratories, computer acquisition, remote teaching systems, video conferences for teacher training, and multimedia teaching materials; establishment of the National Center for Examinations and Educational Evaluation; transfer of kindergartens to the Ministry of Education; establishment of training for kindergarten teachers; and a center for developing kindergarten materials.


Educational SystemOverview

Current educational philosophy in Egypt is the product of three cultural heritages: British, secular (westernized) Egyptian, and Islamic (traditional) Egyptian. The British protectorate in Egypt left an exclusionary, state-controlled education system structured to serve elite (British) interests with little concern for the masses. The heritage was one of restricted opportunity, unenforced limited education (generally of poor quality), and higher education reserved mostly for the elite. Egyptians and non-English foreigners were left few options but to expand private and religious education.

Muhammad Ali, regarded as the father of modern Egypt and its education system, introduced a secular, modern, western educational philosophy complete with sciences. Egyptian leaders since the bloodless revolution that ended the monarchy in 1952 have espoused this approach, viewing it as essential to Egyptian development. Islamic education remained in place and, eventually, the traditional Islamic and the western educational tracks, with their differing orientations, created a dichotomized educational culture that persists to the present.

The Islamic heritage is an educational system, parallel to public education, that is basically a system of transmitting culture. From its founding in 972 until the modern period in the nineteenth century, Al-Azhar University mosque played a central role in shaping the country's religious, educational, and cultural life. At the bottom of the Islamic educational system were kuttabs (mosque or Quranic schools), the madrasas (religious schools), and the Sufi (mystical orders). Resting on memorization and recitation, the traditional methods for learning the Quran, this educational system does not stress experimentation, problem-solving analysis, or learningby-doing. Education is conceived as a process that involves the complete person, including rational, spiritual, and social dimensions. The Arab/Muslim heritage carries an orientation that transcends national boundaries to include all Arabs and Muslims. From 1922 on, Nasser offered free education, not only for Egyptians, but also for students from other Muslim countries. At the same time, Egypt sent teachers and administrators out to the rest of the Arab world where they set up and staffed schools and universities on a large scale.

Egypt's educational system both reflects and augments the socio-economic status of its own people. Historic conflicts between religious and secular leaders, between tradition and innovation, and between foreign and national interests all influence contemporary Egyptian education. Education in Egypt has political, social, and economic objectives, namely: education for strengthening democracy and comprehensive development as a continuous process, within the framework of Arab culture.

Political tides in Egypt are reflected in educational philosophy. In the early decades following independence, the political system was in a state of transformation and experimentation that resulted in confusing educational policies with fragmented development plans. In the era of economic concerns in the early 1960s, education became a tool to promote economic change. The social focus dominant in the later 1960s led schools to instruct strong Islamic values and democratic ideals. During the 1970s, which was a time of institutionalization, the educational system was bureaucratized.

The Egyptian government recognizes the tensions between Islam and western-generated science and attempts to develop educational goals facilitating both. Throughout the past 40 years, the strong autocratic government, rooted in the Islamic tradition of the protective father, sometimes conflicted with the democratization efforts in schools; nevertheless, the number of schools and technical schools increased even in times of economic downturns.

There is an abiding belief in education. It is viewed as vital to the transmission of cultural values and as a critical force in individual development and in national Egyptian development. Pre-university education reflects the dual secular and religious philosophies as it aims to develop the learner culturally, scientifically, and nationally at successive levels "with the aim of developing the Egyptian individual who is faithful to his God, his homeland, and to the values of good, truth, and humanity."

The public education system consists of three stages: the basic education stage for 4- to 14-year-olds (kindergarten for two years followed by primary school for five years and preparatory school for three years); the secondary school stage for three years, generally for ages 14 to 17; and the tertiary (university) stage. Education is compulsory for 8 years between the ages of 6 and 14. All levels of education are tuition-free at all government schools and institutions. In 1993, more than 13.8 million people were enrolled in state education at all levels. In five years, that figure grew by 5 million. Ninety-one percent of all school-age children were enrolled in school in 1991. When this figure is adjusted for school dropouts and students repeating grades, the enrollment figures drop to 84 percent. (Unofficial estimates place this figure at 70 percent). In 1996, the total official enrollment in primary, preparatory, and secondary schools topped 14 million, the equivalent of 88 percent of the school-age population (boys, 94 percent; girls, 82 percent). In 1998-1999, some 17 million students were enrolled.

Rural-urban inequities continue to persist; in 1991-1992, rural enrollments often did not exceed 50 percent of the appropriate age group and were as low as 10 percent in some regions. Gender inequities also persist; fewer female than male students are enrolled. Many girls drop out of school at the end of their basic compulsory program either to work or to marry. A law prohibiting girls from marrying prior to age 16 has slowly begun to affect the female dropout rates. The law is frequently ignored, however.

The planning process, especially at the basic education level, begins at the bottom as governate officials submit new project proposals (schools, classrooms, equipment, and teachers) and budget requests every year to the Ministry of Education.


Preprimary & Primary Education: Within the Ministry of Education, a Higher Council for Childhood supervises and coordinates preschool education with other concerned authorities. By ministerial decree, preschool education is intended to aid mental, physical, social, moral, and emotional development; develop language skills and numerical and technical abilities, especially creativity and imagination; raise children in a better environment; help children develop good personalities; and help children gradually accept formal school life and discipline.

In 1995-1996 there were 2,060 preschools staffed by 10,913 teachers, enrolling 266,502 students. Preschool enrollment included 80 percent of the children in the relevant age group (boys, 86 percent, and girls, 74 percent). There are no periods in the preschool day; days are filled with activities and experiences to help children develop their spiritual, moral, physical, social, and emotional domains. Homework or outside duties are strongly discouraged.

All preschool institutions, whether state run or privately operated, are under the Ministry of Education, educationally, technically, and administratively. The Ministry selects and distributes textbooks; the use of any additional textbooks is forbidden. Guidelines state that each class is to have two teachers and a helper in addition to a music teacher. The maximum class size is 45 students. No child less than 4-years-old is allowed in state preschool classes or schools. The private sector can accept children younger than 4, but not less than 3 years and 9 months.

Primary school is also concerned with physical, social, moral, and emotional development, as well as with giving children the knowledge and technical skills needed for a successful practical life. Students may attend non-government private schools, religious schools, or government schools. Primary schools enroll 60 percent of the total school population for all levels of schooling in Egypt. Approximately 45 percent of the primary students are girls, and the majority of primary teachers are women. English and French private schools are growing in popularity as bilingualism gives children social and academic privileges and later lucrative employment. Primary enrollments continue to climb. Primary schools served more than 1.0 million more students (7.5 million) in 1995-1996 (in more than 22,000 additional classrooms) than in 1990-1991. In 1995-1996, the Al-Azhar Moslem system served 704,446 students in 1,912 primary schools with another 147,762 students enrolled in 1,030 preparation (grades 6 through 8) schools.


Secondary Education: The second tier of compulsory education (grades 6 through 8) lasts for three years. Students completing the primary tier of basic education can complete the second tier in general preparation schools, in vocational training centers or schools, or in vocational preparatory classes. Completion of this tier earns the Basic Education Completion Certificate or the Certificate in Vocational Basic Education. An important function of preparatory education is to provide a safeguard against illiteracy as early school dropouts tend to lapse back into illiteracy. The enrollments in preparatory schools in the 1990s totaled 3,679,325, less than half that of the primary schools. Preparatory schools reflect the attrition occurring in the final primary year.

There are two types of public secondary education: general secondary education and technical secondary education. To enter general secondary education, students must pass a national exam given at the end of their preparatory stage. Secondary schools conduct examinations every month for the first two years, and students take a national exam in the final year. Those who pass receive the Certificate of General Secondary Education, a requirement for admission to the universities (accompanied by a strong academic record). A wide range of social, cultural, athletic, scientific, and artistic extra-curricular activities are available in secondary schools, usually sponsored by the teachers. Enrollment expanded significantly between 1990-1991 and 1994-1995 in secondary school (47 percent in general secondary and 85 percent in technical-vocational secondary). In 1994-1995, general secondary enrollment reached 894,400 students, while technical-vocational enrollment was more than twice as high at 1,893.800 students. In 1996 secondary school enrollment included 68 percent of the appropriate age group (boys, 71 percent; girls, 64 percent). In 1995-1996 there were 2,753 secondary schools with 6,142,651 students and 369,107 teachers.

The parallel Islamic educational system, also known as the Al-Azhar system, has a four-year primary stage, a three-year preparatory stage, and a four-year secondary stage. Girls and boys attend separate schools. In 1995-1996, the Al-Azhar Moslem system operated 57 secondary schools with 165,829 students. The curriculum is identical to the normal public curriculum with additional study of the Quran and Islamic sciences. Graduates are automatically accepted into Al-Azhar University.


Special Education: In 2000 approximately 10 to 12 percent of pre-university students were special education students. Responsibility for the physically challenged is shared by the Ministry of Education (concerned with the education of the blind and partially sighted, deaf and partially deaf, and mentally retarded), the Ministry of Social Affairs (provides rehabilitation services to all disabled persons), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Manpower. By 1994-1995, a total of 25 schools for the blind, 95 schools for the hearing-impaired, and 107 schools for the mentally impaired students were operating. Special schools and classes are provided at all levels, serving a total of 22,043 students in 1996-1997.

English language study is part of the curricula in the preparatory stage of basic special education (seventh and eight grades for the deaf and fourth grade for the blind). Changes in the 1990s include a library class added to primary education for the blind and the deaf as well as a class in Arabic handwriting as a separate subject from the Arabic language. A kindergarten for deaf children, starting from age 4, was planned for 1995-1996. Special government departments are authorized for multi-handicapped children and for learning disabled children. Government-sponsored special education schools serve the gifted and talented and the mentally retarded, as well as the physically challenged. Plans to identify gifted students in the kindergarten stage and then to provide special learning experiences for them were developed in 1996. In 1994-1995, some 699 new classrooms were established for 20,790 gifted secondary students. The Ein Shams University School for the gifted was developed with 12 classes serving 261 children.

Other special schools include private schools in villages attached to mosques and private foreign schools where the language of instruction is often not Arabic. At the end of each month, all children in each grade are tested on the same monthly educational unit. In January, they are tested on all three units. The process is repeated in May. The examinations at grades three and five and in preparatory school are prepared and administered locally and considered to be uneven and poor in quality. Children scoring badly on the Grade 5 exam are placed in the least desirable preparatory schools; those scoring badly on the Grade 8 exam may only enter technical secondary schools. An extensive nationally-constructed testing system devised in the 1990s was never implemented. Regional authorities resented national intrusion and refused to cooperate; however, gentler means of improving testing have been introduced.


Higher Education: In the 27 years between 1951-1952 and 1978-1979, student enrollment in public universities grew nearly 1,400 percent. In 1989-1990, there were 14 public universities with a total enrollment of 700,000 students. Four private universities opened in 1996, and there were 612,844 students (231,065 women) and 33,100 academic staff by 1993-1994. By 2000, the universities generated 150,000 graduates a year.

A two-semester system for the school year was instituted in all universities in 1992. The university academic year is 30 working weeks. Arabic is the medium of instruction in humanities, social studies, education, law, commerce, economics and political sciences, information, social service, tourism and hotels. English is widely used in the faculties of medicine, pharmacology, dentistry science, and engineering.

Higher education includes non-university training in Egypt in engineering and technological education institutes, education institutes, private institutes, technical industrial institutes, and commercial and hotel institutes. Since the late 1970s, the government initiated policies to reorient postsecondary education toward technical training programs in agriculture, commerce, and a variety of other fields. Student subsidies were partially responsible for a 15 percent annual increase in enrollments in the country's five-year technical institutes. In 1993-1994, 49,703 students were enrolled in commerce institutes (24,906 women) and 31,259 in technical institutes (9,401 women). Universities, however, permitted graduates of secondary schools and technical institutes to enroll as "external students;" they could not attend classes, but could sit for examinations and earn degrees. The policy resulted in a flourishing clandestine trade in class notes and professors overburdened with additional examinations.

Literacy education began in the 1930s when the Ministry of Social Affairs opened a number of rural welfare centers in the governates offering limited health services and literacy education. Progress through the next decades was slow, and rural illiteracy remained high. President Mubarak launched a massive campaign for the eradication of illiteracy from 1993 to 2002. The General Agency for the Eradication of Illiteracy and Adult Education oversees the schedule for the literacy plan, which targets the 9,792,800 illiterates between the ages of 15 and 35. The literacy plan includes evaluation and rewriting of literacy curricula and educational materials, a collaborative effort between the Agency, UNICEF, and the Center for Curriculum Development and Educational Materials (three integrated books on Arabic, mathematics and general culture plus teachers guides were Completed by 2001), and training programs for leaders and supervisors (more than 13,389 teachers and supervisors have been trained). In addition, the plan includes training unemployed institute and university graduates for teaching literacy (in 1996 about 30,000 of these graduates were trained); using 10,000 military-enlisted personnel to identify learners and equip classrooms with materials; a publicity campaign; conferences and workshops on literacy; the development of a database and information system; and bilateral agreements with UNICEF, UNESCO, Arab organizations, and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations). Special literacy classes are provided for those with special needs.

Female literacy in 1927 was only 5 percent; fifty years later it was 38 percent (male literacy was 62 percent). The combined adult literacy rate was estimated at 44 percent in 1980, the lowest of 10 comparable lower-middle income countries. In 1995, UNESCO estimated the literacy rate to be 51.4 percent (males, 63.6; females, 38.8 percent). As of June 1996, more than 956,000 adult learners completed the literacy program, with more than 596,000 other students attending 27,225 classes. By 1998, adult literacy is believed to have increased to 62.2 percent as a direct result of the government initiatives. Government financial support for literacy education increased from slightly less than 6 million Egyptian pounds in 1992-1993 to nearly 79 million Egyptian pounds three years later. In addition, the Social Fund allocated 105 million Egyptian pounds to mobilize college and institute graduates to work in the project.


Technology & Instructional Materials: In the early 1990s, The Center for Educational Technology was established within the Ministry of Education. Technology equipment is considered "as a medium for developing scientific thinking, problem solving, new modes of learning, and training and communication." New technology planned for pre-university schools includes computers, projectors, television and video sets, and CDI sets. A five-year plan to equip 10,000 schools with this new technology was completed, and 2,000 computer instructors were appointed to secondary schools. Advanced science laboratories were developed in secondary schools (1,500 laboratories with 16,500 new computers). By the mid-1990s, about 200 pre-university schools were linked to the Internet with one pre-university school working on the Globe Project, which gathers environmentally-related global data for sharing with other schools. The Center, in collaboration with the General Department for Educational Aids, is implementing an integrated plan to enhance educational aids such as transparencies, colored slides, still films, models, and microscopic and biological samples; to produce laser CDs for various topics in the curriculum starting with the very early years; and to produce videotapes and audio tapesespecially in the language areas (Arabic, English, and French).

Training on the new equipment has been introduced in Cairo and will eventually take place in educational technology centers closer to schools. In collaboration with Egyptian Radio and Television, distance-training programs are being developed to assist teachers. Six training centers throughout the country are being connected through a fiber optic network to facilitate exchange of information and maximize the use of the technology. Multi-media laboratories, the Internet, and language and computer laboratories are being introduced in the colleges of education. The Egyptian University's Network (EUN) links university computer centers and research institutes throughout Egypt and is the Egyptian gateway to the Internet and Terena. Internet use is available to all universities, faculty members, and graduate students (with about 1300 users in the mid-1990s). More than 80 organizations throughout Egypt can also access it.


Foreign Influences: Extensive foreign influence is apparent throughout Egyptian education. Examples include UNESCO and Fulbright support of overseas teacher training, World Bank engagement in distance education and educational reform as part of loan programs, and technical and scientific education aid using expertise, facilities, and equipment from Americans, French, Germans, Italians, and Japanese. UNICEF aids in development of educational materials. Teachers are sent overseas to the United States, the United Kingdom, and France for training. The Egyptian-Swiss Fund for Development works to improve primary education. Pan Arabic conferences set the aims and goals of education in Egypt and other nations.


Preprimary & Primary Education

Early childhood education is rooted in Arabic culture. Egyptian nursery schools and kindergartens date back to the turn of the twentieth century. In the 1930s, the Child Guidance Clinic attached to the Higher Institute of Education (now Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University) was founded. The movement for out-of-home education grew as more women entered the workforce and as they formed Women's Associations. Childcare centers and homes accept infants as young as two months. These are primarily "child keepers," lacking educationally oriented services or intervention programs. Day care centers are regulated by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Nursery schools accept children as young as two years, but three is the most common minimum. Some nursery schools are attached to private regular schools (language schools and foreign schools) but are considered high cost. Others, sponsored by the Ministry of Social Affairs, are widespread and inexpensive, but lack resources and personnel. Some are sponsored by private organizations, especially women's societies, and some by mosques, churches, industrial factories and recreational clubs.

Kindergartens are primarily concerned with pre-academic orientation. Activities are designed for children to learn sound values of religion, social cooperation, and physical being. In 1977, a presidential decree bolstered the development of kindergartens through the establishment of a National Committee on the Welfare of Children. In the 1990s, the educational structure was revised to gradually include kindergarten into the basic education stage, although attendance is not compulsory. Enrollment doubled in the six-year period from 1990-1991 to 1996-1997. Kindergartens have many of the same sponsors as nursery schools. "Private for Profit" kindergartens have primarily middle class clientele because parents must pay. "Private Least Profit" kindergartens are frequently affiliated with educational institutions, humanitarian service organizations, or social associations. "Public Least Profit" kindergartens deliver services at very reduced costs to low-income families. The main objective is preparation for formal training with pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-arithmetic activities. A secondary objective is sensory-motor development and emotional-social development. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of the time is spent in pre-academic and 30 to 40 percent in language-based activities (poetry, story listening and telling, environment, music, singing and rhythmic activities, and arts and crafts). Most activities are play-based.

The National Conference for the Development of Primary Education Curricula in 1993, maintained the dual aims of Islamic religious concerns and secular modern concerns when it identified as major goals for basic education:

  • "Preparing and developing Egyptian citizens in a manner that will assist them to adjust to the demands of a modern changing society and to face the renewable challenges, besides enabling them to comprehend the religious, national, and cultural dimensions of their identity."
  • "Providing the society with citizens who have mastered basic scientific skills, with special emphasis on skills of reading, writing, arithmetic, and the disciplines of future sciences (science, mathematics, and languages)."
  • "Providing citizens with the essential fundamental knowledge on health, nutrition, the environment, and the development-related issues."
  • "Preparing and assisting citizens to develop transferable skills, including analytical skills, critical thinking, scientific skills, and problem-solving skills that can enable them to respond to ongoing demands and adjust to scientific and technological progress."

The Ministry revised primary school curricula and teaching methods and increased the number of teachers in the 1990s. Primary education was redesigned into two levels. The first level includes grades 1 to 3 where the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics should be mastered (in addition to religious education). At the end of the second level, grades 4 and 5, children should be able to utilize these skills in everyday activities. Children are tested at the end of grades 3 and 5 in mathematics and Arabic, plus science and social studies at grade 5. Up to 70 percent of the curriculum is spent in acquiring skill in Arabic, although classes in English (for fourth grade) were introduced in 1994, as were French classes in 1995. In the 1990s, an experimental language school was established to teach French, and science clubs were established. Special classes and/or schools for the gifted and handicapped are also provided.

Recognizing the malnutrition of many children, the Ministry of Education has initiated a nutrition program of fortified snacks for students in full-day schools. In 1995-1996, some 5,814,067 children benefited from the nutrition program. In addition, health insurance is provided for all pre-university children.

There are three types of primary schools: public schools, subsidized private schools, and unsubsidized private schools. Public schools and subsidized private schools are, for all practical purposes, indistinguishable. Neither charges any tuition, and both types of schools follow the same centrally prescribed curriculum. Private (unsubsidized) schools account for less than 5 percent of all primary school enrollments in Egypt and are found almost entirely in urban areas. Private schools include language schools, "service classes," or "private schools with fees." The language schools are often the remnants of foreign and missionary schools. They are under the control of the Ministry of Education, although they do have some independence. They offer training in foreign language, primarily English and French, starting in early grades. "Service classes" are remedial classes for sixth graders who fail the primary certificate examination. Until 1968, promotional exams and repetition in primary schools were not allowed and the only criterion for promotion was 75 percent attendance in each school year. In 1968, the policy changedone repetition was permitted at the end of the fourth grade with automatic promotion to the fifth grade after the repetition. In 1972, a similar policy of repetition was extended to the second grade. Rural schools are plagued by high dropout rates and gender-related disparities in enrollment. To address these problems, three alternative school models attuned to the traditions of the local community were expanding in rural areas: elementary occupational schools, community schools, and one-room schools for girls.

Elementary occupational schools were designed for students who complete the five years of primary school but don't wish to enter preparatory school or who are dropouts or push-outs from primary school. They cannot enroll in occupational training centers before the age of 16. Completion of the Elementary Occupational program earns a certificate of occupational basic education and permits enrollment in occupational secondary schools.

Community Schools in Upper Egypt are developed through partnerships involving UNICEF, local NGOs, and the Ministry of Education. The communities select teachers and provide school buildings and general coordination. Learning is emphasized rather than teaching, and teachers are referred to as facilitators. In each "corner" of the classroom, a group of children is helped by a facilitator (and assistants) to plan their own learning. School hours are flexible. Facilitators train for several months in programs modeling the learning environments that they can create for the children. The syllabus is the equivalent of primary school's and includes basic elements of occupational training. Student achievement equals or betters that of government schools. In 1995, approximately 34 percent of girls in areas with community schools were attending them, 23 percent attended government schools, and 43 percent were not in school. By the end of 1996, some 112 schools had been established with 40 more added during 1997. Girls comprised 70 percent of the enrollment in 1995.

One-room schools grew out of the age-old Quranic kuttab schools. The lack of sufficient rural schools, absence of actual legal sanctions against parents not sending their children to primary school, child labor practices, and the distance to schools are countered by these schools with rural locations, flexible schedules, and mostly female teachers from the same rural area. The curriculum is confined to religion, Arabic, arithmetic, social studies, science, and English. There is no physical education, art, or music. One teacher teaches school subjects for the first three grades, another for the fourth and fifth grades, and one does the vocational practices and production projects for the five grades. Teaching is provided for three and a half hours daily, five days a week. Fridays and market days are excluded. The plan is to establish 3,000 schools in hamlets, villages, and isolated places. By 1996-1997, a total of 1,594 schools serving 24,144 girls were in operation.

The Ministry of Education reported in 1994 that approximately 25 percent of the students do not complete the five-year cycle of primary school. Due to grade repetition, the average child takes more than six years to complete primary school. Repetition is concentrated in grades 4 and 5 (approximately 20 percent for each grade). The majority of primary school non-attendees lived in rural areas where resource constraints are most severe. Dropouts generally occur after four and a half years. Dropouts, even in primary school, have real earnings possibilities, particularly in the agrarian part of the economy. Many children, however, do not enter the formal labor market after leaving school; instead, they tend to work in the home or on the family farm. Egyptian research indicates that children with greater ability and achievement are the most likely to stay in school, students of lesser ability tend to leave school early, and higher quality schools tend to retain more students than those of lesser quality.

The second tier (preparation cycle) of basic general education consists of a compulsory core curriculum of general study for the first two years with specialization occurring in the third year. The student selects a specialization in the arts, sciences, or mathematics. The curriculum centers around environmental, social, economic, and health topics considered relevant to the lives of the young. Admission to some preparatory schools, like language schools or sportive schools, requires preliminary exams. Vocational preparatory schools accept repeated failures from the fifth grade (as well as those who passed.) They also accept repeated failures of any grade of the preparatory schools when the child's abilities hinder his or her progress in such education. Children passing medical and ability tests are admitted in preparatory sportive schools, as are Egyptian students returning homeland and foreign students. Preparatory enrollment increased significantly in the late 1990s. The National Conference for the Development of Preparatory Education (1994) designated that the objectives of preparatory education are to:

  • eliminate the main sources of illiteracy
  • emphasize the components of values
  • foster social cooperation
  • equip the student with principles, values, and skills needed to work, adjust, and interact within a technological society
  • provide the student with essential fundamentals of knowledge
  • develop self-learning skills.

The curriculum for the second stage of basic (preparatory) education was revised in the 1990s. Textbooks and teaching materials were correspondingly revised. The last year exam is a major hurdle. Those failing this exam are essentially cut off from the remaining educational ladder, since schools are crowded and the chances for repeating the grade are limited by available space. As part of the educational reform of the 1990s, a 1993 conference laid the groundwork for undertaking comprehensive assessment, not limited to written examinations but including oral and scientific exams plus performance measures. The introduction of exams and repetitions led to the rise of private tutoring. In 1997, two-thirds of primary students and nearly all secondary students hired tutors.

Secondary Education

From the Ptolemaic Age (323-200 B.C.) through the rule of Mohamed Ali in the first half of the nineteenth century, secondary education in Egypt was intended to prepare students for higher education or for work in governmental departments. The three-year general secondary curriculum continues to prepare students for higher education.

Educational opportunities vary widely in Egypt, and many students engage private tutors during their third year in order to prepare for the national test (Thanawiyya Aama ). The exam is extremely difficult, covering all content areas throughout the secondary curriculum. Students are ranked for possible college application on the basis of their exam scores. The ranking is very important because exam scores determine if university admission is possible and to which major (faculty) the student will be assigned. Universities cannot accommodate all secondary level graduates, and poor scores remand students to applying to technical institutes.

Traditionally, failing in one subject in the national exam meant retaking all subjects. After studying secondary school certification in the United States, United Kingdom, and France, the system was changed in the 1990s by extending the examination, requiring testing in some compulsory subjects, providing a choice from different sets of subjects, and providing unlimited chances for retaking the examinations. The new system was phased in during the late 1990s; the new exam, however, was not upgraded to assess higher-order skills.

Technical education comprises industrial, agricultural, and commercial schools. Advanced technical schools offer a five-year program to train "Senior Technicians." Technical secondary schools provide a three-year program to train "Technicians," and vocational secondary schools offer a three-year program to train "Craftsmen." In the 1990s, the curriculum and texts were revised in industrial schools and new specializations were added, including: mechanical, marine, vehicles, architecture and building, decorative, textiles, metal work, medical aids, railways, printing, and electrical. The curriculum is intended to provide students with knowledge and skills required in practical work situations as well as a basic academic core of courses. Technical education saw the introduction of application-oriented courses, new specializations, new equipment, new secondary schools, and improvements in technical teacher training.

Different organizations, companies, philanthropic societies, and ministries also offer training with study programs below university level that extend for three years. Vocational schools award a technical diploma equivalent to that of the industrial secondary schools. Their curriculum and training methods differ from those of the Ministry of Education. Fields of study include health education, nursing and first aid, transportation, mining, industrial education, communication, electrical power, and construction and building. In 1994-1995, enrollments in technical secondary programs totaled about 1.75 million, more than twice the enrollments in general secondary education. In 1992, approximately 67 percent of all secondary students were enrolled in a technical program. Only one percent of these students advanced to university study. The labor market cannot absorb all those graduating from the technical schools, and many remain unemployed for four to six years after graduation. School dropouts reaching labor force age in 1989-1990 numbered 162,000. In 2000, it was reported that 500,000 students leave the Ministry of Education's commercial, industrial, and agricultural secondary schools every year400,000 as graduates and 100,00 as dropouts.


Higher Education

There are essentially three types of universities: those offering preparation for the world of work; those concerned with development of scientific research serving the community and contributing to the development of various fields; and those offering general cultural and intellectual activities. In 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, presidential decrees authorized 35 new institutions to be located in different areas of the country and to include new disciplines such as genetic engineering and new branches of existing disciplines such as colleges of education. In 1996 a presidential decree authorized the development of four new private universities: Egypt's International University, Egypt's Science and Technology University, October Six University, and The October University for the Arts and Contemporary Sciences. Higher education institutions expanded from 144 institutes and colleges in 1981 to 208 in 1996. Tuition is free at public universities for Egyptians; foreign students pay modest tuition fees. Tuition at the American University in Cairo was $10,000 in 1997. It differs from Egyptian universities in that it is based on the departmental and credit-hour system. In September 2000, plans were announced for a new British not-for-profit university to open as early as October 2002. The initial curriculum will focus on areas crucial to Egypt's long-term growth: engineering, management, and information technology.

A Central Orientation Bureau controls admission to undergraduate studies. The bureau matches student preferences with the availability of places and programs at the institutions. Admission requires a General Secondary Education Certificate. Some departments also require oral and/or written entrance exams and/or interviews or high grades in qualifying subjects. In 1991-1992, universities admitted 74,310 students. By 1996, admissions more than tripled, totaling 237,873. In 1991-1992, 11,899 students earned undergraduate degrees; by 1995-1996, this number had risen to 14,587. In 1991-1992, a total of 4,495 Masters degrees were awarded; in 1995-1996 this number was 6,097. In 1991-1992, some 2,128 doctorates were granted; the total rose to 2,818 in 1995-1996. In all, a total of 23,502 university degrees (at all levels) were awarded in 1995-1996 compared to 18,522 in 1991-1992.

While higher education is free for all Egyptians; foreign students pay modest tuition fees. Hostels are provided for Egyptian students from distant rural regions who need financial assistance. Separate hostels are available for males and females. Meals, medical care, and social services are also provided. Board and lodging are heavily subsidized. Fifty million Egyptian pounds have been allocated to upgrade university laboratories and relevant equipment. Ten million pounds have also been allocated for upgrading computer laboratories and computer instruction. An additional 50 million pounds are earmarked for upgrading university libraries. New undergraduate studies using English and French as the languages of instruction have been introduced in the colleges of commerce, economics, political science, and management. Plans for the "science of the future" specialized centers focusing on specialized disciplines such as genetic engineering, space, and analysis of new global trends, are to be introduced in all universities. The Genetic Engineering Center for Biological Technology was established at Menoufia and the Center for Futuristic studies at Assiut University. Computer education has been introduced, and colleges for computer science and information will be established at Cairo, Ein Shams, Mansoura, and Helwan Universities.

Several non-university advanced educational opportunities also exist. The National Institute for Higher Administration in Cairo provides training in administration for various levels of in-service personnel from all ministries and organizations. The English for Specific Purposes Center in Alexandria provides postgraduate study in linguistics and translation. Full-time students study for one year, while part-time students study for two years. Successful completion results in a diploma in linguistics or translation. The Higher Institute of Technology in Banha provides university-level education in various specializations in technological fields. The International Center for Inspection and Control Studies in Alexandria conducts training for university graduates from Egypt and Arab and African countries in a program lasting one year.

Schools of art and music include the Academy of Arts (Giza), Higher Institute of Ballet (Cairo with branches in Alexandria and Ismailia), Higher Institute of Cinema (Cairo), Higher Institute of Theatre Arts (Cairo), Higher Institute of Arab Music (Cairo), Higher Institute of Music (Cairo), Higher Institute of Folklore (Cairo), Higher Institute of Art Criticism (Cairo), and the Higher Institute of Child Arts (Cairo). The French University in Egypt (Cairo) offers a wide range of courses and hosts study-abroad students.

Postsecondary colleges and institutes were created to offer non-traditional disciplines and to respond rapidly to societal needs. Engineering and Technological Education Institutes, established in the 1990s, produce engineers who combine both theoretical and applied expertise. In 1995-1996, five institutes enrolled 3,854 students. Specialized Education Institutes offer training in music education, technical education, kindergarten education, home economics, educational technology, educational media, physical education, one-room school teaching, special education, and English. In 1995-1996, enrollment was 14,019 students. Private institutes offer training in areas such as computer technology, social work, tourism, hotel management, agricultural and management cooperatives, economics media, and language. Private junior institutes train in social work, secretarial skills and computers. In 1995-1996, some 43,766 students wereregistered. Technical Industrial Institutes produce graduates to fill the gap between expert engineers and technical laborers. In 1995-1996, some 22 institutes enrolled 56,491 students. Commercial and hotel institutes provide further education for graduates of commercial secondary high schools. In 1995-1996, some 65,721 students were registered. Health care, nutrition, housing and social care are heavily subsidized for students at institutes.

In 1995-1996, Egyptian universities and higher institutes hosted 3,493 foreign undergraduates and 1,299 postgraduate students. An additional 104 foreign students attended training centers. The Educational Center for Arabic language Instruction teaches Arabic to international students and has various clubs provide enriching experiences. Egypt participates in the American Project Hope (for nursing institutes), Fulbright educational exchanges, the German Corporation for Academic Exchange, and international university linkages for doctoral candidate supervision. Egyptian professors are sent to universities and organizations in other countries.

The university and college libraries are said to be very poor and, in many cases, outdated. They suffer from lack of funds; from poorly trained, poorly paid, uninterested librarians with limited English facility; and in some cases, from deteriorating facilities. The main gaps in holdings are in periodicals, reference books, bibliographies, abstracts, and indexes. Reasonable quantities of Arabic books and journals are available, as are audiocassettes and quantities of microfilmed journals from the 1960s and 1970s, donated by USAID. Even 1992 reports indicate that the typical Egyptian student is unlikely to have used a library before arriving at college and is even unlikely to use one during college, given the emphasis on rote learning and the unfamiliarity with independent learning. University libraries include Alexandria University Central Library (45,000 books, 1,000,000 microfiches and films, 1200 periodicals, 2,500 manuscripts, and 17,500 dissertations); Assiut University (250,000 volumes); Al-Azhar University (60,000 volumes and 20,000 manuscripts); the American University in Cairo (275,000 volumes); and Cairo University (1,407,000 volumes and 10,000 periodicals). Other libraries in Cairo include the Arab League Information Center (30,000 volumes and 250 periodicals); Central Library of the Agricultural Research Center (25,000 volumes); and the Center of Documentation and Studies on Ancient Egypt (scientific and documentary reference center for all Egyptian Pharaonic monuments with 4,500 volumes and 33,000 photographs). National libraries include the Library of the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics; National Archives of Central Administration, National Assembly Library; and the National Information and Documentation Center. Many of the higher institutes of art and music also contain specialized libraries. School libraries, when they exist, even in the 1990s are likely to be a locked cupboard in the headmaster's office.

In the 1990s, Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the President, led a national campaign to build libraries for young people in Cairo and other major cities with children's areas, multimedia, trained librarians, children's programs, and locations in attractive surroundings in public parks or near recreational activities. The Ministry of Education developed plans for upgrading school libraries in 1993, and space for libraries is part of new school designs. Basic school library lists were prepared in the 1990s, and 2,975 tapes were provided for schools.


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research


Government Agencies: Educational administration in Egypt is structured into four main levels. At the top is the Ministry of Education (MOE), headquartered in Cairo and headed by the Minister. The ministry contains nine functional areas of administrative support: finance, administrative development, statistics, education (technical, general, and basic), and service (extracurricular, instructional materials, and general). The MOE is charged with establishing plans, programs, procedures, and administrative support systems for carrying out national education policies established by the Higher Council for Pre-University Education, the highest educational policy body in the country. The MOE also oversees the Supreme Council of Universities. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs administers Al-Azhar University and associated schools.

The Supreme Council of Universities defines the general policies of university education and scientific research and determines admission numbers, fields of specialization, and equivalencies. The Supreme Council is comprised of the Minister of Education (Chair), presidents of various universities, experts, and the Secretary of the Supreme Council of Universities. In 1994, new councils were created to assist the Supreme Council: a Council for University Education and Student Affairs, A Council for Graduate Studies and Research, and a Council for Community Service and Environmental Development. The second main structural level is found in each of the regional governates. Since the 1970s, an incremental approach to decentralized decision-making has been taking place. An undersecretary or director general heads the educational system of each governate. Most of the regional planning, teacher appointments, evaluation, and training occur at this level. The third level is the district headed by a district director general. Finally, the fourth level is the director of the individual school, called a headmaster. The headmaster has minimal decisionmaking authority and functions basically as a teacher coordinator and identifier of problems that are sent up the hierarchy for others to solve. Except for the Minister, all administrators begin their careers in the classroom and work their way up a rigidly maintained seniority ladder.

The Ministry of Education supplies capital and operating expenses for public education through taxes, customs, and other general and local revenues. Additional revenue derives from examination fees, local levies, and donations. In some cases, local jurisdictions construct new schools and turn them over to the Ministry. Significant external funding has been provided by USAID, extensively supporting basic education, and UNESCO, supporting literacy and adult education. Teachers are allocated to schools on the basis of official enrollment levels and are paid out of the central budgets allocated to each educational zone. Books and most other student supplies are centrally purchased and distributed to the schools according to enrollments. The budgeting process provides a degree of regional participation in resource allocation: the governates propose their financial requirements based on formula-driven teacher/student/school ratios. The rigid formulas, however, limit flexibility. The Ministry of Education prioritizes the budget requests before sending the entire package to the Ministry of Finance where final decisions are made.

UNESCO reported that from 1975 to 1983, the percentage of GNP spent on education declined from 5 percent to 4.1 percent. In 1988, education in Egypt received 10.6 percent of the national budget. Of 23 comparable middle and lower middle-income nations reporting, only Turkey spent less on education (10 percent). Expenditures on education increased during the 1990s largely as a result of an extensive school building program and in 1998, reached 19 percent of total spending (between 6 and 7 percent of GDP). In the 1980s, public universitiesaccounting for roughly seven percent of total student enrollmentreceived more than one-fourth of the education budget. In 1984, budget and personnel figures painted a "top heavy" picture as they reported as much as 25 percent of personnel salaries earmarked for administration, an unusually high figure. For each primary school (grades 1 through 6), there were 2.2 headmasters and 1.9 vice-principals.


Educational Research: The National Center for Educational Research in the Central Ministry of Education coordinates educational policy with that of the National Specialized Councils, exchanges information with the institutions throughout the world, provides local and foreign documents on education, and publishes various works on education in Egypt and the Arab world. Critics complain that research at the Center is rarely directed toward guiding the future of education with analyses of economic and social trends in terms of occupational needs.

Most research occurs in isolated sectors of schools of education housed in Egypt's main universities. Egyptian educational research was originally designed according to statistical models and focused on answering questions relative to the effects of student and environmental characteristics on rates of learning. The research largely resulted in teacher education programs characterized by study of psychology, environmental factors, cultural values, experiential education, and the "Egyptianization of the Stanford Binet IQ test." In the 1990s, university-sponsored research projects within masters and doctoral programs aimed at increasing effective planning in the areas of educational economics, adult education, special education, and educational administration. Little coordination occurs however, between the university and government research to inform national policy.


Nonformal Education


Nontraditional Learning Environments: Science clubs are developing at the governorate level. By the mid-1990s, 12 such clubs had been established to provide activities in the field of electronics, environmental studies, computers, and science. A new interactive, hands-on science museum (The Exploratory Science and Technology Center) is developing at Nokrashi Secondary School. Technologically equipped trucks (mobile laboratories) provide a form of "Exploratory Education Center" to reach distant villages and towns. Also under development are Culture Museums using multimedia (a collaborative project between the Ministry of Education and the Supreme Council of Antiquities) and model schools of the future and schools for the gifted.

Adult education in rural areas is of vital importance in Egypt where in recent years, agricultural performance has seriously declined. Self-sufficiency in food production once at 94.5 percent declined by 1995 to only 52 percent. Illiteracy is high. Skill training in the agricultural sector is provided by extension educators as part of a Training and Visit system (T&V) linking farmers and agricultural research centers. Extension educators train farmers as adopter-leaders. The Agricultural Research Centers (ARC) operates eight research stations in different regions, each specializing in the main commodity of regional importance. In addition, agricultural faculties exist at 10 universities. Primary educational concerns center on how best to deliver educational and training programs.

Open university education assists with the process of Continuing Education to provide education for those who might have missed it or provide an opportunity for those who are already employed. In 1996, a total of 20,000 students participated in open education programs at the universities at Cairo, Alexandria, and Assiut. In addition "directed affiliation" programs, available at the colleges of Art, Law, Commerce, Social Work, Arabic Studies, and Colleges of Arts at the Women's colleges, expand opportunities for students. One hundred twenty-nine thousand students, representing about 17 percent of all university students, participated in these programs in 1996. Egypt's distance education initiatives include a regional communications network (RITSENE) implemented in 1995 and a Regional IT Institute, established in 1992. Current IT use is centered within a small, well-educated elite. The state-sponsored Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Center (RITSEC) promotes networking, software development, and education of computer professionals through conferences, training programs and its web-accessible Information Technology Service (IDSC). Internet services are available through Cairo University and the American university. Egyptian specialists, students abroad, and the expatriate community supply more online information from outside the country than is provided within Egypt.

Nonformal education is also offered by NGOs registered with Egypt's Ministry of Social Affairs. Egypt's NGO sector, today numbering 14,000 to 15,000 private non-profit organizations, offers training, sewing classes, religious instruction, and tutoring for the middle and lower-middle classes, but rarely for the poor. Most rural areas have no NGOs, as geographic outreach is concentrated around the provincial cities. The Community Development Associations (CDAs) category of NGOs offer sewing classes for girls and women, and skills training for youth as well as health clinics. Private (NGO) and governmental (rural welfare) societies have joined forces to deal with the accelerating out-migration from villages to the cities. Coordination of all services became codified into law in 1945. Religious-based (Muslim and Christian) welfare associations offering general education and religious instruction for youth. Although public education is free, the cost of supplementary tutoring so essential for success on all-important examinations, is a heavy burden on middle and low-income families.

Muslim NGOs and rural CDAs are establishing religious (Al-Azhar) institutes with government funding in response to the critical shortage of public schools and classrooms. "Religious" projects are frequently an effective NGO strategy for circumventing bureaucratic obstacles and garnering private donations for multipurpose facilities. There are 1 to 24 international NGOs (e.g., CARE, Save the Children, Project Hope, Near East Foundation) in Egypt that provide training and technical assistance to local NGOs, but little information on their educational activities is available. The MOE reports in 2000 that Egypt has about 90 postsecondary educational agreements with other countries including faculty exchange, joint research, delegations, symposia, and periodical and book exchange programs. Egypt and Qatar, for example, have an agreement for 2000-2003 on educational and scientific research cooperation. Egypt's international programs involve both Arabic and western countries. The international programs primarily benefit the educated elite.


Teaching Profession


A conference on teacher preparation in 1996 proposed a new plan to upgrade the skills of teachers and expose them to alternative methods of education, new trends, and new technologies. One result was in-country and international training opportunities for teachers. President Mubarak in 1995-1996 authorized overseas training for 1,000 teachers per year. They are sent to U.S., U.K., and French universities for four months. By June 1996, 1,939 teachers had completed overseas training.

Preprimary teachers traditionally were women with little formal university training. Plans call for gradually replacing unqualified teachers with qualified ones. Pre-school teachers in 2000 must be university graduates, preferably with specialization in child development who study child development, development of disabled children and development of the gifted and talented. Candidates at universities are encouraged to choose an area of childhood such as media, children's theater/library, early child psychology, or children's literature and museum study.

In the case of a shortage of properly qualified teachers, the Ministry may accept university graduates with other majors after giving them an extra year to earn a Special diploma in Childhood Education. Kindergarten headmasters must hold a higher degree in Childhood Education plus five years experience, or preferably a higher degree such as an M.A. or Ph.D. in this field.

The preparation of both primary and preparatory teachers was upgraded to university levels in the early 1990s. Preparation now takes place at universities in 15 colleges of education. Enrollment in 1996-1997 was approximately 10,000 teachers. The position of the special education teacher is viewed as a less than desirable position, socially and economically, and many low-achieving students are urged to enter the field.

Teaching positions at public secondary schools require a university degree and the postgraduate General Diploma in Education. Teachers are educated at one of the university schools of education. Teacher candidates can also take specialized courses in skill areas offered by the technical institutes. University education programs are of two types: integrated preparation and continuing preparation. The integrated teacher preparation begins with two years of courses that include principles of education and psychology, principles of teaching, social and historical foundations of education, and basic culture courses. If students successfully pass an exam at the end of the second year, they can advance to the third and fourth years of the program. In these years, they take courses in methodology, educational psychology and technology, educational philosophy, comparative education, curriculum, and social psychology as well as specialized and cultural courses. After student teaching, candidates are qualified for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.

The continuing teacher preparation is for graduates of non-education faculties who wish to become teachers. These candidates enroll in education courses full time for one year or part time for two years. Successful completion earns a General Diploma in Education. Technical schoolteachers are trained in special institutes. Teaching staff at the university level are generally required to hold the doctorate. Departments select faculty candidates subject to the approval of both a faculty board and a university council. An additional requirement is attendance in an educational training program on educational and psychological principles of teaching held annually for three weeks in the Faculty of Education. The teaching staff consists of lecturers, associate professors, and professors. Promotion to the rank above depends upon the originality and quality of research work and a minimum of five years in rank. The Permanent Scientific Committee affiliated with the Supreme Council of Universities administers university promotions.

Teacher-quality has been sacrificed by granting the General Diploma Program to non-education graduates, by requiring that university graduates performing poorly in technical fields become teachers, and by the lack of standard methods for qualifying teachers or standardizing their preparation. Additionally, pre-service teachers willingly work as expatriates in neighboring countries rather than assume Egyptian teaching jobs with lower salaries. In 1997, the average teacher's salary was less than $100 a month. Thus, some of the best teachers, those most able to handle content and develop a diverse repertoire of skills, are lost to Egyptian education programs. Further, few of the teachers received preparation in pedagogy. Their coursework is comprised of subject area classes and classes on teaching basic literacy. "They are products of the lecture-mode and don't adapt easily to the role of teacher-as-guide or instructional-manager"roles stipulated in the national curricula. To upgrade primary school teaching quality, the Ministry of Education in 1981 recommended that primary teachers be unilaterally enrolled in an ongoing education program sponsored by a university faculty of education. The courses are given after school hours and are part of a university degree program.

In the mid-1990s, 75 million Egyptian pounds, allocated to address the problem of occupational stagnation, resulted in the promotion of 53,422 teachers. Additional incentive awards totaled 27 million pounds. By the end of 1991-1992, allocations for additional awards reached 46.5 million pounds, a practice continued for the next five years. Other compensations of various types are given and headmaster remuneration increased in 1991-1992 to almost 100 percent over that of 1990-1991. In 1992, resources and pension funds increased for the teachers union (Teachers' Syndicate) including those for retired teachers. The Teachers' Collegial Fund increased by 5 million Egyptian pounds, resources for local teachers' hospitals by 500,000 Egyptian pounds, and Teachers' Cultural and Social Welfare Resources by 500,000 Egyptian pounds. The Teachers' Syndicate is the largest syndicate of teachers with the largest financial resources in Egypt and the Arab world. All teachers belong to the syndicate. The syndicate does not deal with national educational causes; the government excludes it from participating in decisions on national educational policies and in decisions made by advisory educational councils for technical training institutes.

A member of the Ministry of Education traditionally directs the syndicate and so does not represent the ideas or values of the rank-and-file teachers. After the revolution of the 1950s, political blocs were abolished to prevent organized workers in any field from striking or organizing opposition to the government. The Teachers' Syndicate remains however, but government intelligence personnel are assigned to keep an eye on syndicate meetings and activities.

Parents who want their children to have the best chance at national exams take advantage of the low pay and status accorded teachers and hire them as private tutors. Most citizens accept this arrangement as a means of having some control over their children's education. Tutoring grew to a $2 billion industry by 1997. Aside from the financial burden on parents and the increased income for teachers, tutoring impacts the educational system per se. Students begin to disregard ministry-designed curricula and replace them with tutor-recommended materials and lessons that have been successfully used as exam preparation tools. Too, abuses are not uncommon. Some teachers pressure students into private tutoring and for some, tutoring becomes a more important part of their workday than their official classroom duties and occupies after school time rather than in-service training.


Summary


The dawn of the 1990s found Egypt facing serious problems in educationproblems compounded by low literacy rates and an exploding population. Educational quality, particularly in basic education and in technical and vocational education, had seriously declined. Increasing numbers of graduates were unemployable and virtually untrainable. The curriculum was generally irrelevant to the students. School quality was uneven, with better quality schools in urban areas where the wealthy could pay for tutoring. Teachers lacked training in pedagogy. Learning, conducted with martial drills and physical punishment, encouraged rote memorization rather than critical thinking. For many Egyptian children, the result was fragmented information, "never to be ground into knowledge." In-service training, encumbered in bureaucracy and inconsistent funding, was shunned by many teachers in favor of tutoring for extra income. Pre-school assessment procedures did not exist. Required exams in primary and preparatory schools were often poorly designed. The national secondary final exam was fact-recall. Free education coupled with the population explosion led to burgeoning enrollments at all stages; an expansion beyond the capacities of the schools. Chronic teacher shortages, especially in rural primary schools, resulted from low prestige, low pay, and migration of teachers to better jobs in other countries.

In 1985-1986, nearly 155,000 primary and secondary teachers served 9.6 million people, a ratio of about 62 students per teacher. An over-abundance of administrators depleted salary budgets. Serious underfunding was reflected in deteriorating buildings, overcrowded schools and classrooms, poor or absent libraries, and lack of technology. Some city schools operated two and even three shifts daily. Crowded public classrooms held as many as 100 students in some Cairo schools, which was not the case in private schools. Only 31 percent of primary children attended a full-day school system. Most secondary schools lacked scientific laboratory and computer equipment.

Comprehensive educational planning tying educational programs and output to national needs was lacking. A serious mismatch between supply and demand produced incompetent degree-holders in unwanted subjects. Unemployment was high. Almost half of the students did not complete the basic school. Attendance was often poor and laws requiring primary school attendance were not enforced. Significant regional differences existed with nearly 90 percent of the urban children attending school, but that percentage was often far less than 50 percent for rural children. Dropout and grade repetition rates were high. Against this backdrop, massive changes began in the 1990s.

Egypt is in the midst of these changes as it implements a sweeping revision of its educational system; a revision aimed at upgrading and modernizing and transforming it into a coherent, continuous educational process. The primary and preparatory curricula were redesigned to be more relevant and more scientific with emphasis on experimentation and critical thinking. Texts and teaching manuals were revised. Kindergarten was designated as a part of the formal system and included in the comprehensive planning. Gender and rural/urban inequities and illiteracy are being addressed with special rural programs targeting girls, programs designed to be flexible and relevant to local needs.

To improve the quality and quantity of the teaching staff, pre-service and in-service training was revised and performance-related (merit) pay and changes in the technical standards of supervisors and inspectors instituted. Curriculum and texts are under revision in industrial schools with new specializations.

Medical insurance is provided for students in kindergarten and basic education, financed by charging the children four Egyptian pounds annually. (Private school students pay more.) These fees, plus fees for "additional services" and for taking primary and preparatory school exams, and the price of uniforms and tutoring costs (averaging 10 percent of family income per child in 1997) effectively removed the "free" from free education placing it out of reach for Egypt's poorest. No fees are charged however, in the rural community and one-classroom schools or to orphans whose fathers died in military or government service.

Education in Egypt will continue to face shortages of teachers, schools, and equipment unless the state makes a far greater financial commitment. Two decades of dropping birth rates means that the school-age population peaked in 1997 that should help to prevent shortages from worsening, but there is still a tremendous shortfall. The mechanistic learning of concepts and textbook-dependent learning and teaching are ingrained in the system. As long as testing is fact-dominated and doesn't cover higher order skills such as critical thinking and analysis of problems, teachers and tutors will continue to teach to the test and the lecture-rote system will persevere. In-service teacher training, distance learning, and technology may help, but so far they reach relatively few teachers. The rigid centralized bureaucracy clogged with excess seniority-promoted staff is cumbersome and slow moving and the highly centralized educational planning and policy-making tend to disenfranchise the very people at the local level who are entrusted with achieving its goals. Local districts need to be able to make adjustments suited to local needs.

Mindful of the lessons of Iran and Algeria, Egypt has so far curbed the violence and intrusion of the militant Islamic movement, something that is a concern for the future. Islamic militancy is the response to the grinding poverty, unemployment, and under-privilege of the masses and will continue so long as these conditions exist. The undercurrent of Islamic opposition to foreign ideas and western secular education still lurks however, and could ignite in the face of the sweeping educational changes aimed in that direction. Illiteracy is still extremely high, and eradication must continue to be a priority. The state's multi-pronged initiatives of the 1990s appear to be working and need to continue, as does the development of the rural alternative schools. Quality has not kept pace with quantity at the university level and there still appears to be a mismatch between university graduates and the fields of manpower needs and skill levels needs. Communication among agencies at the top educational levels is reported to be good. Vertical communication is poor however, as vividly illustrated by the attempt to impose national tests on the governates. Communication between policy-makers in national offices and regional and local implementers needs to be vastly improved.

Egypt recognizes the weaknesses and problems in its educational system and has gone to great lengths to address them, but there is a vast difference between idealized plans and implementation. A system short on resources, stifled by bureaucracy, and lacking in local expertise moves slowly. Only time will tell how well the comprehensive efforts of the 1990s to make education more relevant to national needs are working. Egypt has a long expensive road to travel given the enormity of illiteracy and vast educational shortages. The financial improvement at the millennium, stemming from rising oil revenues and better fiscal management, gives the education future a rosier glow than a decade ago.


Bibliography

Razik, Taher, and Diaa El-Din A. Zaher. "Egypt." In Issues and Problems in Teacher Education: An International Handbook, edited by Howard B. Leavitt, 91-108. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.

Richards. Alan. "Higher Education in Egypt." Education and Employment Working Papers (WPS), no. 862. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1992.

Shaw-Smith, Peter. "Egyptians Welcome British Initiative." Times (London) Higher Education Supplement, 27 October 2000.

Soliman, Azza Abdel-Aziz. The Current Status of Pre-University Education and Its Regional Disparity in Egypt. Cairo Demographic Center, 1994.

Swan, Michael K., and Ismail Abd El-Fattah Aly. "Rural Education and Training in Egypt." Agricultural Education Magazine 68, no. 4 (1995): 11-13.

Wise, Michael, and Anthony Olden, ed. Information and Libraries in the Arab World. London: Library Association, 1994.

The World of Learning 2001. 51st ed. London: Europa Publications, 2000.


M. June Allard and Pamela R. McKay

views updated

EGYPT

EGYPT , country in N.E. Africa, centering along the banks of the River Nile from the Mediterranean coast southward beyond the first cataract at Aswan. The ancient Egyptians named their land "Kemi," the "Black Land," while the neighboring Asiatic peoples used the Semitic word "Miṣr" which is still the country's name in both Hebrew (Heb. מִצְרַיִם; Miẓrayim) and Arabic. Geographically Egypt consists of two areas, Lower Egypt, the northern part of the land, which contains the Delta, and Upper Egypt, the south, which comprises the narrow strip of cultivable land on both sides of the river as far south as Aswan.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian history can be divided into seven periods that correspond to the major dynastic ages of Pharaonic history:

  1. Predynastic – (prehistory)
  2. Early Dynastic Period (Archaic) – Dyn. 1–3, 2920–2575
  3. Old Kingdom – Dyn. 4–8 (Pyramid Age), 2575–2134
  4. First Intermediate Period – Dyn. 9–10, 2134–2040
  5. Middle Kingdom – Dyn. 11–12 ("Classical" Period), 2040–1640
  6. Second Intermediate Period – Dyn. 13–17 (including the Hyksos Period), 1640–1532
  7. New Kingdom – Dyn. 18–20 (Empire Period), 1550–1070

predynastic – early dynastic period

The Predynastic history of Egypt refers to the period before the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. It is the unification of the two kingdoms that heralds the national consciousness of Egypt; therefore, her history as a nation cannot start before the Early Dynastic Period. Egyptian tradition traced its historical beginnings to the time when King Menes of Upper Egypt (as recorded by Manetho, and transmitted with slight variations by Herodotus, Josephus, and Diodorus Siculus) conquered Lower Egypt and unified the two lands. By this action, he became the ruler of both Upper and Lower Egypt, thereby establishing the First Dynasty. Menes' unification came to symbolize the nation and its conception of itself. The earliest representation of the unification of Egypt is the Narmer Palette (+/–3150 b.c.e., now in the Cairo Museum). The legendary Pharaoh Narmer has been identified with Menes, and the Narmer Palette apparently represents the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt conquering Lower Egypt and subduing the enemy. The obverse of the palette shows the ruler wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, while the reverse has him wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. Throughout dynastic history the unification represented the potency of the land, a potency recalled in a variety of ways, from the titles of the kings, through the representations in the artistic canon.

The most important legacy of the Early Dynastic Period is the foundation of what we view as the civilization of ancient Egypt. The national economy, political ideology, and religious philosophy all developed in this period, and the administrative seat of Egyptian government moved north to Memphis. Much of the contact between Egypt and the Levant during the Early Dynastic Period was in the area of trade. Grain, timber for construction, precious and semi-precious materials, including lapis lazuli copper and turquoise, were imported to Egypt from Southwest Asia.

the old kingdom

The Old Kingdom is also known as the Pyramid Age. During this period Egypt's power revolved around her resources, human and natural, and the Pharaoh's ability to utilize them. One of the results of the successful harnessing of resources was monumental architecture; the first complexes built from fully dressed stones are from this period. These large structures seem to represent the physical manifestation of the Pharaoh's godhead and authority. The strong centralized government of the god-king that had developed earlier underwent decentralization during the 5th dynasty and resulted in a new class of officials: The vizier no longer had to be a prince, and the nomarchs began to reside in the nome that they administered rather than in the royal residence or capital.

Foreign relations during the Old Kingdom were generally peaceful, and foreign expeditions were related either to defense or, more frequently, to trade. A 6th dynasty official named Weni inscribed his autobiography on a wall in his tomb-chapel. He reports that at the behest of the Pharaoh he led five expeditions into the Southern Levant to defend against the "Sand-dwellers" (Lichtheim 18ff.). At least two stone vessels bearing Old Kingdom royal names have been discovered at Tel Mardikhi, *Ebla, in central Syria. There is no certainty as to how the vessels got to Ebla (one, bearing Pepy i's name, is thought to have come through Byblos, and the other with Kephren's name may have come directly from Egypt), but their existence attests to far reaching diplomatic connections between Egypt and the Levant.

the first intermediate period

In Egyptian chronology, the term "Intermediate" refers to the periods when there was no strong centralized government unifying the Two Lands. During the first Intermediate Period there was dynastic rule both in the North (at Herakleopolis), and in the South (at Thebes). The attempts to reunify the land fostered sporadic internal conflicts and civil wars.

the middle kingdom

The detailed origins of the Middle Kingdom are unknown, but in a political sense the Middle Kingdom may be said to begin when the ruler of Upper Egypt becomes the sole Pharaoh and the two lands are again united. During the 11th Dynasty the seat of rule remained at Thebes in the South, but the first Pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty moved the capital North to a new capital called Itjtawy, "Grasper of the Two Lands"; the capital remained there for more than 300 years. The 12th Dynasty is the "Classical Period" in the art and the literature of Ancient Egypt.

The literature and the art of this period were used to promote the royal and elite values and interests. Many of the literary texts of this period have a propagandistic flavor and were circulated to the literati though the temples and schools. The monumental royal inscriptions on temples and other buildings were also used to address the public, to inspire loyalty, and to tell the people of the grandeur of their rulers.

For the most part Egypt's foreign relations remain peaceful during this period as witnessed by the famous tomb painting in the tomb of Khnumhotep ii at Beni Hasan. Part of this painting depicts 37 Asiatics (men, women, and children) bringing eye-paint to Khnumhotep. But there is evidence of international strife during the Middle Kingdom in the Execration Texts. The Execration Texts were a class of formulas that functioned as destructive magic; they were designed to counteract negative influences, and they are attested from the Old Kingdom through the New Kingdom. The performance of execration rituals centered on objects inscribed to identify the target of the magical act; they were then destroyed or symbolically neutralized. These texts include figures made of unbaked clay and crudely formed into the shape of a bound prisoner. There are three lots of execration texts that deal with Western Asia containing standard formulae with the names of Asiatic chieftains and their related toponyms (place names), after which follows a comprehensive statement of curse along the lines of "all Asiatics of Gns, and their mighty runners … who may rebel … etc."

the second intermediate period and the period of the hyksos

The Second Intermediate Period began toward the end of the 13th Dynasty when the centralized government began once again to falter, leading to the rise of local rulers in the eastern Nile Delta. The period reached its culmination when the *Hyksos invaded from Western Asia and usurped the throne. Originally these Near Easterners were referred to as "Shepherd kings" or "captive shepherds" by the scholarly community. These titles are based on an incorrect folk-etymology attested to as early as Josephus. The term Hyksos is the Greek rendering of the Egyptian appellation for these foreigners. But the Egyptian that underlies the Greek is best translated as "rulers of the foreign countries." In Egypt it became the official designation of the first three kings of the 15th Dynasty. The capital of the Hyksos was at Avaris, modern Tel ed-Dabʿa in the Delta, on the eastern most of the Delta branches. The population there seems to have been composed of Asiatics, especially those who spoke Amorite, a West Semitic dialect.

Much of the Hyksos's power resulted from good trade relations with Cyprus, Nubia, and the Levant, and it was during this period that the horse, and wool-bearing sheep were introduced into Egypt. The archaeological record indicates that the Hyksos were not the first Near Easterners to live in the Nile Delta, but it was under the Hyksos that Egypt became more involved with the eastern Mediterranean (Bietak).

The reign of the Hyksos ended when the Theban ruler Ahmose finally expelled them and reunited the Two Lands. After this expulsion the capital shifted south again to Thebes.

the new kingdom

The New Kingdom is the period of Egyptian expansion and imperialism. In the earlier periods Egypt's contact with, and control over, foreign areas was limited to her desire for trade and resources; during the New Kingdom Egypt's foreign policy became more aggressive. The Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni became a threat to Egypt, and the New Kingdom rulers responded to Mitanni's rising power in the area. The 18th Dynasty ruler Thutmose i led a campaign into northern Syria. Later, Thutmose iii led 14 campaigns into Western Asia (one of which included a seven-month siege at Megiddo), and eventually subdued the Levantine coast, increasing Egyptian hegemony into the interior of Syro-Palestine. Under Thutmose iii the rulers of the conquered Asiatic city-states became vassals to Egypt who had to send tribute and swear an oath of loyalty to the Pharaoh. True peace was not realized until the reign of Thutmose iv, who married one of the Mitannian princesses (Murnane 2001).

The Egyptian Empire reached its height during the reign of another 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Amenhotep iii. By this time the empire was firmly established, so that Egypt was able to keep her troops in just a few areas and to send garrisons only to regions that threatened revolt. But this relative ease of imperialism was short lived, and the Empire began to falter under the reign of Amenhotep iv whose internal policies caused him to be labeled the "heretic king." Amenhotep iv devoted much of his energy to religious reform. Traditionally, the established cults of Egypt's gods were under the care of the Pharaoh. Amenhotep iv neglected the traditional gods of Egypt and showed strict devotion to a new conception of the sun god the "Aten" (solar orb); he eventually withdrew his patronage from the capital at Thebes (which was the "city of Amun"), he changed his name to reflect his religious preferences to Akhenaten (*Akhenaton; "effective on behalf of the orb"), and established a new capital city named Akhetaten ("horizon of the orb"). Akhenaten weakened the power of the royal family to such an extent that that even when the traditional cult was re-established in the land, the last kings of the 18th Dynasty (including Tutankhamun) had no real power. The entire balance of power in the Near East changed during this period when the Mitannians lost control of most of their vassals to the Hittites and Egypt lost control of her vassal Kadesh to these same Hittites. The resulting hostilities between Egypt and Hatti only increased when a Hittite prince died on his way to Egypt with the intent to marry Tutankhamun's widow. Egypt's borders continued to recede south for the next three generations.

The Ramesside kings of the 19th and 20th Dynasties attempted to regain Egypt's past glory. These attempts met with varying levels of success. Ramesses ii successfully defended Egypt against the invasions of the Sea Peoples, but his "victory" against the Hittites at Kadesh is not the unqualified "victory" portrayed on his temple walls. In addition, the balance of power achieved by Egypt in the south, and the Hittites in the north changed as Assyria emerged as a major force in Western Asia. Ramesses iii was the strongest ruler of the 20th Dynasty, and he too defended Egypt against the Sea Peoples, and defeated two Libyan invasions. But the end of his reign is marked by a series of strikes by craftsmen who were working on the royal tombs at Thebes. These strikes were the beginning of the economic difficulties that helped bring about the end of the 20th Dynasty and Egypt's Empire period.

The New Kingdom saw Egypt rise to become an international superpower ruling territories from Nubia to Asia. But by the end of this period Egypt was a nation overwhelmed by internal troubles, which had lost control of all of her foreign territories; never again would Egypt regain her splendor.

For the biblical depiction of events in this period, see *History; *Exodus; *Pentateuch.

[Sharon Keller (2nd ed.)]

After the shortlived 21st Dynasty, the 22nd Dynasty, of Libyan origin, came to power in Egypt. Sheshonk i (the biblical *Shishak) gave refuge to the Israelite pretender *Jeroboam and, after the latter had returned to Israel, invaded first Judah, thoroughly ravaging and looting the country, and then Israel, treating it in like manner. Returning with vast plunder, and leaving a weakened Palestine behind him, Sheshonk retired to Egypt. Henceforth the Libyan rulers of Egypt, having shown their power, left West Asia alone.

By the end of the eighth century b.c.e. the Egyptianized Nubian rulers of *Cush had displaced the Libyans in control of Egypt, while the Assyrians under *Tiglath-Pileser iii made their presence felt in Syria and Palestine. During the last revolt of Israel against Assyria (724–721 b.c.e.) Hosea wrote to So, the king of Egypt, for support against the Assyrians. This otherwise unknown king has been plausibly identified recently as Tefnakht, the ruler of Sais (So), a vassal of the Nubians. However, Egyptian support was to no avail; Tefnakht was repulsed and Samaria fell. Nevertheless Egypt still appeared to be powerful, and in the following decades *Hezekiah, king of Judah, again relied on Egypt. Although the biblical account names *Tirhakah (Taharka), king of Cush (Nubia; ii Kings 19:35) as Jerusalem's ally, there are chronological problems involved, since the decisive battle of this campaign, that of Elteke, took place in 701, and Taharka's rule began only in 689.

*Sennacherib's successors subjugated Egypt, expelled the Cushites, and installed puppets who managed to regain Egyptian independence under the twenty-sixth Dynasty. The founder of this dynasty, Psammetichus i (c. 664–610 b.c.e.) strengthened Egypt by the widespread employment of foreigners – Greek and Jewish mercenary troops and Phoenician sailors and merchants. During his reign or that of Psammetichus ii (c. 595–89 b.c.e.) the famous colony of Jewish mercenary soldiers was established at *Elephantine to protect the southern frontier of Egypt. After the fall of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612 b.c.e. to the Neo-Babylonians and Medes, the king of Egypt, Neco ii, "went up against the Babylonians," but found his way barred by *Josiah, king of Judah, whom he defeated and killed at Megiddo in 609. Four years later, the Babylonians decisively defeated him at the battle of Carchemish. The subsequent Babylonian invasion of Egypt, preceded by the siege and sack of Ashkelon, was, however, beaten back, although Palestine remained under Babylonian control.

In 589 *Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, whose king, *Zedekiah, had rebelled at the instigation of the pharaoh Apries (*Hophra). The latter invaded Syria in an attempt to relieve Jerusalem, but again Egyptian support proved ineffectual, and in 587 Jerusalem fell. Most of the city's population was deported to Babylon; some, however, took refuge in Egypt, including the prophet *Jeremiah.

[Alan Richard Schulman]

Egyptian Literature in the Bible

Egypt has a long and full literary history and tradition, and as such, there is ample evidence of both literary and nonliterary genre of texts. These texts serve many functions and come in a variety of forms each with its own established conventions and styles. The technical aspects of Egyptian literary forms are not generally paralleled in biblical literature, yet it is well recognized that there is a commonalty in content between some biblical narrative motifs and those found in various Ancient Egyptian texts. Direct links in the prose literature are difficult to establish, but there is a scholarly consensus that relates the two bodies of literature. Wisdom texts fall in their own category; the consensus maintains that the biblical wisdom tradition is dependent, at least in part, upon the Egyptian. Questions of borrowing and/or primary derivation notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the Egyptian material antedates the biblical.

Egypt plays an important part in the narrative setting of the Torah. From the time that Joseph is sold into servitude through the Exodus and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, the central location of the story is Egypt. It is in these stories, the ones set in Egypt, that the majority of narrative parallels are to be found. The most frequently cited example is the biblical tale of Joseph and Potiphar's wife (Gen 39) and the New Kingdom Tale of Two Brothers. The Egyptian tale is the first known example in ancient literature of the Temptress motif. The details and purposes of each of the stories differ greatly, but there is no serious doubt that the structure of the motif is essentially the same. In such stories an older woman (or a woman of higher social status) develops an ill-advised passion for a younger man (or one of a lesser social status). This "temptress" makes her desires known to the young man (Gen 39:7) who refuses her advances on moral grounds (verses 8–9); thus spurned, the "temptress" accuses the young man of violating her, and the "wronged" husband then seeks retribution. The standard versions of this tale eventually vindicate the youth and punish the mendacious wife. In the biblical account Joseph is punished for his supposed actions by being imprisoned (verses 19–20). Eventually he is pardoned by Pharaoh and released from prison because, after interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, Joseph is rewarded and made viceroy of Egypt (41:14–45). The biblical version deviates from the pattern in two significant ways: First, the narrator never tells us that Joseph is ever publicly declared innocent. (He is pardoned not exonerated). Second, the fate of the temptress is not revealed. Potiphar's wife disappears from the story right after she accuses Joseph (Gen 39:18–19), because she is no longer important to the progress of the narrative.

Although the Tale of Two Brothers is the most frequently cited example of biblical and Egyptian narrative parallels, it is by no means the only one. Some literary tales present us with a picture of Syria-Palestine that is reminiscent of the description of the area in the Patriarchal Narratives of Genesis and also show some parallel values. The prime example is the Middle Kingdom Tale of Sinuhe, which depicts the environment of the Levant in detail and shows it much the same as described in the Torah narratives. Both the Hebrew and Egyptian sources describe pastoral nomadic clans who travel among the settled urban population centers. Sinuhe was an attendant to Princess Nefru, daughter of Amenemhet i and wife of Sesostris i. After Amenemhet i dies, Sinuhe overhears plans for a palace coup. Fearing that he will be caught up in the civil-war that will inevitably follow, he flees Egypt and wanders through the Nile Delta and throughout Canaan. Sinhue becomes very successful in Canaan, but always longs to return to his native land. Ultimately, he is reunited with Sesostris i and urged to return to Egypt. As with most Egyptian tales, this one ends happily when Sinhue returns to Egypt and is welcomed back into the royal household, His wish that he be allowed to returned to Egypt so he may die and be buried there is fulfilled. Sinuhe's flight from political danger may be compared to Moses' flight from Egypt to avoid Pharaoh's wrath (Ex. 2:15). Sinuhe's subsequent wanderings though the Egyptian Delta and into Canaan along with his new found prosperity in a foreign land may be compared with the accounts of Abraham's peregrinations. Another frequently cited parallel is that Sinuhe very much wants to be buried in his native Egypt, just as Jacob desires that his body be returned from Egypt to Canaan (Gen. 47:29–30). Similarly, Joseph adjures the children of Israel to carry his bones out from Egypt when they leave (Gen 50:25, Ex. 13:19).

Narrative parallels are not limited to the Torah. One of Sinuhe's exploits has been compared to David's slaying of Goliath. "He came toward me while I waited, having placed myself near him. Every heart burned for me; the women jabbered. All hearts ached for me thinking: 'Is there another champion who could fight him?' He [raised] his battle-axe and shield, while his armful of missiles fell toward me. When I had made his weapons attack me, I let his arrows pass me by without effect, one following the other. Then, when he charged me, I shot him, my arrow sticking in his neck. He screamed; he fell on his nose; I slew him with his axe. I raised my war cry over his back, while every Asiatic shouted. I gave praise to Mont, while his people mourned him" (Lichtheim in cos) Both Sinuhe and David are underdog warriors who surprisingly vanquish the enemy champion with his own weapon (i Sam 17:51).

Scholarly consensus recognizes that the biblical Wisdom tradition, and much of the poetic and instructional literature related to that tradition, has very close associations with Egyptian Wisdom Literature. Within the Bible there is a conception of Egypt as a source of great wisdom (i Kings 4:30, "Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the Kedemites and than all the wisdom of the Egyptians"), but this "wisdom" is not that of the Wisdom Literature. Egyptian Wisdom Literature deals with "truth," "justice," and especially "order," the "cosmic order" as ordained by the gods. Biblical Wisdom focuses primarily upon Wisdom personified and the "fear of God" associated with it. So the larger conceptions that inform the genre are not identical, but the Egyptian material most certainly has influenced the biblical.

Psalm 104 is frequently viewed in light of "The Great Hymn to the Aten." Both texts venerate the solar aspects of the deity and use similar language in so doing. Song of Songs is widely recognized as having significant parallels to Egyptian love poetry (Fox) There are parallels of phraseology: In the Song of Songs "sister" is used as a term of intimacy between the two lovers (4:9, 10–12, "…my sister, my bride…"; also 5:1, 2), and in the Egyptian Love Songs both "sister" and "brother" are used as terms of love and intimacy. In both literatures there is an alternation between the speech of the girl and that of the boy, but with a difference; In the Bible the lovers engage in dialogues, whereas in the Love Songs from Egypt the lovers are given alternating soliloquies. Another common feature is found in the so-called "Praise Song," where the physical beauty of the beloved body is described limb by limb. (4:1–7; 5:10–16; 7:2–10a).

Even more striking parallels are to be found in instructional literature; these connections were first recognized in the early 20th century, and are regularly noted in modern commentaries. The prime example is the "Instruction of Amenemope." Proverbs 22:17–24:22 and Jeremiah 17:5–8 are both thought to be inspired by "Amenemope." Of particular interest is Proverbs 22:20 and the difficulty surrounding the Hebrew word traditionally written both shlshwm (ketiv) and shlyshym (qere) and vocalized to mean either "officers" or "the day before yesterday." Neither makes any sense in the context of the pericope. Accordingly, many scholars vocalize this word as sheloshim, "thirty" ("Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and wisdom") especially since there are 30 chapters in the "Instruction of Amenemope" and that text ends "Look to these thirty chapters, They inform, they educate …."

The points of contact between biblical and Egyptian literature go beyond content, and include linguistic borrowings as well. There are close to six dozen agreed upon Egyptian loan words in the Bible, not including personal names and toponyms (place names); some of these words are Hebraized, whereas others are used in forms that are close to their Egyptian form. Understandably, there is a remarkable clustering of these loan words in the biblical accounts relating to Egypt. We have come to expect Egyptian words used to describe the natural environment of Egypt, so the biblical words for "reeds" (Ex. 13:18, 15:4, 22, 23:31; passim), "Nile" (Gen. 41:1–3; passim), "papyrus" (Ex. 2:3; Isa. 18:2, 35:7; Job 8:11), and "marsh grass" (Gen. 41:2, 18; Job 8:11) all are Egyptian loans. The same goes for specifically Egyptian offices like the hartumim typically translated as "magicians" (Gen. 41:8, 24; Ex. 7:11, 22, 8:3, 14–15, 9:11; Dan. 1:20, 2:2, 10, 27, 4:4, 6, 5:11). Pharaoh is a royal title (literally "big house" / "palace") used in the Bible both as a royal title with a specific royal name following (Pharaoh rn – ii Kings 23:29, 33–35; Jer. 46:2), or alone as a virtual royal name or specific appellative (this usage is consistent in the Torah text). Attempts have been made to date biblical passages according to the usage of the word "Pharaoh," but such arguments are speculative at best, and ignore the literary aspects of the text.

[Sharon Keller (2nd ed.)]

The Hellenistic Period

the ptolemaic period

Egyptian Jewry traced its history back to the time of Jeremiah (Letter of Aristeas, 35), but it was not until the conquest of *Alexander the Great in 332 b.c.e. that the second great wave of Jewish emigration to Egypt began. Alexander's successors in Egypt, the Ptolemid dynasty, attracted many Jews early in their reign to settle in Egypt as tradesmen, farmers, mercenaries, and government officials. During their reign Egyptian Jewry enjoyed both tolerance and prosperity. They became significant in culture and literature, and by the first century c.e., accounted for an eighth of the population of Egypt. The majority of the Jews of Egypt lived,

as the Greeks, in *Alexandria, but there were also very many in the ehora, the provincial districts outside Alexandria.

*Ptolemy i Soter (323–283) took a large number of Jewish prisoners of war in Palestine and forcibly settled them as mercenaries in Egypt to hold down the native Egyptians (ibid., 36).

On Ptolemy i's retreat from Palestine many Jews fled with him to Egypt, where they found a haven of tolerance. *Ptolemy ii Philadelphus (283–44) emancipated the Jews taken captive by his father and settled them on the land as cleruchs or in "Jew-Camps" as Jewish military units. He was remembered by the Jews of Egypt as having instigated the translation of the Septuagint (see Letter of *Aristeas; *Bible: Greek translation). Since *Manetho's antisemitic work was written in his reign there must have been a fair number of Jews already in Egypt.

*Ptolemy iii Euergetes (246–221) was said to have been favorably disposed toward the Jews and to have respected their religion. Two facts confirm this. One is the number of Jews who settled in the nome of Arsinoe (*Faiyum) in his reign, and the other is the synagogue inscription dedicated to him, declaring that he granted the rights of asylum to the synagogues (Frey, Corpus 2 pp. 374–6). There is also a synagogue inscription from Schedia, which was also probably dedicated to him (Reinach in rej, 14 (1902), 161–4).

*Ptolemy iv Philopator (221–203) attempted to institute a massacre of the Jews of Alexandria in 217 b.c.e., but was later reconciled with them (iii Macc. 5–6). During the reign of *Ptolemy vi Philometor (181–145) a marked change took place. Ptolemy vi won Jewish favor by opening up the whole of Egypt to the Jews, on whom he relied, as well as by receiving Jewish exiles from Palestine such as *Onias iv, to whom he granted land to build a temple at Leontopolis (c. 161 b.c.e.; Jos., Wars 1:33). The Jewish philosopher *Aristobulus of Paneas was said to have advised him on Jewish affairs, and he appointed two Jews, Onias and Dositheos, to high military posts (Jos., Apion, 2:49). During the struggles of Cleopatra *iii (116–101) with her son *Ptolemy ix Lathyros (116–80) the Jews of Egypt sided with the Queen, thus earning her esteem but alienating the Greek population from them (Ant. 13:287). She appointed two Jewish brothers, *Ananias and Helkias, as commanders of her army.

social and economic developments

Most of the Jews who settled in the chora were either farmers or artisans. The Ptolemies did not generally trust the native Egyptians and encouraged the Jews to enter three professions:

(a) the army, where, as other nationalities in Egypt, they were allowed to lease plots of land from the king (called cleruchies), and were granted tax reductions;

(b) the police force, in which Jews reached high ranks (cf. the Jewish district chief of police in Frey, Corpus, 2, p. 370); and

(c) tax collecting (a government executive job) and sometimes in the chora, tax farming (a government administrative post; see Tcherikover, Corpus nos. 107, 109, 110).

Others were managers in the royal banks or administrators (ibid., nos. 99–103, from middle of second century b.c.e.). In Alexandria there was a greater diversity of occupations and some Jews prospered in trade and commerce.

Early in the third century b.c.e. synagogues were founded in Egypt. They are known to have existed at Alexandria, Schedia (third century b.c.e.), Alexandrou Nesou (third century b.c.e.), Crocodilopolis-Arsinoe (three: third century b.c.e., second century b.c.e., and second century c.e.), Xenephyris (second century b.c.e.), Athribis (two: third or second century b.c.e.), and Nitriae (second century b.c.e.). They were usually called προσευχή or εὐχεῖον (from the Greek euche = prayer), and tablets were often erected dedicating the synagogue to the king and the royal family.

At first the Jewish immigrants spoke only Aramaic, and documents from the third century and the first half of the second century b.c.e. show a widespread knowledge of Aramaic and Hebrew (cf. Frey, Corpus 2, pp. 356, 365). But from the second century on there was a rapid Hellenization. Documents were written in Greek, the Pentateuch was read in the synagogue with the Septuagint translation, and even such a writer as *Philo probably knew no or little Hebrew. At first the Egyptian Jews transliterated their names into Greek, or adopted Greek names that sounded like Hebrew ones (e.g., Alcimus for Eliakim, or Jason for Joshua), but later they often adopted Greek equivalents of Hebrew names (e.g., Dositheos for Jonathan, Theodoras for Jehonathan). Gradually Egyptian Jewry adopted any Greek name (even those of foreign gods), and among the *Zeno Letters only 25% of the names are Hebrew.

In the chora the Hellenization was not so strong, but there the Jews were influenced by the native Egyptians. Documents testify to Egyptian names among the Jews, and sometimes to an ignorance of Greek (presumably these Jews spoke Egyptian). However, the chora Jews were more observant of the Sabbath and dietary laws than those of Alexandria.

The relations between Greek and Jew was on the whole good under the Ptolemies. The Jews often sought to explain Judaism to the Greeks (cf. Aristobulus of Paneas, Philo, and others). They tried to enter the Greek gymnasium which was a sign of the cultured Greek. Cases of actual apostasy were rare; that of Dositheos, son of Drimylos, who renounced Judaism to enter court, was exceptional (iii Macc. 1:3).

constitution

It used to be thought that the Jews were given equal rights with the Greeks by Alexander the Great, and that they called themselves Macedonians (Wars, 2:487–88). This has been disproved by papyri where it appears that only Jews or Jewish military units, who were incorporated into Macedonian units, were termed "Macedonians" (compare Tcherikover, Corpus nos. 142 line 3 with no. 143). Since the population registered its name and racial origin, each nationality in Egypt formed a separate group through the Ptolemid period. The Jews, unlike the Greeks, were not granted a politeia (rights of free citizenship), but received a politeuma (a constitution by which they had the right to observe their ancestral laws). Individual Jews were granted citizenship occasionally by the polis or the king, or by managing to register in a gymnasium. These, however, were exceptions. From the papyri of Faiyum and Oxyrhynchus it seems that the majority of Jews did not use the right of recourse to Jewish courts, but attended Greek ones even in cases of marriage or divorce. The head of the Jewish community in Alexandria was the *ethnarch, while in the chora elders held sway.

Toward the end of the Ptolemid period Jewish-Greek relations steadily worsened. The Greeks, supported by the Egyptians, were struggling to strengthen the power of the polis, while the Jews supported the Ptolemids, first Cleopatra iii (see above), and then *Ptolemyxiii and *Gabinius in 55 b.c.e. Papyri of 58 b.c.e. recorded some unrest in Egypt of an antisemitic nature (e.g., Tcherikover, Corpus no. 141). Josephus records that *Julius Caesar was aided by Jewish cleruchs in Egypt when *Antipater brought reinforcements from Palestine. In return for this Caesar is said to have reaffirmed the citizenship of the Alexandrian Jews in 47 b.c.e. (Ant., 14:131, 188–96).

Roman Period

early roman empire

The new administration under *Augustus at first was grateful to the Jews for their support (cf. the stele of their rights set up in Alexandria; Jos., Ant. 14:188), but generally it relied on the Greeks of Alexandria for help, which fact caused a great rift between the Jews and the rest of the population early in their rule. Augustus disbanded the Ptolemaic army and abolished the tax-collection system about 30 b.c.e. Both of these acts caused great economic hardships for the Jews. Few of them joined or were permitted to join the Roman army in Egypt (an exception being a centurion of 116 c.e., in Tcherikover, Corpus no. 229). Jewish tax collectors were mostly replaced by Greek government officials. The cursus honorum was closed to Jews unless they renounced their religion, which most refused to do (an exception being *Tiberius Julius Alexander, prefect of Egypt). Jewish civil rights (politeuma) were endangered by Augustus' revision of the constitution of Egypt. Three classes were created:

(a) the upper class of Romans, priests, Greek citizens of Alexandria, Naucratis, and Ptolemais, and those who had registered in the gymnasium;

(b) Egyptians, the lowest class, who paid a burdensome poll tax; and

(c) the middle class metropolitae (i.e., half-Greeks who lived in the chora), who paid the poll tax at a reduced rate.

Augustus placed the Jew in the lowest class, forced to pay the tax. This was a blow to Jewish pride, for besides those few individual Jewish families who had received the distinction of Greek citizenship, the vast majority of Jews could no longer register in the gymnasia and had to pay the poll tax.

From that time began a long struggle by the Alexandrian Jews to confirm their rights. The works of writers such as Josephus (Contra Apionem) and Philo (Vita Moysis 1:34) contain a defense of Alexandrian Jews' rights. The Greeks in turn approached Augustus suggesting that they would keep all non-Greeks out of the gymnasia, if he, in turn, would abolish the privileges of the Jews. Augustus refused and confirmed the Jewish ancestral rights, to the intense anger of the Greeks. Augustus abolished the post of ethnarch of Alexandria in 10–12 c.e., replacing it by a gerusia of elders.

The Greeks of Alexandria seized their opportunity with the rise of the pro-Hellenic emperor, Caius *Caligula in 37 c.e. The following year they stormed the synagogues, polluted them, and set up statues of the emperor within. The prefect, Valerius *Flaccus, was embarrassed and dared not remove the images of Caesar. The Jews were shut up in a ghetto and their houses plundered. Philo, who wrote In Flaccum and De Legatione on the affair, headed a Jewish delegation to Caligula to complain, but was dismissed with derision. On the assassination of Caligula in 41 c.e. the Jews of Alexandria took vengeance by instigating a massacre of the Greeks.

The new emperor, *Claudius, issued an edict in favor of the Jews in 41 c.e., abolishing the restrictions imposed at the time of the pogrom of 38 c.e., but he banned the Jews from entering the gymnasia, and refused them Greek citizenship. Much antisemitic material was written at this period in Egypt, e.g., *Apion's works, and the Acts of the*Alexandrian Martyrs.

Consequently the Jews closed their ranks and became more self-conscious of their Jewish heritage. Such works were written as iii*Maccabees and the Wisdom of *Solomon. The Jews also tended to live closer together, though no ghettos were imposed.

In 66 c.e. the Alexandrians, in debating about a delegation to be sent to Nero, presumably to complain about the Jews, discovered several Jewish spies among themselves. Three were caught and burnt alive. The Jews rose in revolt and tried to burn the Greeks in their amphitheater, and Tiberius Julius Alexander, the prefect, crushed them mercilessly, killing more than were slain in the pogrom of 38 c.e. After the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 c.e. Onias' Temple at *Leontopolis was destroyed and the *fiscus judaicus imposed. However, the Egyptian Jews had to pay more than other Jews, because the Egyptian calendar provided that they pay in the first year of the fiscus (71 c.e.), two years in arrears instead of one year, as other Jews. It is estimated that they paid that year 27 million Egyptian drachmae in taxes.

In 115 the great revolt of the Jews of Egypt, Cyrene, and Cyprus occurred (see *Trajan). The revolt was immediately crushed in Alexandria, by Marcus Rutilius Lupus, but it continued in the chora with the help of the Jews of *Cyrene (in centers as Thebes, Faiyum, and Athribis). Marcius Turbo was sent by the emperor to deal with the situation, and crushed the revolt in 117. Much of Alexandria was destroyed and the revolt resulted in the virtual annihilation of Egyptian Jewry. From that time on Jews almost vanish from the chora. In Alexandria the great synagogue was destroyed, large tracts of Jewish-owned land in Heracleapolis and Oxyrhynchus were confiscated, and Jewish courts were suspended. The causes of the revolt suggested are the antisemitism of the local Greeks, and the "messianic" movement centered around *Lucuas of Cyrene. The revolt spelled the end of Jewish life in Egypt for a long time. From 117 to 300 only a few Jewish names occur among the peasants in the chora.

From the End of the Second Temple Period to the Muslim Conquest

The defeat suffered by the Jews, both in Ereẓ Israel under Bar Kokhba and in the quelling of the rebellion in Egypt during the years 116–117 c.e. almost crushed the Jewish communities in Egypt, especially in Alexandria. The evidence from the papyri of the presence of a large, cohesive community in Egypt, found rather abundantly before 70 c.e, diminishes, until after the year 200 c.e. it becomes almost negligible. The territory of Egypt was still a marked battleground for imperial ambitions and rebellions during this later period of the Roman Empire. The revolt of the Βουκολοι (herdsmen) and its aftermath, finally settled by the emperor Septimus Severus (194 c.e.), left the country with its agriculture almost ruined and burdened with heavy taxes. During the latter half of the third century Egypt was again racked with internal dispute. Finally, Diocletian brought a period of relative peace to the land, reorganizing the territory into three, and later four, provinces. The later history of Egypt under the Byzantine emperors is closely tied up with the growth and predominance there of hitherto persecuted Christianity.

Centered as it was in Alexandria, Christianity in Egypt inherited some of the classical antisemitism of the city. Clement of Alexandria mentions (Stromata, 3:63; 2:45.5) the fact that there existed in the primitive church there two "Gospels," an "Egyptian Gospel" and a "Hebrew Gospel" – evidence of the dichotomy in the early church between gentile and Jewish Christianity, the latter being characterized in Egypt by a Gnostic tendency. By 150 c.e., however, both Orthodox and Gnostic Christianity found themselves allied with regard to the Jews. Basilides, an Alexandrian Gnostic at the end of the second century, tried to stress in Gnostic terms that Christianity is to be completely dissociated from its Jewish ancestry. An early work called the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 135 c.e.) argued for the abrogation by God of the Old Covenant (Old Testament) and the preference for an allegorical and "spiritual" interpretation of the Jewish Scriptures, a tendency later adopted by Clement of Alexandria and the exegetical school of the Alexandrian, *Origen (d. 253 c.e.). Another early work, found only in citations, the Kerygma Petrou, accused the Jews of angel and star worship.

Some of the knowledge of the Jews in these times is derived from Christian sources. The martyrologies of the time, as a matter of style, brought in the Jews as the accusers. Generally though, as Baron reports (Social2, 2 (1952), 188), the early Christians got along with their Jewish neighbors. Indeed, toward 300 c.e., Jewish names begin to appear more frequently in the papyri, giving witness to a renewal of activity. There are even some Hebrew fragments found at Oxyrhynchus which speak of rashei ("heads"), benei ("members"), and ziknei ("elders") of the keneset ("the community"; Cowley, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 2 (1915), 209ff.). An interesting feature of the Greek papyri of this period is the appearance of the name "Sambathion" among both Jews and non-Jews, giving testimony to the great respect given the Sabbath among the Egyptians (for a fuller discussion cf. Tcherikover, Corpus, 3 (1964), 43–56). It is true that the Jews did support the Arians in their disputes with orthodox Christianity, and patristic literature placed the Jews together with the heretics and pagans as the hated enemies of the church. This attitude later became codified into law by the Codices of the emperors Theodosius and Justinian. A pogrom and expulsion of the Jews from Alexandria by the patriarch Cyril occurred in 415 c.e. Whether or not this expulsion was fully carried out is still a moot point, since later Christian literature points to the fact that Jews were still living there (M. Chaine, in Mélanges de la Faculté orientale de l'Université Saint-Joseph, Beyrouth, 6 (1913), 493ff.). The Persian conquest seemed to be especially helpful to the Jews in Egypt, since they were able to receive those Jews persecuted in Syria by the emperor Heraclius. The Arab conquest in 632 saw the beginning of a new regime.

[Evasio de Marcellis]

Arab Period

There is little information available concerning the condition of the Jews from the Arab conquest in 640 until the end of the tenth century. In Fostat, founded by the conqueror of Egypt, ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ, a relatively large community was established, while the Jewish population probably also grew in other Egyptian cities. Ahmad ibn Ṭūlūn (ninth century), the first independent ruler of Egypt under the Muslims, seems to have favored the Jews. The historian al-Masʿūdī relates that he had a Jewish physician. Documents found in the Cairo *Genizah of Fostat give evidence of the commercial ties between the Jews of Egypt and those of *Kairouan (Tunisia) during the second half of the tenth century. The Jews of Egypt also renewed their relations with the major academies of Babylonia. It is significant for the high standard of Jewish learning in Egypt itself that *Saadiah Gaon (born in Faiyum in 882) acquired his widespread culture there. At that time many Babylonian Jews settled in the principal Egyptian cities and established communities with their own synagogue and bet din. They also maintained a close relationship with the academies in their country of origin. Students traveled there to study, and religious and judicial queries were addressed to the heads of the Babylonian academies. The Palestinian and Syrian Jews who settled in Egypt acted in the same manner. They established Palestinian communities and synagogues, and they recognized the heads of the Palestinian academies, to whom they gave their material support, as their spiritual leaders. The activities of Saadiah Gaon prove the presence of large numbers of *Karaites in Egypt at the time. It seems that during the ninth and tenth centuries, there was still a variety of sects in Egypt. The work Kitāb al-Anwār wa-al-Marāqib ("The Book of Lights and Watch Towers") by al-*Kirkisānī, in 936 (L. Nemoy (ed.), 1 (1939), 12), mentions a sect which observed Sunday as a day of rest instead of Saturday. Members of this sect lived on the bank of the Nile, some 20 miles from Fostat (Bacher, in: jqr, 7 (1894/95) 704).

the

*fatimids. A change in the condition of the Jews occurred with the conquest of the country by the Fatimids in 969. After the conquest by this dynasty of Shiʿites which was in rivalry with the *Abbasīd caliphs, Egypt became the center of a vast and powerful kingdom, which, at the end of the tenth century, included almost all of North Africa, *Syria, and *Palestine. The union of all these countries brought a period of prosperity in industry and commerce from which the Jews also benefited. Of even greater importance was the characteristically tolerant attitude adopted by the Fatimids toward non-Muslim communities. They did not insist on the observance of the decrees of discrimination, such as the wearing of a distinctive sign on the garments; they permitted the construction and repair of non-Muslim houses of prayer, and they even accorded financial support to the academies in Palestine. In the court of al-Muʿizz (d. 975) and his son al-ʿAzīz (975–996), a Jew converted to Islam, Yaʿqūb *Ibn Killis, occupied an important position and was finally appointed vizier. He was the first to hold this post under the reign of the Fatimids in Egypt. There were also Jewish physicians in the service of al-Muʿizz. The third Fatimid caliph, al-Ḥākim (996–1020), founder of the *Druze sect and a controversial personality, departed from the policy of tolerance toward non-Muslims, which was characteristic of his dynasty, during the second half of his reign. At first, he ordered that the Christians and Jews mark their clothes with the ghiyār ("distinctive sign"; see Jewish *Badge); later, he issued orders for the destruction of their houses of prayer. He also prohibited Christians and Jews from riding horses and purchasing slaves and maidservants. Many Christians and Jews converted to Islam in order to escape these degrading decrees, while others emigrated to different countries, such as Yemen and *Byzantium. However, after some time, al-Ḥākim revoked his decrees and authorized the converts to return to their former religion.

In 1036 the grandson of al-Ḥākim, al-Mustanṣir, ascended to the throne. A Jewish merchant, who had previously sold al-Mustanṣir's mother to the caliph al-Ẓāhir, then wielded much influence in the court. This merchant Abu Saʿd (in Hebrew, Abraham b. Yashar) was also named "al-Tustari" after his city of origin in Persia. He and his brother, Abu Naṣr Ḥesed, endeavored to protect their coreligionists by all available means. According to one opinion, Abu Saʿd and his brother were Rabbanites, while according to another they were *Karaites. In 1047 Abu Saʿd was killed, as was his brother, Abu Naṣr, some time later. The economic stratification of Egyptian Jewry during the Fatimid period was very diversified. According to the lists of taxpayers and of charitable donators (such as the one published by E. Strauss in Zion, 7 (1941/42), 142ff.), the majority were engaged in various trades and a minority in commerce. At that time, the transit trade of products from India and the Far East became an important source of income in Egypt and the Jews played an active role in this commerce. The Fatimid government encouraged these commercial ties with India and protected the seaways and overland routes. The friendly attitude of the Fatimids was also expressed by the granting of a large degree of autonomy to the merchants.

At the beginning of their rule, the office of *nagid was established. The first nagid seems to have been a physician in the service of the caliph al-Muʿizz. In later generations, the office of nagid was also filled by men employed in the court, especially as court physicians. The Fatimid dynasty began to weaken at the end of the 11th century, but the condition of the Jews did not worsen. A Jewish family which during several generations produced scholars and physicians held high positions at the royal court at that time. Judah b. Saadiah was probably court physician and from 1065 acted as nagid. He was followed by his younger brother *Mevorakh, who was also court physician and nagid from 1079–1110. During his period of office *David b. Daniel b. Azariah, a scion of a family of Babylonian exilarchs, arrived in Egypt. David made an effort to secure the leadership of the Jewish population and succeeded in deposing Mevorakh for a short while. Moses, the elder son of Mevorakh, was nagid from 1110–1140. At that period a Christian favorite of the regent al-Afḍal endeavored to remove the Jews from government service (see Neubauer, in jqr, 9 (1896/97), 29–30). Fragments from the *Genizah mention another enemy who plotted against the Jews until Yakhin b. Nethanel, who was influential in the royal court, succeeded in saving them. On the other hand, *Abu al-Munajjā, one of the Jewish courtiers, was responsible for the administration of the "Eastern" province. In the middle of the 12th century *Samuel b. Hananiah was court physician. He was a distinguished scholar and also acted as nagid from 1142 to 1159. His poems in honor of his guest, *Judah Halevi, are well known.

During this period the Jews of Egypt prospered in every sphere. *Benjamin of Tudela, who was in Egypt in c. 1171, gives much information concerning the prevailing conditions in the communities he visited. On the basis of his information and other relevant data, the number of Jews in Egypt at that time has been estimated at between 12,000 and 20,000 (see Neustadt-Ayalon in Zion, 2 (1937), 221; Ashtor, in jqr, 50 (1959/60), 60 and jjs, 18 (1967), 9–42; 19 (1968), 1–22). After the death of Samuel b. Hananiah, there was a crisis within the Jewish community of Egypt. An ambitious individual named *Zuta, who succeeded in being appointed nagid for a short while during the lifetime of Samuel b. Hananiah, exploited his connections to secure the office for a second time, after Samuel's death, and later a third time. As a result of Zuta's activities, the prestige attached to the office of nagid declined and for a long time there was no new appointment. At that time the heads of the Fostat academy became the leading authorities of Egyptian Jewry; an academy had existed in Fostat from at least the end of the tenth century. During the reign of al-Ḥākim the academy in the Egyptian capital was headed by *Shemariah b. Elhanan, who had studied in Babylonia in his youth. He was succeeded by his son, *Elhanan b. Shemariah. During the first half of the 12th century, *Maẓli'aḥ b. Solomon Ha-Kohen, a member of the family of the Palestinian academy heads, arrived in Egypt. He founded an academy in Fostat, whose leaders were referred to as geonim. They appointed dayyanim and gave authority to their activities. The authority of these geonim was recognized even outside Egypt, especially in South Arabia and *Aden. In the early 1150s Abu Saʿīd Joshua b. Dosa headed the academy in Fostat.

With the end of the Fatimid dynasty, orthodox Islam again became the official religion in Egypt. Saladin (Salāḥal-Dīn) and his successors made their religiosity conspicuous and, among other actions, Saladin renewed the discriminatory decrees against the non-Muslim communities. However, both he and his successors were by no means fanatical and they did not persecute non-Muslims. His successors, the *Ayyubids, who reigned in Egypt until 1250, followed the same policy. Communal life was well organized and cultural activities were maintained. During this period a number of scholars from Christian countries settled in Egypt and took an active part in the communal life. They included *Anatoli b. Joseph and Joseph b. Gershon from France, who became dayyanim in Alexandria. Moses *Maimonides spent most of his life in Cairo, where he played a leading role in the life of the community. His son, *Abraham b. Moses, acted officially as nagid after the death of his father in 1205 until his own death in 1237. He had an independent mind and was also a halakhic authority, as can be seen from the numerous legal questions which were addressed to him.

the mamluks

In the middle of the 13th century the *Mamluks came to power in Egypt. The entire political regime was changed and a decisive change in the condition of the Jews also took place. These rulers were the leaders of the foreign Turkish soldiery of which the army was exclusively composed, and they tried to enhance their position and to curry favor with the Muslim native population by emphasizing their piety and by introducing a series of measures directed against the non-Muslim communities. The first Mamluks declared total war against the Crusaders. They found it necessary to encourage religious fervor in order to succeed in their efforts. Thus, the Mamluk rule was accompanied by a series of decrees and persecutions against the Christians and Jews, which continued until the Mamluks were deposed by the Ottomans. The ancient discriminatory laws were brought back into prominence and new ones were also instituted. These activities were primarily directed against the Copts, the most powerful non-Muslim community in the Mamluk kingdom, but even so the Jews suffered considerably. On the other hand, Jewish communal organization in Egypt was not abolished and its autonomy was mostly maintained. The decrees against non-Muslims were introduced during the first generation of the Mamluk rule. In 1290 Sultan Qalāwūn issued an order which prohibited the employment of Jews and Christians in government and ministerial departments. This order was reissued during the reign of his son and successor, al-Malik al-Ashraf Khalīl (1290–1293).

In 1301 there was a large-scale persecution. The Christians were compelled to cover their turbans with a blue cloth, the Jews with a yellow one, and the Samaritans with a red one. The authorities renewed the prohibition of riding horses and also forbade the building of houses higher than those of the Muslims. On this occasion the Jewish and Christian houses of prayer in *Cairo were closed down. In 1354 there was an even graver persecution. The cause for it was again attributed by Arab historians to the haughtiness of the Christian officials. There were attacks on non-Muslims in the streets of Cairo and the government instituted a severe control over the habits of Muslim converts. At that time the economic situation of the Jews took a turn for the worse; under the Mamluks the system of monopolies was consolidated. Private industry was generally ruined and the commerce of spices, the most important part of Egypt's external trade, was taken over by the monopolized "Kārimī" merchant company in which only a few members were Jews. During this period the Jewish population was led by negidim of Maimonides' family. Maimonides' grandson, R. *David b. Abraham, was nagid from 1238 to 1300. In various documents the negidim are referred to as heads of academies but the exact nature of the academy is in question. During the second half of the 13th century, the literary activities of Egyptian Jewry continued to flourish, as in the Fatimid and Ayyubid periods. *Tanḥum ha-Yerushalmi, the well-known Bible commentator, and his son *Joseph, a competent Hebrew poet, lived in Egypt at this time.

At the end of the 14th century, a second dynasty of the Mamluks, the Cherkess, came to power. The Mamluk rule then increased in violence and the anti-Jewish and anti-Christian decrees grew in frequency. The oppression and extortions of the sultans were severer than in former times. There often were internal conflicts within this Mamluk faction, and as a result the soldiers, unrestrained, rioted in the streets and attacked the citizens. In order to appease the embittered people, the sultans issued a multitude of decrees against the non-Muslims. While the first sultan of the Cherkess Mamluks, Barqūq (1382–1399), as well as his son and successor Faraj (1399–1412), acted leniently toward the non-Muslims, the third sultan, al-Muʾayyad Sheikh, oppressed the non-Muslims by various means. The discriminatory decrees were renewed, and there were searches for wine in the non-Muslim quarters. During the reign of the Cherkess Mamluks the autonomous organization of the communities in Egypt remained unharmed and as previously, they were led as before by the negidim. The last of Maimonides' descendants to act as nagid was R. *David b. Joshua. For reasons that are not known R. David was compelled to leave Egypt in the 1370s. He was replaced by a man named *Amram. At the end of the Mamluk period, Egyptian Jewry was led by the negidim R. Nathan *Sholal and his relative R. Isaac *Sholal, who emigrated to Palestine after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottomans.

The travelers Meshullam of Volterra, who arrived in Egypt in 1481, and R. Obadiah of *Bertinoro, who came there seven years later, provided information about the size of the communities in the descriptions of their travels. The numbers which are found in their writings emphasize the decrease in the Jewish population, which was concomitant with the general depopulation and was partly a result of the oppression under Mamluk rule. According to Meshullam there were 650 families, as well as 150 Karaite and 50 Samaritan families, in Cairo, 50 families in Alexandria, 50 in Bilbeis, and 20 in al-Khānqā. Obadiah mentions 500 families in Cairo, besides 150 Karaite and 50 Samaritan families, 25 families in Alexandria, and 30 in Bilbeis. From this it can be deduced that there was probably a total of 5,000 persons in all the communities visited by the two travelers. By then the immigration of Spanish Jewry to the oriental countries had begun. Even before the expulsion, groups of forced converts arrived in Egypt. Immediately after the expulsion, the Jews who had not converted arrived and the Jewish population in Egypt increased. In those centers where an important number of newcomers settled separate communities were established. The arrival of the Spanish immigrants had a beneficial effect on the cultural life of Egyptian Jewry. Their numbers included scholars of renown who engaged in educational activities and who were appointed as dayyanim. Among the scholars who arrived in Egypt during the first generation after the Spanish expulsion were R. *Samuel ibn Sid, who was a member of the bet din of the nagid in 1509, R. Jacob *Berab, who is mentioned in a document of 1513 as a dayyan of this same bet din, and R. Samuel ha-Levi *Ḥakim, who was a prominent halakhic authority and acted as dayyan at the beginning of the 16th century in Cairo. The negidim welcomed the Spanish refugees.

the ottoman turks

When Egypt was conquered by the Ottomans in 1517, there was a decisive turn in the history of the country and the Jews living there. A wide choice of commercial possibilities was offered to the Jewish merchants, as well as an introduction to a variety of other trades. At the height of their power, the Ottomans were very tolerant and the Jews held key positions in the financial administration and in the collection of taxes and customs duties. Almost all the Turkish commissioners and governors who were sent to Egypt turned over the responsibility of the financial administration to Jewish agents, who were known as ṣarrāf-bashi ("chief treasurer"). It is evident that the agents greatly profited by holding these positions. After two generations of prosperity, the political and economic decline of the *Ottoman empire manifested itself and affected the rank and file of the Jewish population who sank into poverty and ignorance. Thus, Ottoman rule caused a distinct polarization in the status of Egyptian Jewry. The corruption of the governors, who were often replaced and whose ambition was to enrich themselves or to rebel against the sultan in Constantinople, and their acts of violence, extortion, and cruelty brought suffering on the Jews. One of the first Turkish governors, Ahmad Pasha, who was appointed in 1523, extorted a large contribution from Abraham *Castro, director of the mint. He then ordered him to mint coins carrying his name, as if he were an independent ruler. When the Jewish official fled to Constantinople, Ahmad imposed an enormous contribution on the Jews, who were fearful of his vengeance if they did not provide the sum by the appointed time. However, on the day of payment, Ahmad Pasha was killed by soldiers loyal to the sultan and the anniversary was thereafter celebrated as *Purim Miẓrayim ("Purim of Egypt," i.e., Cairo).

In 1545 the governor Dāʾud Pasha ordered the closure of the central synagogue of Cairo. All the efforts to obtain its reopening were in vain; the synagogue remained closed until 1584. After the conquest of Egypt by the Turks, Jews of Constantinople were sent to Egypt to act as negidim. The first of them was R. Tājir, who was followed by R. *Jacob b. Ḥayyim Talmid. When this nagid came to Egypt, a dispute broke out between him and R. Bezalel Ashkenazi, who was then the leading rabbi in Egypt. As a result of this dispute, the office of nagid came to an end in about 1560. From then onward the Jewish finance minister in the service of the governor was recognized as the leader of the Jewish community in Egypt. He was referred to by the Turkish title of chelebi (çelebi = "gentleman"). Many of these Jewish ministers were executed by despotic governors. Masiah Pasha, who was appointed in 1575, chose Solomon *Alashkar, a well-known philanthropist whose efforts were directed toward the amelioration of Jewish education among the Jews of Egypt, as chelebi. His activities continued for many years, until Karīm Hussein Pasha executed him in 1603.

The standard of Jewish learning improved with the arrival of the expelled Spanish Jews. During the first generation of the Turkish rule, the leading rabbi in Egypt was R. *David b. Solomon ibn Abi Zimra. He instituted several regulations in the Jewish communal life, and, among others, he abolished the system of dating documents according to the Seleucid era, which was still in practice in Egypt. In the 1520s the renowned halakhic authority R. Moses b. Isaac *Alashkar also lived in Egypt, where he acted as dayyan. However, he emigrated to Palestine and died in Jerusalem in 1542. Later David b. Solomon Abi Zimra also emigrated to Palestine and Bezalel Ashkenazi became the spiritual leader of Egypt's Jewish communities. During the second half of the 16th century, R. Jacob *Castro was the most prominent Egyptian rabbi. These rabbis acted as dayyanim, gave responsa, and educated distinguished pupils. R. Isaac *Luria, the famous kabbalist, was one of Bezalel Ashkenazi's pupils.

The Jews of Cairo and Alexandria were at that time divided into three communities – the Mustaʿrabim (Arabic-speaking i.e., indigenous Jews), the Spanish (immigrants), and the Mograbim (settlers of North African, Maghreb origin). There were occasional disputes between the communities and the rabbis and communal leaders exerted themselves to restore peace.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Ottoman government became harsher and the upper class of wealthy Jews, who were employed by the governors and ministers, suffered especially. About 1610 the position of chelebi was filled by Abba Iscandari, a physician and philanthropist. In 1620 with the arrival of a new governor, the Albanian ("Arnaut") Husain, the Muslim enemies of the chelebi, jealous of his wealth, slandered him before the governor and he was executed. Jacob Tivoli replaced him as chelebi until he was executed by Khalīl Pasha. In 1650, when Silihdar Ahmad Pasha was appointed governor of Egypt, he brought with him Ḥayyim Perez, a Jew, whom he appointed chelebi. In the same year natural catastrophes and a plague occurred in Egypt; the sultan summoned the commissioner and the chelebi to Constantinople and had them both executed. A year later another governor, Muhammad Ghāzī Pasha, was sent to Egypt. He appointed Jacob Bibas as chelebi, but after a time became jealous of his wealth, killed him with his own hands and buried him in the garden of his palace. In 1661 the governor Ibrāhīm Pasha appointed the exceedingly wealthy Raphael b. Joseph Hin as his chelebi. The latter actively supported *Shabbetai Ẓevi, the pseudo-messiah, who had visited Cairo twice. In 1669 Karākūsh Ali Pasha was appointed governor of Egypt, became jealous of Raphael Hin's wealth, accused him of various crimes, and had him publicly executed. The title of chelebi was then abolished and the Jewish agent of the Egyptian governor, who stood at the head of his community, was henceforth known as bazīrkān (from Persian bāzargān "merchant"). In 1734–35, a serious popular riot killed many of Cairo's Jewish community which, as a result, became much less effective in Egypt's administration and economy. The severity of Ottoman rule and the economic decline lowered the cultural level of Egyptian Jewry. During this period the community ceased to be led by renowned rabbis, as in the 16th century, even though some of them were excellent talmudic scholars such as Abraham Iscandari, Samuel *Vital, the son of R. Ḥayyim *Vital, *Mordecai ha-Levi, and his son Abraham during the 17th century, and Solomon Algazi during the 18th century. Nevertheless, the Shabbatean movement brought some activity to the stagnant community. In 1703 the Shabbatean propagandist Abraham Michael *Cardoso settled in Egypt, where he became physician to the Turkish governor Karā Ahmad Pasha. At times scholars and authors came to Egypt from other countries and acted as dayyanim and rabbis for a number of years. Such was the case of David *Conforte, author of Kore ha-Dorot who came in 1671.

The transition from an Ottoman province to a virtually independent unity was accompanied by a difficult struggle during which Jews also suffered considerably. In 1768 when Turkey became embroiled in war with Russia, Ali Bey, the governor of Cairo, proclaimed himself the independent governor of Egypt. He also made an effort to impose his authority on Palestine, Syria, and the Arabian Peninsula. In order to provide for the tremendous expenses of his wars, he levied a heavy contribution on the Jews, which they were compelled to pay within a short period (see Ben-Ze'ev in Zion (1939), 237–49). The reforms of *Muhammad (Mehmet) Ali (1805–1848) and later the opening of the Suez Canal (1863) brought a new prosperity to commerce and the other branches of the Egyptian economy. As a result of the changes in all spheres of life, the Jewish population grew. Jews from European countries settled in Egypt and schools where education was dispensed along modern lines were introduced. Alexandria again became a commercial center and its Jewish community expanded until it was equal to that of Cairo. The census of 1897 showed that there were 25,200 Jews in the country. Of these, 8,819 (including approximately 1,000 Karaites) lived in Cairo, 9,831 in Alexandria, 2,883 in *Tanta, 400 in Port Said, and 508 in al-*Manṣūra. There were also small communities in other provincial towns, numbering a total of 4,600 Jews. The immigrants from European countries founded their own communities, even though they recognized the authority of the rabbis of the existing ones. Thus, in the middle of the 19th century there were communities of Italian and Eastern European Jews in Alexandria, while in Cairo the immigrants from Italy and Turkey united in one community. The relations between Muslims and Jews were normal and there were only rare cases of disturbances resulting from religious hate. In 1844 there was a blood libel against the Jews of Cairo and this was repeated in 1881 and in 1901–1902. In 1840, after the blood libel of *Damascus, Moses *Montefiore and Adolphe *Crémieux came to Egypt and established Jewish schools in cooperation with R. Moses *Algazi. In Alexandria, rabbis who distinguished themselves by their western education were appointed, and social activities were encouraged in the community. The numerical increase, the improvement of cultural standards, and the development of social activities continued throughout the first half of the 20th century.

After World War i Sephardi Jews from *Salonika and other Ottoman towns, as well as Jews from other countries, settled in Egypt. According to the census of 1917 there were 59,581 Jews in Egypt, of which 29,207 lived in Cairo, and in 1937 their numbers reached 63,550, of which 34,103 lived in greater Cairo and 24,829 in Greater Alexandria. With the improvements in the economic and intellectual standards, the Jews took an active part in public life. Some financiers were appointed as members of Parliament and ministers. Joseph *Cattaui was a member of parliament in 1915 and minister of finances and communications in 1923 (the year Egypt became officially independent), and Aslan Cattaui was a member of the Senate during the 1930s. Some, such as Yaʿqūb (James) *Ṣanūʿ, had even been associated with the Egyptian nationalist movement. On the other hand, Zionist organizations were created at the end of the 19th century in the larger towns such as Cairo, Alexandria, Manṣūra, *Suez, *Damanhūr, and al-Maḥalla al-Kubrā. As a result of the expulsion of large numbers of Palestinian Jews to Egypt during World War i, the attachment of Egyptian Jewry to the Palestinian population and to the national movement strengthened. The reinforcement of Jewish consciousness found expression in the publication of Jewish newspapers in various languages. In 1880, a Jewish weekly in Arabic, al-Ḥaqīqa ("The Truth"), began to appear in Alexandria. In 1903, a weekly in Ladino, Miẓrayim, was founded in Cairo. From 1908 to 1941 a French weekly, L'Aurore, appeared in Cairo, and in 1919 another weekly, Israël, was founded in Cairo. This newspaper was amalgamated in 1939 with the Alexandria weekly La Tribune Juive, which was first published in 1936. It appeared until 1948, as did the Arabic weekly al-Shams ("The Sun"), founded in 1934.

[Eliyahu Ashtor]

Contemporary Period

According to the Egyptian census of 1947, 65,600 Jews lived in Egypt, 64% of them in Cairo, 32% in Alexandria, and the rest in other towns. Egyptian Jewry was thus among the most urban of the Jewish communities of Asia and Africa. In 1947 most Egyptian Jews (59%) were merchants, and the rest were employed in industry (18%), administration, and public services (11%). The economic situation of Egyptian Jewry was relatively good; there were several multi-millionaires, a phenomenon unusual in other Jewish communities of the Middle East.

Most Egyptian Jews received some form of education, and there were fewer illiterates among them than in any other Oriental community in Egypt then. This was due to the fact that Jews were concentrated in the two great cities with all kinds of educational facilities. There were no restrictions on accepting Jews in government or foreign schools. In November 1945 riots, organized by the "Young Egypt" group led by Aḥmad Ḥusayn, ended in attacks on the Cairo Jewish quarter. A synagogue, a Jewish quarter hospital, and an old-age home were burned down and many Jews injured or killed. This was the first disturbance of its kind in the history of independent Egypt.

The year 1947 was the beginning of the end of the Egyptian Jewish community, for in that year the Companies' Law was instituted, which required that not less than 75% of employees of companies in Egypt must be Egyptian citizens. The law affected Jews most of all, since only about 20% of them were Egyptian citizens. The rest, although in many cases born in Egypt and living there for generations, were aliens or stateless persons. After the State of Israel was established, persecution

of Jews began became more severe. On May 15, 1948, emergency law was declared, and a royal decree forbade Egyptian citizens to leave the country without a special permit. This was applied to Jews. Hundreds of Jews were arrested and many had their property confiscated. In June through August 1948, bombs were planted in Jewish neighborhoods and Jewish businesses looted. About 250 Jews were killed or wounded by the bombs. In 1949, when the consular law courts which tried foreign citizens were abolished, many Jews were affected. The condition of the Jews gradually worsened until, in July 1949, the new government headed by Ḥusayn Sirrī Pasha began to release detainees and return some of the frozen Jewish assets which had been confiscated, also allowing some Jews to leave Egypt, In January 1950, when the Wafd government under Nuqrāshī Pasha was overthrown, all Jewish detainees were released and the rest of their property restored to them. The condition of the Jews slightly improved, although they were forced to donate large sums of money to the soldiers' fund, and leaders of the community were coerced into publishing a declaration against the State of Israel. During the anti-British riots on Black Saturday (January 26, 1952), many foreign citizens were injured, and the loss of Jewish property on that daywas estimated at el9,000,000 ($25,000,000). About 25,000 Jews left Egypt between 1948 and 1950, some 14,000 of them settling in Israel. When persecution lessened, Jewish emigration decreased.

After the deposition of King Farouk in July 1952, the new government headed by General Muhammad Naguib was favorably inclined toward Jews, but when Naguib was overthrown and *Nasser seized power in February 1954 there was a change for the worse. Nasser immediately arrested many Jews who were tried on various charges, mainly for Zionist and communist activities. In 1954 about 100 Jews were arrested, but most attention was attracted by the trial of the 13 charged with being members of an Israel intelligence network. Two of those charged died, and Moses Leo *Marzuk, a Karaite surgeon and Samuel Bekhor Azar, a teacher, were sentenced to death, while the rest were condemned to various terms of imprisonment (see. *Cairo Trial).

Arrests of Jews continued. They were also forced to donate money to arm the military forces, Chief Rabbi Haim *Nahoum explaining that it was a national duty. In addition, strict supervision of Jewish enterprises was introduced; some were confiscated and others forcibly sold to the government.

Immediately after the Sinai Campaign (November 1956), hundreds of Jews were arrested. About 3,000 were interned without charge in four detention camps. At the same time, the government served notice on thousands of Jews to leave the country within a few days, and they were not allowed to sell their property, nor to take any capital with them. The deportees were made to sign statements agreeing not to return to Egypt and transferring their property to the administration of the government. The International Red Cross helped about 8,000 stateless Jews to leave the country, taking most of them to Italy and Greece in chartered boats. Most of the Jews of Port Said (about 100) were smuggled to Israel by Israel agents. The system of deportation continued into 1957. Other Jews left voluntarily, after their livelihoods had been taken from them, until only 8,561 were registered in the 1957 census. Most of them lived in Cairo (65.3%) and Alexandria (32.2%). The Jewish exodus continued until there were about 3,000 in 1967 of whom only about 50 were Ashkenazim, since most members of this community had left or been deported.

With the outbreak of the Six-Day War in June 1967 the few remaining Jewish officials holding public posts were discharged and hundreds of Jews were arrested. They were beaten, tortured, and abused. Some were released following intervention by foreign states, especially Spain, and were permitted to leave the country. Among the detainees were the chief rabbi of Egypt, R. Ḥayyim Duwayk, and the rabbi of Alexandria, who were held for seven months. Several dozen Jews were held in detention until July 1970. Less than 1,000 Jews still lived in Egypt in 1970, when they were given permission to leave Egypt but without their possessions. Subsequently, only some four hundred Jews (1971) remained in Egypt. Thirty-five thousand Egyptian Jews live in Israel and there are about 15,000 in Brazil, 10,000 in France, 9,000 in the United States, 9,000 in Argentina, and 4,000 in Great Britain.

Egypt was the only Arab country in which the Zionist shekel was clandestinely distributed for the Zionist Congress of 1951 after the establishment of the State of Israel. There was a well-developed Zionist underground movement in Egypt, and some of its members were arrested. After the mass exodus from Egypt, most of the synagogues, social welfare organizations and Jewish schools were closed; the Jewish newspaper, La Menora (published in French and edited by Jacques Maleh from February 1950 to May 1953), was closed down after Maleh had been deported. The Jewish representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives (Aslan *Cattaui and his brother René) lost their seats. The Cairo and Alexandrian communities had official committees, but there was no nationwide organization, the chief rabbi of Cairo simply being recognized as the chief rabbi of Egypt.

The peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt brought some information and a certain renewed activity with regard to the small Jewish community remaining in Cairo. The total number of Jews in Egypt was approximately 400, and it was an aging community.

There was only one synagogue in Cairo, the 70-year-old Shaarei Ha-Shamayim synagogue, normally attended by a handful of old men and women. There was no rabbi, the last having left in 1972. In December 1977 over 120 persons, Israeli citizens and Jewish journalists who had come to cover the peace talks in Cairo, attended the services. The members of the Israeli delegation were unable to attend, but they attended the services the following Friday night. There was also a synagogue in Alexandria, the Eliyahu Ha-Navi synagogue. With only 150 Jews remaining in the city they succeeded with difficulty in holding services on Sabbaths and Festivals only.

In May 1977, at the request of Lord Segal of Wytham, 11 scrolls of the Torah from the Great Synagogue of Alexandria – of the 50 in the synagogue – were sent to Great Britain through the good offices of President Anwar *Sadat.

Jewish rights were restored in 1979 after the Camp David Peace Accords. Only then was the community allowed to establish ties with Israel and World Jewry. However, these ties remained weak, despite Israeli tourism to Egypt, because the community is almost extinct.

Egypt was one of the Arab countries that invaded Israel upon its establishment in May 1948. After the defeat of the Egyptian forces, an Armistice Agreement was signed between the two states at Rhodes on Feb. 24, 1949; however, Egypt still regarded itself as at war with Israel, and there was no improvement in the relations after the Egyptian officers' 1952 revolution and the accession to power first of Muhammad Naguib and, later, of Gamal Abdel *Nasser. Egypt participated in the Arab economic *boycott of Israel, did not permit passage of Israel shipping and cargoes to and from Israel through the Suez Canal, and obstructed the passage of Israel shipping and cargoes to and from Israel through the Straits of *Tiran. It occupied the *Gaza Strip after the 1948 war and encouraged an increase in armed infiltration and sabotage against Israel beginning in 1955, which led to the Sinai Campaign (October–November 1956). After the Sinai Campaign and the stationing of the United Nations Emergency Force (unef) in the Gaza Strip and Sharm el-Sheikh, there was an almost complete cessation of fedayeen activity on the Gaza Strip-Sinai border and no interference with shipping to the port of Eilat until the withdrawal of the unef at Egyptian demand in May 1967, which was one of the factors that precipitated the Six-Day War (June 1967). Throughout the period that followed the Israel War of Independence, Egypt was the leading force in Arab opposition to Israel and the threat to its existence. It attacked Israel again in October 1973 ("the Yom Kippur War") and, although defeated, President Anwar Sādāt felt the war's results were honorable enough for Egypt to initiate a peace process. The Camp David Peace Accords of November 1978 normalized relations between Israel and Egypt.

For subsequent political developments, see *Israel, State of: Historical Survey; *Arab World.

[Hayyim J. Cohen /

Jacob M. Landau (2nd ed.)]

bibliography:

ancient egypt: A.H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (1961); J.A. Wilson, The Burden of Egypt (1951 = The Culture of Ancient Egypt, 1958); J. Wilson (tr.), in: Pritchard, Texts, passim. add. bibliography: M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. 1 (1973); J. Baines and J. Malek, Atlas of Ancient Egypt (1980); D.B. Redford, "Egypt and Western Asia in the Old Kingdom," in: jarce, 23 (1986), 125–143; N. Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt (1992); K. Kitchen, "Egypt, History of (Chronology)," in: abd, vol. 2 (1992), 321–31; D.B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times (1992); D. Franke, "The Middle Kingdom in Egypt," in: J.M. Sasson (ed.), Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, vol. 2 (1995), 735–38; W.J. Murnane, in: ibid., 691ff; J. Assman, The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs, trans. Andrew Jenkins (1996); M. Bietak, "Hyksos," in: D.B. Redford (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, vol. 2 (2001), 136–43; W.J. Murnane, "New Kingdom: An Overview," in: ibid., 519–25. hellenistic period: Frey, Corpus 2, 356–445; Tcherikover, Corpus; idem, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (1961), index s.v.Egypt: E.R. Bevan, The Legacy of Israel (1953), 29–67; idem, House of Ptolemy (1969); M. Radin, The Jews Among the Greeks and Romans (1915), index s.v.Egypt; Baron, Social2, index s.v.Egypt, Alexandria; J. Lindsay, Daily Life in Roman Egypt (1968). from end of second temple to muslim conquest: Baron, Social2, 2 (1952), index; Graetz, Gesch 3 (1905–65), index, s.v.Alexandrien, 4 (1908), index, s.v.Alexandrien.jews in egypt from arab and ottoman conquest: Mann, Egypt; Mann, Texts; idem, in: huca, 3 (1926), 257–308; Rosanes, Togarmah; Zimmels, in: Bericht des juedisch-theologischen Seminars, Breslau (1932), 1–60; Neustadt, in: Zion, 2 (1937), 216–55; S. Assaf, ibid., 121–4; idem, Be-Oholei Ya'akov (1943), 81–98; Noury Farhi, La Communauté juive d'Alexandrie (1946); Ashtor, Toledot; idem, in: huca, 27 (1956), 305–26; idem, in: Zion, 30 (1965), 61–78, 128–157; idem, in: jjs, 18 (1967), 9–42; 19 (1968), 1–22; S.D. Goitein, in: jqr, 53 (1962/63), 93–119; idem, Studies in Islamic History and Institutions (1966), 255–95, 329–60; idem, A Mediterranean Society, 1–6 (1967–1993), passim; Lewis, in: Eretz Israel, 7 (1964), 70–75 (Eng. pt.); idem, in: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 30 (1967), 177–81; Abrahamson, Merkazim, passim; J.M. Landau, Ha-Yehudim be-Miẓrayim (1967, Eng., Jews in Nineteenth Century Egypt, 1969); S. Shamir (ed.), The Jews of Egypt: a Mediterranean Society in Modern Times, (1987); N. Robinson, in: J. Fried (ed.), Jews in the Modern World, 1 (1962), 50–90; J.M. Landau, "Abū Naḍḍāra an Egyptian Jewish Nationalist," in: jjs,3 (1952), 30–44; 5 (1954), 179–180; idem, "Ritual Murder Accusations in Nineteenth-Century Egypt," in: A. Dundes (ed.), The Blood Libel Legend, 197–232; idem (ed.), Ha-Yehudim be-Miẓrayim ha-ʿOthmanit 1517–1914 (1988); contemporary period: D. Peretz, Egyptian Jewry Today (1956). add. bibliography: J. Hassoun, Juifs du Nil (1981); idem, Juifs d'Egypte; images et textes (1984); G. Kraemer, Minderheit, Millet Nation? Die Jueden in Aegypten, 1914–1952 (1982) T. Mayer, Egypt and the Palestine Question, 1936–1945 (1983); M.M. Laskier, The Jews of Egypt, 1920–1970 (1992); V.D. Sanua, A Guide to Egyptian Jewry in the Mid-Twentieth Century (2005).

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EGYPT

Arab Republic of Egypt
Jumhuriat Misr al-'Arabiyah

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in North Africa, bordering on the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Libya to the west, the Gaza Strip to the east, and Sudan to the south. With an area of 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,659 square miles) and a coastline of 2,450 kilometers (1,522 miles), Egypt is slightly more than 3 times the size of New Mexico. Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is located in the north of the country.

POPULATION.

The population of Egypt was estimated at 69,359,979 in July of 2000, an increase of 17,115,079 from the 1990 population of 52,244,000. In 2000, Egypt's birth rate stood at 25.38 per 1,000, while the death rate was reported at 7.83 per 1,000. With a projected annual growth rate of 1.5 percent between 2000 and 2015, the population is expected to reach 92 million by the year 2030.

Egypt's population is the largest in the Arab world, and is generally young, with 35 percent below age 14 and just 4 percent older than 65. Almost 50 percent of the population is below 20 years of age and 39 percent under 15, presenting a real challenge to government in creating job opportunities. The vast majority of the population94 percentis Sunni Muslim. Coptic Christians, and other smaller religious groups represent 6 percent of the population, while smaller minoritiesprimarily Nubians, Armenians, and other Europeansmake up approximately 1 percent of the population.

A large number of Egyptians44.9 percent in 1998live in urban areas. The capital city of Cairo and its suburbs is home to the largest concentration of Egyptians, with a population of almost 7 million. Other major cities include Alexandria, which has a population of 3.3 million, and Port Said, with 469,000 inhabitants. Migration from rural to urban areas presents a serious problem for policy planners due to the heavy stress it places on services in major cities. Egypt is over-populated and continuing population growth places a major strain on land and resources alike. Most Egyptians are concentrated in the Valley and Delta of the Nile River, areas that account for only one-third of the entire land surface of Egypt. The rest of the country is largely uninhabited desert.

Family planning policies were first adopted in the 1950s, but it was not until the mid-1980s that a government family planning body, the National Population Council (NPC), was established. The country's population policy has addressed multiple issues, focusing on the promotion of primary health care, encouragement of family planning in rural areas, and the reduction of infant and maternal mortality. The annual population growth rate has dropped dramatically in recent years, reaching 1.9 percent in 1998. The drop can be credited to carefully designed and well-financed family planning policies adopted since the mid-1990s by the government of President Mubarak. In 1995, the Family Planning Association (FPA) was formed to complement government health services and to provide family planning services through its clinics and voluntary organizations. In conjunction with the ministries of health and social affairs, the FPA also carries out programs to educate the general public about reproductive issues.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Egypt's economy improved dramatically in the 1990s as a result of several arrangements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the move by several, mainly Arab, countries to relieve a large proportion of its debts. These decisions were primarily to reward Egypt for its stand with the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq in the 1990-91 Gulf War. Since that time, Egypt has managed to maintain positive growth rates. Inflation has been kept down, the country's budget deficit decreased, and its foreign reserves increased, while gross domestic product (GDP) has averaged annual growth of 4-5 percent. Despite the slow pace of privatization and new business law enactment mandated by the IMF reform program, the country has succeeded in attracting foreign investment by moving towards a market-based economy. Having successfully stabilized the economy since 1995, the government embarked on a privatization plan in 1997 aimed at expanding the role of the private sector .

In spite of this considerable economic progress, the Egyptian government continues to face serious challenges. Egypt's economic growth has slowed down since 1998, partly due to the economic crisis in Asia, but also as a result of huge government investment in large-scale infrastructure projects. The recession that affected Gulf economies in 1998 and 1999 also impacted Egypt's economy, with lower oil prices causing a drop in remittances traditionally a major source of foreign currencysent home by Egyptian workers in the Gulf region. Tourism receipts also fell in reaction to the wave of terrorist acts waged by Islamic militants in Egypt, thus causing a further decline in the levels of foreign exchange. The government's reluctance to relinquish its shares in state enterprises has further contributed to the slowdown in the Egyptian economy since 1998. Little progress has been made in deregulating the largely state-run economy, or in bringing about legislative reforms and structural overhaul, ranging from tariff reduction to wholesale reform of the collapsing education system.

Egypt entered the twentieth century as a British protectorate, heavily dependent on agriculturemainly cotton productionwhich accounted for 90 percent of its exports in 1914. The British fostered the development of a small industrial base, mainly concerned with processing raw materials, but further industrial development was stifled by a British trade policy that focused on selling British products at the expense of local goods. Although Egypt was granted independence in 1922, Britain continued to control the country in an alliance with the Egyptian monarchy until 1952, when a group of young army officers overthrew King Farouk. In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser ousted the first president Muhammad Maguib and became a popular and influential leader.

Since gaining independence from Britain, Egypt has struggled to rid itself of the feudal economic system left behind by the British and to create an independent economy capable of standing on its own. By the end of the twentieth century, Egypt had not yet achieved a vibrant economy and remained heavily dependent on foreign aid and imported goods.

Today, Egypt is primarily a free-market economy with some state control. Despite occasional outbreaks of political violence, it has a reasonably stable multiparty system and is strongly supported by the United States and the European Union. The economy's main exports are crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, and chemicals. Agriculture today accounts for 17 percent of GDP, industry for another 32 percent, while the services sector provides 51 percent.

Egypt is the world's largest exporter of cotton and its textile industry is large. Other industries include the production of cement, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizers, rubber products, refined sugar, tobacco, canned foods, cottonseed oil, small metal products, shoes, and furniture. Although the agriculture sector continues to employ almost one-third of the workforce , most of the arable land is used to cultivate cotton, and Egypt must import about half of its food requirements. Unemployment in 1998 was reported at 20 percent, and the income disparity between the highest and lowest strata of society remains high. By contrast, unemployment in the United States in 1999 was just 4.2 percent.

Since the 1950s, foreign aid has played a major role in Egypt's development processes. As a socialist country, Egypt received much financial and military assistance from the former Soviet Union between 1952 and 1970, but this ended in the 1970s after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel. Following Egypt's defeat in the 1967 war with Israel, the Arab states of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Libya provided Egypt with US$221 million annually, increasing to a total of US$1 billion annually between 1973-1979. Arab support, mainly from the Gulf states, was frozen in 1979 because of Arab opposition to Egypt's 1978 peace treaty with Israel.

From 1979, the United States emerged as Egypt's main source of economic aid. This was seen, in large part, as a reward for Egypt's warmer attitude toward Israel, as well as to assist the country in meeting the demands of the extreme economic and political challenges it was facing. Between 1979 and 1998, Egypt received US$815 million annually from the United States. Since 1999, the level of U.S. aid has gradually decreased, reaching US$727 million in 2000 and US$695 million in 2001. Aid levels are expected to decrease further, to US$400 million over a 10-year period. U.S. aid to Egypt has come in the form of development assistance for infrastructure programs, job creation, education, democracy and governance, and in incentives for enlarging the private sector.

Arab aid to Egypt resumed in 1987 with the restoration of diplomatic relations. In 1990, Egypt was rewarded for its pro-Kuwait stand during the Gulf War with the write-off of its US$7 billion in debt to the United States. Although support from Arab sources has declined since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, U.S. and European aid has increased in support of the Euro-Med free-trade zone , to be set up by the year 2010.

According to the U.S. State Department Country Commercial Guide for 2001, government bureaucracy is a major impediment to the conduct of business in Egypt. Red tape permeates all government ministries and the commercial court system. Corruption is also widespread at all levels of the public sector , largely as a result of low wages and difficult living conditions.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Egypt has had 3 presidents since the 1954 revolution that brought popular president Gamal Abdel Nasser to power. Between 1954 and 1970, Nasser attempted to institute socialist economic principles on the Soviet model, and actively sought to industrialize an agriculture-based economy. Internally, Nasser dismantled the political and economic power of the landed class by nationalizing land previously owned by rich feudal landlords and distributing it to the poor. During those years, the government spearheaded a campaign to improve the lot of the working class and the peasants, who were offered free education and employment opportunities. Although the economy grew at an acceptable rate in the initial years, the failure of Nasser's socialist policies became evident toward the end of his rule, especially after the 1967 war in which Egypt lost parts of the Sinai desert to Israel. Military expenditure consumed about 25 percent of gross national product (GNP) under Nasser, while a rapidly growing population began to place additional pressures on the state.

Under President Anwar Sadat (1970-81), Egypt began its move toward a market-based economy. In April 1974, Sadat announced a new economic policy that came to be known as "infitah," or open-door policy. This policy brought the relaxation of currency regulations and led to a remarkable increase in foreign investment and a larger economic role for the private sector. In 1977, acting on the advice of the World Bank, Sadat lifted subsidies on flour, rice, and cooking oil and canceled bonuses and pay increases. These actions, in the face of growing disillusionment at the infitah policy, which allowed only a handful of people to accumulate wealth, led to a wave of popular protest across the country on 17 January 1977. As a result of the 2-day clashes in which 800 people were killed and several thousands more wounded, the government was forced to back down on the price increases while retaining 10 percent wage increases and other benefits for public sector employees.

In 1981, President Sadat was assassinated by fundamentalists of the Islamic Jihad group, who disagreed violently with his policies. He was succeeded by his vice-president, Hosni Mubarak, who was still holding office in 2001. The threat of growing popular dissatisfaction explains the economic reforms chosen by the Egyptian government since 1990. In 1991, Islamic groups began pressing for a strict Islamic state that would shun Western values and lifestyles. Their quest to overthrow the government includes demands for restrictions on freedom of expression, liberal education, and secular laws. These groups have resorted to violent means to overthrow the government, and have mostly targeted government installations and the tourism sector. The government has cracked down hard on the Islamists since 1994 but, although the threat from many of these groups has abated since 1998, they nevertheless have continued to be a source of much concern to the government and a serious impediment to foreign investment.

Since taking office in 1981, President Mubarak has demonstrated commitment to the program of economic reform that President Sadat charted for the country in the mid-1970s. At the time Mubarak came to power, the economy was faltering under the weight of massive foreign debt . Unable to meet its payments, the Mubarak government was forced to reschedule US$6.5 billion in debts to the IMF and the Paris Club (an informal group of official creditors comprising the world's largest countries) in 1987. It was not, however, until 1991 that the government, faced with a growing Islamic threat, began concentrating all its efforts on economic reform. The results of the reform program have been promising. According to the U.S. State Department Country Commercial Guide for 2000, the public debt has fallen from $40 billion to $30 billion, the Egyptian pound is stable, and inflation is under control. Further, foreign reserves reached an all-time high in 1997 and the budget deficit was slashed. Egypt's heavy debt burden accumulated during the 1980s had been reduced from $31 billion to $19 billion by 1998.

Politically, Mubarak allowed parliamentary elections in 1984. However, for most of the last 25 years, Egypt has been governed by a single party, the National Democratic Party. Although the national constitution describes Egypt as a "democratic, socialist state," in reality it is not much of either. While it is not a dictatorship, the government is an authoritarian one, given legitimacy by being elected. Egyptian voters elect a 448-member Majlis al-Sha'ab (People's Assembly), which, in turn, elects a president who wields wide powers during a 6-year term. The president appoints the vice-president and all ministers, and can be re-elected for additional terms. However, given that emergency powersfirst put into effect shortly after the assassination of President Anwar Sadatwere extended for a further 3 years in February 2000, the current regime and the security forces behind it have far more power than the constitution allows.

There are a total of 13 legal political parties, the most important of which include the New Wafd (Delegation) Party, the Socialist Labor Party, the Umma Party, and the Socialist Liberal Party. However, since its creation by Sadat in 1978, the New Democratic Party (NDP) has maintained an unequaled nationwide party machine and an iron grip on the Assembly, and thus on the presidency. The ruling NDP won an overwhelming majority in the 1996 and 2000 parliamentary elections, as well as in the April 1997 local and municipal elections, although opposition candidates and many foreign observers alleged vote rigging and intimidation at the ballot boxes.

Since the late 1990s, the Islamic movement known as the Ikhwan al-Muslimin (The Muslim Brotherhood) has made substantial inroads into the political establishment, but is largely held at bay by the NDP. The Brotherhood is officially banned by Egyptian law, which prohibits political parties founded on a religious basis. However, Islamist candidates do campaign under the auspices of legal opposition parties, such as the Socialist Labor Party, a practice quietly sanctioned by the government. Although the official presence of the Brotherhood is still minor, it maintains a powerful grassroots movement and has captured control of nearly every professional organization in the country, including the influential Lawyers' Association.

The judicial system in Egypt has been fairly independent from the executive branch of government. Although freedom of expression is to some extent tolerated, the mediaincluding newspapers, magazines, and periodicalsare subject to censorship. The government owns all domestic television and radio stations.

Between 1952 and the mid-1970s, the military emerged as the strongest institution in Egypt and, as a result, played a major role in its politics and economy. Egypt's large professional army, which numbers 450,000 personnel, was created in the 1950s as a deterrent force against Israel and today represents 1 percent of the population. However, unlike other developing countries, the military's role in Egypt has not been politically disruptive. Its political role, in fact, greatly diminished over the last 2 decades of the twentieth century, particularly as the country moved toward political liberalization in the mid-1980s. Although the military has opted to stay out of the government's confrontation with Islamic militants opposing the state, it continues to form the backbone of the regime and enjoys great privileges. Since the early 1990s, however, the military's economic involvement has expanded into 4 major areas: military industries and arms production, civilian industries, agriculture, and national infrastructure.

Taxes are a major source of state revenue, contributing approximately one-third of the government budget, and 16.6 percent of GDP. Taxes come in a variety of forms, including income tax , which accounts for 22 percent of the total tax revenue, and taxes on goods and services, which account for another 17 percent. Tax increases are expected in the coming years, but, aware of the potentially disruptive political implications of such a course, the government has been reluctant to burden the Egyptian populace with further taxes.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Egypt's infrastructure is relatively underdeveloped. The country is serviced by a network of over 64,000 kilometers (39,769 miles) of primary and secondary roads, 49,984 kilometers (31,060 miles) of which are paved. Despite the modernization of the road system in the 1980s, most roads remain in poor condition or under construction. With growing numbers of licensed automobiles in the 1990s, the road system, especially in urban areas, has become highly congested, and is a major safety concern. According to the EIU Country Profile, "Egypt reports the highest incidence of traffic fatalities in the world: 44.1 deaths per 100,000 kilometers driven in 1994." Egypt's aging state-owned railway system, which has 9,400 kilometers of tracks (5,841 miles) is old by regional standards and in need of upgrade. The sector is slated for privatization. Cairo's new metro system, opened in 1987, is one of the most heavily used systems in the world, carrying some 1.4 million passengers a day.

Egypt has a total of 90 airports. Egypt Air, the country's official airline, carries some 4.6 million passengers, roughly 25 percent of international air traffic, and an estimated total of 87,240 metric tons of freight annually, but has a poor service record and is generally unreliable. Egypt has 3 major ports, at Alexandria, Port Said, and Suez, and 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) of waterways, divided between the Nile and the canals.

Electrical power is supplied to Egyptians by the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Authority (EEA), which

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Egypt 40 324 122 N/A 1 0.5 9.1 0.28 200
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Saudi Arabia 57 321 262 N/A 31 N/A 49.6 1.17 300
Nigeria 24 223 66 N/A 0 N/A 5.7 0.00 100
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

has the capacity to produce 15,000 megawatts of power, 80 percent of which are from natural gas. Plans are underway to expand power production by an additional 1,950 megawatts by 2002. Power consumption has been growing at the rate of 5.6 percent year, and EEA plans to invest some US$4.5 billion in the coming years to boost the country's power generation capacity.

Telecommunication services in Egypt are thoroughly modern. Telephone service is provided by the state-owned Telecom Egypt. According to the EIU Country Profile for 2000/2001, the country has some 6.5 million lines, and has been adding new ones at the rate of 1 million per year. In 2000, Egypt had over 60 local Internet service providers.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Egypt's economy is the second largest in the Arab world (after Saudi Arabia) and its economic sectors reflect its size. The service sector is by the far the largest and fastest-growing economic sector and accounts for almost 51 percent of GDP. Tourism, trade, banking, and shipping services on the Suez Canal constitute the main sources of service sector revenue. Both tourism and the Suez Canal were hit hard by Islamic violence in the 1990s, with tourism in particular suffering badly after the 1997 Luxor attack, in which 58 foreigners were killed by Islamic militants. The massacre is estimated to have cost the tourism sector 50 percent of its annual US$3.7 billion revenues in 1998, when foreign visitors stayed away from the country. The government has moved to aggressive promotion of domestic tourism to compensate for the loss of foreign tourism, and managed to restore more than 60 percent of the pre-1997 tourist traffic by late 1999. The sector's performance improved dramatically in the first 2 quarters of 2000, growing by 43 percent on the previous year. The prospects of recovery in the Suez Canal sector, however, have been less promising, with growth in that area rather slow, despite government plans to revive it.

Industry is the second-largest economic sector in Egypt, and accounted for 32 percent of GDP in 1999. Some 13 percent of the total labor force is employed in industrial activity, which is concentrated in Cairo and the Nile delta. Major industries include the production of petroleum and petroleum products, accounting for roughly 7 percent of GDP and providing a major source of foreign currency. The sector's contribution is heavily dependent on the performance of the world's oil markets, and fluctuates accordingly. The growth in domestic energy demands in the 1990s has placed constraints on Egypt's petroleum exports, leading to a downturn in net revenues. The construction industry has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, thanks in large part to huge government infrastructure and modernization projects. Overall, the industrial sector's contribution has increased as a result of the government's efforts towards privatization.

Even though arable land accounts for only 3 percent of the country's overall land area, agriculture remains one of the most important sectors of the economy, employing roughly 40 percent of the labor force. However, agriculture's contribution to GDP declined from 20 percent in 1986-87 to 17 percent in 1999, and the number of workers in the sector decreased steadily during the 1990s.

AGRICULTURE

Even though its contribution to GDP has declined considerably in the last 15 years, from 25.6 percent in 1985-86 to 17 percent in 1999, agriculture remains a significant contributor to Egypt's economy, accounting for 20 percent of commodity exports. In 1998, according to the CIA World Factbook for 2000, 40 percent of the labor force was employed in the agriculture sector.

Cotton has been the country's largest agricultural export product for many years. The proportion of land cultivated with cotton has dropped significantly over the last 4 decades, from 924,000 hectares in 1962 to 227,000 hectares in 2000-01. For most of the century, cotton has been heavily subsidized by the government. These subsidies, however, were lifted in the mid-1990s and, as a result of higher cultivation costs, cotton exports have dropped from 121,500 metric tons in 1993-94 to only 45,000 metric tons in 1996-97.

In an attempt to reverse this trend, the government moved to raise the purchase price of cotton above international market levels. This was coupled with a move to import lower-grade cotton in March 1996 to allow for the export of better-quality cotton, and the full liberalization of the cotton trade in 1998-99. Higher price incentives have led to increased production and higher export deliveries, but the cotton trade is threatened by dwindling acreage.

Wheat and rice outputs have grown dramatically since the early 1990s, particularly since 1994 when all subsidies for fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides were lifted. The result has been self-sufficiency in several important commodities. Today, 95 percent of the wheat and rice crops are used to satisfy domestic consumption but, despite increased output, Egypt continues to be a large importer of food, especially agricultural products. Imports of wheat rose by 8 percent in 1996-97 and have generally accounted for more than a quarter of total imports.

Egypt's agricultural sector remains one of the most productive in the world, despite the small area of arable land and irregular and insufficient water supplies. Farmers do not have to pay for water used in irrigation. Since the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile river, the sector's development has been hindered by the problems of waterlogged soil and soil with a high salt content. Drainage efforts have proved insufficient to counter the harmful effects of these 2 factors to the sector's performance. Since the mid-1980s, the government has attempted to reclaim the desert for cultivation, and has managed to successfully reclaim some 1 million acres of desert. Plans are underway to reclaim an additional 3.5 million acres by the year 2017 with the South Valley Development project near Lake Nasser. These efforts, however, are countered by the fast pace of urban and industrial expansion, which has been claiming an average of 31,000 acres a year.

INDUSTRY

MINING.

Egypt's main mining activity revolves around the extraction of crude oil. The country is not a major producer of oil, and its reserves are small by regional standards. According to the EIU Country Profile for 2000-01, oil reserves were estimated at around 3.8 billion barrels in July 2000; in comparison, Saudi Arabia has over 260 billion barrels of proven and unproven reserves. Until 1998, Egypt produced an average of 880,000 barrels a day of crude oil, the majority of which was refined domestically, but production has steadily declined since 1998, mainly due to the depletion of the main oil fields. In July 1998, production reached 840,000 barrels a day, but had declined to 787,660 barrels a day in 1999.

Despite declining production, however, oil remains a significant source of government revenue and export earnings. The decline in crude oil exports in recent years has been mainly due to rising domestic demand and depressed world oil prices in 1998. As a result, crude oil exports, which accounted for 55 percent of overall export earnings in 1992-93, accounted for only one-quarter of overall export earnings in 1998-99.

Most oil production is concentrated in the Gulf of Suez, which produces 79 percent of Egypt's oil. Oil exploration activity is also taking place in the Western Desert near the Libyan border, offshore in the Mediterranean, and in the Sinai Desert. Unlike their neighboring Arab countries, where the state maintains full control of the oil industry, Egypt's oil production is dominated by foreign companies, working in conjunction with the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation. The bulk of oil exploration activity is undertaken by large foreign companies, mainly British Petroleum and the Italian company AGIP. In recent years, the government has awarded exploration rights to a number of small local companies, but their presence is minimal in comparison to the foreign giants.

According to the EIU Country Profile for 2000-01, Egypt is one of the largest producers of refined oil goods in Africa, producing 35 million tons of refined goods annually. Refineries are based in Suez and Sidi Keir. Output in the sector has increased since 1994, when the private sector was allowed to enter the refineries business.

In addition to the extraction of crude oil, Egypt has natural gas reserves estimated at 45 trillion cubic feet, while potential reserves were estimated at a further 75 trillion cubic feet in year 2000. So as to increase oil exports, the government has adopted a policy of promoting the use of natural gas for domestic consumption. Gas production is mostly concentrated in the Nile delta region and the Western Desert, and is mostly used for power generation. Natural gas production is expected to rise in the coming years as the government concludes several agreements with its neighbors, mainly Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. In July 2000, the government signed an agreement with the Spanish electricity company Union Fenosa to supply almost 25 percent of Spain's annual natural gas consumption.

Most of Egypt's coal reserves are located in Sinai and are estimated at 50 million tons. Egyptian coal, however, is of poor quality, and previous plans to increase production have been abandoned due to the sector's lack of economic viability. Egypt also produces limestone and phosphates, which are mined near Bur Safaga and Quseir on the Red Sea, and iron ore is extracted at the Baharia oasis in the Western Desert. Other minerals, such as manganese, gold, zinc, tin, lead, copper, potash, sulphur, and uranium, can also be found in Egypt, but their mining is limited because of the high cost involved in their exploitation and transportation.

MANUFACTURING.

The manufacturing sector is an important and growing contributor to the Egyptian economy, with production dominated by large state-owned enterprises. Industrial activity grew rapidly in the 1970s and early 1980s as a result of the oil boom in the Gulf and the influx of large Arab investments in Egypt, recording an annual growth rate of 10 percent or more. Growth, however, has since slowed down, although the private sector has expanded since 1996, and its contribution has increased dramatically as a result of economic liberalization. By contrast, growth in the public sector's industrial production has declined sharply, mainly thanks to the legacy of centralization and inefficiency that characterizes state-controlled manufacturing industries. One example is textile manufacturing, once one of the largest industries in Egypt. The sector, which continues under state monopoly , has been largely inefficient, and beset by problems ranging from the lack of modern machinery to over-employment of workers. By contrast, the privately owned ready-made garment industry has been booming.

Egyptian companies produce a wide range of goods. Textiles and food processing account for the largest share of Egypt's manufacturing revenue. Other manufactured goods include furniture, ceramics, and pharmaceuticals. The termination of public sector monopoly over the production of automobiles in 1991 has led to a considerable growth in the car assembly sector. Egypt has a fledgling computer software industry that the government has encouraged. Heavy industries, including iron and steel production, are based in Helwan, outside Cairo, and in Dikheila, near Alexandria. Aluminum production is based in Nag Hammadi, while the production of chemicals is concentrated in Aswan. Since the 1970s, the government has attempted to encourage industrial production in non-agrarian regions in order to relieve the congestion in the main cities. As a result, 7 free zones (areas within which goods are received and stored without payment of duty ) have been established throughout the country, and industrial production in those areas is subject only to minimal regulations.

The country's large defense industry employs around 75,000 workers. The sector assembles arms for export, mainly to the United States, and manufactures industrial goods for consumption in the civilian sector. Egypt has attempted to capitalize on one commodity where it maintains a significant advantage: cheap labor. The government has moved in recent years to develop an information technology industry, which has been growing at the rate of 35 percent annually. Plans were underway in 2001 to train software engineers and programmers to increase the fledgling industry's potential and to boost computer software export over a 3-year period from US$15 million to US$1 billion.

CONSTRUCTION.

The construction sector is a major contributor to the Egyptian economy and one of its fastest-growing sectors. This growth, estimated at an average of 20 to 22 percent annually since the 1980s, is fueled by the ever-increasing demand for housing and by the state's large infrastructure projects. Among these projects are the Greater Cairo Wastewater Project, considered one of the largest sewerage developments in the world, and the US$88.5 billion South Valley Development project, which aims to create an alternative delta along the Nile and relocate urban communities so as to ease the severe congestion in the major cities.

Most of the material required for the construction sector is produced locally. Local cement production, amounting to 24 million tons annually and meeting more than 70 percent of domestic demand, is expected to increase over the coming decade due to heavy government investment in the sector. Private companies have also been allowed to compete in the production of cement, which continues to be dominated by state-owned companies. The construction industry is expected to continue its upward trend in the coming years as a result of continued government and private business expenditure, anticipated to reach 20 billion Egyptian pounds annually.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

Despite the drop in revenue as a consequence of political violence, tourism remains a significant contributor to Egypt's economy and the premier source of its foreign exchange earnings. The sector has huge potential, owing to the country's rich archeological heritage, such as the pyramids and other major attractions, as well as attractive tourist destinations on the Red Sea. The majority of visitors to Egypt, almost 61 percent, come from Western and Southern Europe. Tourists from other parts of the Middle East, especially from the Arab Gulf region, account for 19 percent of the total number, while Americans and Eastern Europeans each represent 6 percent of the total, and Asian visitors make up 5 percent.

The sector's growth has been stifled by periodic Islamic political violence, the absence of adequate facilities, and poor government management of state-owned tourist enterprises. The tourism industry suffered a sharp decline from October 1992, when the militant Islamic movements waged their war to discredit the state. The sector began to recover in 1995, with a record 4 million tourists visiting the country in 1996-97 and generating some US$3.7 billion in tourist receipts. This upward trend was reversed after the November 1997 massacre in which 58 tourists were killed while visiting the Luxor archeological site. The sector has managed to recover quickly, with some 4.8 million tourists visiting the country in 1999, spending some US$4 billion. According to the EIU Country Profile for 2000-01, tourism revenue is believed to have risen by 33 percent in 1999-2000, generating a record US$4.3 billion. Plans are underway to achieve a 12 percent growth in the tourism sector by the year 2005 by attracting some 9.5 million tourists annually over the next 5 years. The sector employs some 2.3 million people.

Major international hotels have a presence in Egypt. These include the Four Seasons, Sheraton, Hilton, and Marriott chains, among others, and there are major resort complexes, especially on the Red Sea. The most visible growth area of the tourist industry is the operation of Nile cruises. Dozens of cruise ships, many owned and operated by foreign companies, and particularly popular with British visitors, ply the river between Aswan and Luxor, stopping to take visitors ashore to the major cultural sites of Ancient Egypt. These cruises are accompanied by teams of licensed and highly qualified Egyptian guides.

THE SUEZ CANAL.

The other major component of Egypt's service industry is the Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The canal generates revenue from fees charged for shipping to pass through the canal. Some 13,490 ships passed through the Suez Canal in 1999. Twenty-five percent of the tankers that pass through the canal carry petroleum and petroleum products from the Gulf region to the United States, while the remaining 75 percent carry dry goods. According to the EIU Country Report for 2000, revenue from the canal has declined steadily since 1994, down to US$1.7 billion in 1998, from US$2.1 billion in 1994. Despite the government's efforts to promote the Suez Canal, receipts have remained sluggish, largely due to competition from alternative routes and the effects of the economic slowdown in Asia. The government is currently attempting to deepen the canal to accommodate huge tankers, and has changed its pricing policies to make usage of the canal more lucrative to international traffic.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

For an economy of its size, Egypt's banking system is underdeveloped. Most of the services provided by the banking sector remain basic, with the majority of transactions in the country still conducted using cash. Regulatory controls are inefficient, and the banking sector in general is not only overstaffed, but also suffers from a lack of well-trained or experienced employees. State-owned banks suffer from low capitalization and a high percentage of poorly performing loans.

The roots of the banking sector's inefficiency can be found in the nationalization policy implemented by President Nasser between 1957 and 1974. In that period, private banking was banned and only state banks were allowed to operate. State-owned banks still dominate the banking market, even though private banks were once again allowed to operate in 1974. In 1992, foreign banks were allowed to engage in local operations, reversing a policy that had restricted them to foreign currency business since 1974. But it was not until 1995 that foreign banks were allowed a majority ownership in local banks, a right denied them under the previous 1974 regulations. Efforts to reform banking and raise it to international standards are ongoing, with reform focused on improving the regulatory and institutional aspects of the sector. The government, however, has thus far been reluctant to cede control of the financial sector for both financial and political reasons. The privatization of the 4 state-owned commercial banks has been delayed on the pretext of popular opposition to such a move. The commercial banks provide banking and credit services to remote areas, and are profitable partners in the government's large development projects.

The banking sector is controlled by the Central Bank of Egypt, which sets banking and monetary policies through the control of interest rates, liquidity , and reserve ratios . The central bank also sets fees charged for the various transactions conducted in the sector. According to the EIU Country Report for 2000-01, there are currently 81 banks operating in Egypt, including 28 commercial banks, 32 investment banks, 2 real estate banks, 18 agricultural banks, and 3 specialized banks. The commercial banks are by far the most important, providing more than 75 percent of loans and accounting for more than 90 percent of deposits. As a result of the excessively large number of banks operating in the market, the Central Bank has placed a ceiling on the entrance of new banks, both Egyptian and foreign, into the market. The banking sector has been hit by a liquidity crisis that has affected the market since 1998, mainly as a result of indirect pressure from the government to limit credit to importers in order to control currency fluctuation. Interest rates have, as a result, remained high, averaging over 10 percent in the first 6 months of 2000.

Egypt has one of the oldest stock markets in the Middle East. Established in 1906, the Cairo and Alexandria stock exchanges were forced to close in 1961 as a consequence of President Nasser's nationalization drive. The 2 markets re-opened in 1986 in line with President Mubarak's privatization program. A 1992 law paved the way for the reorganization of the stock markets in Egypt, granting the Capital Markets Authority wider regulatory powers. A 2 percent capital gains tax was abolished in 1996 to encourage investment in the stock market. The 2 markets are now open to foreign investors, but interest in trading has declined over the last few years as a result of government mismanagement and eroding confidence in the country's political environment. According to the EIU Country Profile for 2000-01, the market grew by 157.9 percent in 1994, following the passage of the Capital Markets Law. The market's inconsistent performance since 1994 has been largely determined by the pace of the government privatization program.

INSURANCE.

Egypt has a large domestic insurance market, dominated by 4 state-owned companies that control almost 90 percent of the insurance market. Since May 1995, the lifting of restrictions that prevented foreign companies from being majority holders in domestic insurance companies has encouraged foreign activity in the Egyptian insurance market. The government is currently reviewing the viability of privatizing the 4 state-owned companies.

RETAIL.

The absence of large commercial centers other than Cairo and Alexandria has resulted in a poorly developed retail sector. While Cairo and Alexandria are home to a variety of retail stores, including fast food franchises such as KFC and McDonald's, the majority of towns in the interior of the country rely on small family-owned shops, farmer's markets, and temporary roadside stands.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Egypt has grown increasingly reliant on imports over a very long period of time, and has, as a result, maintained an external trade deficit for most of the past 6 decades. The deficit, however, grew considerably between 1974 and 1984 as a result of President Sadat's open-door policy that encouraged imports, and reached US$4.86 billion in 1980. This sharp rise was fueled by the infusion of large amounts of foreign aid following the signing of the Camp David peace accords with Israel in 1978 and the rise in oil revenue. Imports dropped for a brief period between 1984 and 1986, due to the shortage of foreign exchange coupled with debt repayments. Since 1986, imports have been on the rise, increasing from US$11.74 billion in 1995 to US$15.8 billion in 1999,

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Egypt
Exports Imports
1975 1.402 3.751
1980 3.046 4.860
1985 1.838 5.495
1990 2.585 9.216
1995 3.435 11.739
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

when exports totaled US$4.6 billion. Thus, with exports remaining steady at around US$4.5 billion, Egypt has continued to maintain its trade deficit. Since 1998, the government has attempted to discourage imports by tightening trade financing and controlling the amounts of foreign currency in the country. Coupled with higher oil prices, the policy of lowering imports succeeded in reducing the deficit in 2000. However, imports are likely to continue outpacing exports due to the widespread lack of most raw materials, especially those needed by the construction and industrial sectors.

Egypt imports a wide variety of goods, especially capital goods such as machinery and equipment, necessary for its economic and infrastructure development. Food has traditionally accounted for 20 percent of Egypt's imports, but chemicals, wood products, and fuels are also imported. Before 1973, one-third of Egypt's imports came from the former Eastern European bloc, or Comecon countries, as part of Egypt's alliance with the Soviet Union. After the signing of the Camp David accords, Egypt's new pro-Western orientation was coupled with a shift in trading partners. Today, the European Union, especially Germany, Italy, and France, supplies more than 40 percent of Egypt's imports, while the United States accounts for 15-20 percent of total imports.

Between 1960 and 1980, agricultural products made up the bulk of exports, accounting for 71 percent of the total. That percentage dropped significantly in the 1990s, reaching 20 percent of total exports in 1995, according to the EIU. On the other hand, the export of fuel, minerals, and metal rose sharply over that same period, from 8 percent in 1960 to 41 percent in 1995. The export of manufactured goods has also risen since the 1990s, from US$2.9 million in 1993 to US$3.4 million in 1998. This increase has been mainly the result of the growth in clothing and textile production, which accounted for 14 percent of total exports in 1998. The value of exports has been steady since 1997, reaching US$4.6 billion in 1999. The failure to expand exports has been blamed on a number of factors: state bureaucracy and red tape, lack of competitiveness in the exchange rate market, the shortage of modern technology, and low industrial capacity. Additionally, the inadequate marketing experience of Egyptian exporters has left them ill-equipped to compete successfully in the export business.

Egypt's main export partners are the European Unionchiefly Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germanyand the United States. Before 1973, Egypt exported some 55 percent of its goods to communist countries then in the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. Since the early 1990s, Egypt has gradually regained its influential role in the region, which it had lost after the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords, and its exports to neighboring Arab countries have increased.

Egypt has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995. The effects of the implementation of membership requirements remain unclear. While the agreement secures better access to developing markets, there is rising concern about its impact on the protected sectors of the economy, namely the industrial and agricultural sectors. The lifting of state protection might make these sectors more competitive, but could also lead to a huge increase in the country's import bill.

MONEY

The value of the Egyptian pound has been fairly stable since 1991, thanks to the government's efforts to maintain a stable exchange rate against the U.S. dollar. Traditionally, the government's policy has rested on the principle of defending the Egyptian pound against the U.S. dollar and increasing the country's foreign reserves. However, since 1998, a policy designed to keep the supply of U.S. dollars tight by removing them from the market led to a 10-12 percent devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the dollar in the last 6 months of the year 2000. This setback occurred despite government assurances that the pound would not be devalued. As a result, the Egyptian pound's exchange rate has fluctuated since the beginning of 2000, moving from EP 3.4 to the dollar in January 2000 to EP 3.8 to the dollar by the end of the year.

Exchange rates: Egypt
Egyptian pounds per US$1
Jan 2001 3.8400
2000 3.6900
1999 3.4050
1998 3.3880
1997 3.3880
1996 3.3880
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

The banking sector is expected to continue suffering from foreign currency shortages in 2001, as the supply of U.S. dollars remains tight. For the time being, the government appears to have allowed market forces to determine the exchange rate of the pound as a means of relieving the pressure caused by tight foreign currency supplies. The government is hoping that in the longer term, the tight foreign currency supply will be offset by a rise in foreign currency receipts from the tourism sector, a lower budget deficit, and decreased imports.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Living standards in Egypt are low by international standards, and have declined consistently since 1990. According to United Nations figures, some 20 to 30 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Despite widespread poverty, however, uneven development has led to the emergence of an affluent class that controls most of the country's wealth and enjoys an elevated standard of living that includes shopping at centers that feature the best imported goods. Living in such Cairo suburbs as Garden City, al-Zamalek, and Nasr New City, the wealthy send their children to private schools and to universities abroad. Yet not far from these affluent neighborhoods, a significant number of poor Egyptians live in squalor, with poor and overcrowded housing, limited food supply, and inadequate access to clean water, good quality health care, or education. The extremes are reflected in the country's distribution of income: in 1996, the wealthiest 20 percent of Egyptians controlled 39 percent of the country's wealth, while the poorest 20 percent controlled only 9.8 percent of wealth.

Uneven development in Egypt has not only affected the urban population. Inequality in the distribution of wealth is dictated by geographical regions. Historically, the north of Egypt has been more prosperous and received more government attention than the predominantly rural south, which stretches from Beni Suef, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Cairo to the border with Sudan. The central government, which retains great power over the country, has always been based in the north, and has

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Egypt 516 731 890 971 1,146
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Saudi Arabia 9,658 11,553 7,437 7,100 6,516
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Egypt
Lowest 10% 4.4
Lowest 20% 9.8
Second 20% 13.2
Third 20% 16.6
Fourth 20% 21.4
Highest 20% 39.0
Highest 10% 25.0
Survey year: 1995
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

therefore based major economic activity in that area. According to the EIU Country Profile for 2000-01, almost one-half of economic and social establishments in the country are based in the northern cities of Cairo and Alexandria. This uneven development has fueled a cycle of rural-urban migration from south to north that has only started to abate since the mid-1990s. Migration has only served to aggravate the state of underdevelopment prevailing in the south.

The economic reforms launched by the Egyptian government in the early 1990s have been double-edged, severely affecting the lower classes and threatening to further erode popular support for the government. Both the rural and urban poor have suffered from the long decline in the quality of social services provided to Egyptians. A lack of adequate resources for schools and hospitals has meant that these services have declined in quality over the years. Despite this deterioration, 93 percent of primary level students are enrolled in schools, and a government-funded health-care system ensures that all Egyptians have access to some form of health care.

As a result of high inflation, which, at its peak, reached 28.5 percent in 1989, the middle and lower classes have seen their living standards erode since the 1980s. The problem has been compounded by the government's reduction of subsidies on basic foodstuffs and certain budget controls on public services since 1991. The government's awareness of the political implications of the complete lifting of subsidies has slowed down the implementation of IMF-mandated price deregulation. In 1991, to soften the impact of these measures on the poor and those affected by privatization, the government established the Social Fund for Development, a US$613 million project funded by the European Union, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The fund is a job creation project aimed at training and finding jobs for workers displaced as a result of privatization. However, poverty remains endemic in Egypt despite these efforts.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Since the 1970s, the Egyptian labor force has been growing at the rapid rate of 500,000 (2.7 percent) per year. In 2000, Egypt's labor force stood at 19 million. The official unemployment rate for 1999 was 7.4 percent. However, Egypt's unemployment rate is believed to be higher than the official figures. Independent estimates put unemployment at about 10 percent. Almost one-third to one-half of the labor force is believed to be under-employed.

Egypt's labor force generally lacks secondary education and proper job training, which explains why much of the younger workforce cannot expect high pay. Despite higher rates of school enrollment since the 1960s, illiteracy is still high, at 35 percent for men and 58 percent for women. The educational sector remains overburdened and understaffed, and shortages in technical skills are viewed as a major impediment to business operations.

Unemployment remains especially high among women and workers under 20 years of age. The government is hard-pressed to meet its commitment to create

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Egypt 44 9 7 3 17 3 17
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Saudi Arabia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Nigeria 51 5 31 2 8 2 2
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

jobs for the thousands of university graduates entering the workforce every year, a major challenge since the 1980s. The average waiting period for a job in the public sector is estimated to be 11 years.

Egypt has a long tradition of trade unions. Workers' unions have existed in Egypt since the British mandate and, although repressed by the British government, workers routinely organized strikes to protest working conditions. By 2001, the workers' movement was less effective. Workers have the right to join trade unions, but are not required to do so by law. Some 27 percent of union members are state employees. There are 23 general industrial unions and some 1,855 local trade unions; all of them are required by law to be members of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF). Although semi-independent, the ETUF maintains close ties with the ruling National Democratic Party and has traditionally avoided confrontations with the government. The close connection between the ETUF and the ruling party has meant less protection for state-sector employees, but the federation has been far more successful in bargaining on behalf of private sector employees.

The Egyptian government supports workers' rights promoted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and has set conditions governing industrial and human relations and established minimum-wage standards. The 6-day, 42-hour working week is the standard. The government-mandated minimum wage in the public sector is approximately US$33 a month, although the actual income a worker takes home is triple that amount, due to a complex system of added benefits and bonuses. The minimum-wage law is also observed in the private sector. In addition, the government provides social security benefits that include a retirement pension and compensation for on-the-job injuries. Wages have increased steadily over the last few years and are expected to increase again, since the 2001-02 budget has allocated US$10 billion for public sector workers' salaries and bonuses. However, it is only recently that the rate of increase in public wages has exceeded the rate of inflation.

Egypt has had a history of child labor problems. Poverty has driven many children younger than the minimum working age of 14, to join the labor force. Official estimates indicate that children under the age of 14 make up 1.5 percent of the total labor force. The number, however, is believed to be much higher, and it remains difficult to gauge the real extent of the child labor problem. The majority of working children (78 percent) work in agriculture. Children are also employed in craft shops, as domestic servants, and in the construction industry. The problem of child labor is worsened by poor enforcement of the law and the inadequacy of the education system.

The current labor laws make it difficult for employers to dismiss workers. Despite the protection offered by unions and the labor laws, however, working conditions are not ideal. Workers do not have the right to strike, and although strikes occur, they are considered illegal. The abundance of available labor has meant that workers are generally underpaid and are usually forced to work in overcrowded and often unsafe conditions. Government health and safety standards are rarely enforced, resulting in many workers seeking extra income through a second job or work in the informal sector , perhaps as street vendors. Thousands of Egyptians also seek employment opportunities in other countries, mainly in the Arab Gulf region. According to the latest census by the Egyptian government, 1.9 million Egyptians live and work abroad, and their remittances are a major source of foreign currency.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1798. The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invades and occupies Egypt, bringing Western influences to the country for the first time in its very long history, during which it has been variously under the rule of Greeks (Alexander the Great, 332 B.C.), Macedonians, Persians, Romans, Mamelukes, and Turks.

1801. An alliance of British and Turkish Ottoman Empire forces invades Egypt and expels the French. Ottoman army officer Muhammed Ali takes over control of the country, organizing the economy, the military, and the educational system according to Western standards.

1854. French engineer Count Ferdinand de Lesseps is granted the right by the Egyptian government of Mohammed Said to dig the Suez Canal, which will become one of the world's most strategically significant waterways.

1869. The Suez Canal is opened under the reign of the Khedive Ismail. Khedive enters into agreements with Britain which pave the way for British control of Egypt.

1882. Egypt enters a long period of British rule, and becomes dependent on imports of British manufactured goods and exports of Egyptian cotton.

1914. Egypt is formally incorporated into the British Empire as a protectorate during World War I.

1922. Egypt gains independence from Britain under monarch King Fuad.

1935. Fuad's son, King Farouk, assumes the Egyptian throne and signs the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty allowing the British to retain rights to the Suez Canal Zone.

1947. Egypt joins a joint Arab invasion of the newly created State of Israel, but Israel wins the war.

1952. Clashes break out between Egyptians and British in the Suez zone. Revolutionaries led by army officers Gamal Abdel Nasser and Muhammad Naguib lead an insurrection that forces the abdication and exile of King Farouk.

1953. Egypt is declared a republic in June, with Maguib as president. Nasser takes over as president in 1954 and ushers in an era of Socialism, during which Egypt allies itself with the Soviet sphere of influence.

1956. Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal in July. In October, the Suez War breaks out as Britain, France, and Israel attempt unsuccessfully to seize control of the Canal.

1967. Egypt loses the Six-Day war against Israel.

1970. President Nasser dies and is succeeded by Anwar Sadat.

1973. Syria launches an attack on Israel, leading to the October War between Israel and an alliance of Arab States, including Egypt. Israel triumphs.

1974. President Sadat introduces his "infitah," or open-door economic policy, but the lifting of subsidies on basic foodstuffs leads to countrywide rioting.

1978. Sadat pays a historic visit to Jerusalem, and Israel's prime minister Menachem Begin pays a reciprocal visit to Cairo. In the United States in September, the 2 leaders meet for peace discussions brokered by President Jimmy Carter and sign the Camp David Accord, under which the Sinai, captured by Israel in the war, is returned to Egypt.

1981. Sadat is assassinated by Islamic extremists. He is succeeded by President Hosni Mubarak, who introduces new economic policies emphasizing the free market. The first parliamentary elections take place, and the government launches a program of economic reform.

1990-91. Egypt allies itself with the United States and Great Britain in the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The United States rewards Egypt's support by canceling its massive debt.

1997. Mubarak's government begins a program of privatization, but the economy is badly affected when 58 foreign tourists are massacred by Islamic terrorists at the Luxor tourist site.

FUTURE TRENDS

Egypt entered the 21st century under a cloud of economic uncertainty. For much of the 20th century, Egypt's experiments with socialism left the economy in a shambles. The open-door policy, begun in the 1970s, set the stage for partial economic recovery, but it was not until the 1990s that the government embarked on a real reform and privatization program to address the country's woes. The economic reform program has been successful, with Egypt's business climate continuing to improve. The government appears committed to the path of reform started in the early 1990s, and if the longer-term structural reforms, especially privatization, are accelerated and fully implemented, then Egypt will be able to position itself as a leading economy in Africa and the Middle East.

Despite major reform efforts, however, economic growth has slowed down considerably since 1998. The public sector continues to be a major force in the economy. According to the EIU Economic Profile for 2000-01, the Egyptian government today accounts for one-third of total GDP, two-thirds of non-agricultural GDP, and two-thirds of manufacturing. In addition to the need to reduce its dominant role in the economy, the government is hard-pressed to meet several serious challenges that are crucial to the success of its economic reform program and, more importantly, its long-term political stability. These include addressing the unemployment problem and achieving social stability. To achieve that goal, Egypt will have to sustain a real GDP growth of about 6 percent, which would require dealing with the low levels of domestic savings and investment, increasing competition in the domestic economy, and stimulating export performance, as well as reducing dependence on foreign sources of income, primarily remittances and foreign assistance. Although aware of the possible political repercussions associated with its economic program, the government has done little to alleviate its impact on the majority of Egyptians, whose living standards have continuously deteriorated over the last decades. And it remains to be seen whether popular support for the government's economic reforms will outlast Egypt's enduring economic difficulties.

DEPENDENCIES

Egypt has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bush, Ray. Economic Crisis and the Politics of Reform in Egypt. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Egypt, 2000-01 .London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.

Handy, Howard, et al. Egypt: Beyond Stabilization, Toward a Dynamic Market Economy. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 1998.

Marr, Phebe, ed. Egypt at the Crossroads: Domestic Stablity and Regional Role. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1999.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed July 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Egypt. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_ guides/2001/nea/index.html>. Accessed July 2001.

Waterbury, John. The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat: The Political Economy of Two Regimes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Reem Nuseibeh

CAPITAL:

Cairo.

MONETARY UNIT:

Egyptian Pound. One hundred piastres equals one Egyptian pound. Notes are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pounds, and coins in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25, and 50 piastres.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, and chemicals.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood products, and fuels.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$200 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$4.6 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.). Imports: US$15.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.).

views updated

EGYPT

Arab Republic of Egypt

Major Cities:
Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan

Other Cities:
Abu-simbel, Akhmim, Asyût, Beni Suef, Giza, Idfu, Ismailia, Luxor, Port Said, Suez, Tanta, Zagazig

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated May 1995. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

Located at the crossroads of the Middle East and Africa, EGYPT has fascinated travelers for thousands of years. Its stone monuments are scaled to giants. Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Giza pyramids alone endure. Superlatives continue to the present: Egypt has the highest dam, the largest textile mill, and the oldest university. Nowhere else are the masterpieces of Islamic art and architecture to be seen as in Cairo, the city of a thousand minarets, great "Mother of the World."

Egypt is the land of motion within the stillness of centuries. The silent white wing of a felucca sail on the ancient Nile co-exists with the cacophony of the street traffic's seemingly random chaos. The pounding noise of construction, the cries of street vendors, the braying of donkeys, the rhythm of an ever-expanding city is absorbed by the eternal quiet of the desert. The brooding figures there have seen 5,000 years of foreigners come and go, while Egypt remains Egypt. Egypt is a new land built upon layers of historyPharaonic, Coptic, and Islamic. It is a country with an ancient past that first began to govern itself in 1952. It is a people struggling to merge heritage, tradition, and contemporary life.

Egypt is a country that does not give up its secrets easily. It is an explorer's land, a place to find treasures, whether in spices, jewels, or copper in the bazaar; a restored 17th-century house in Old Cairo; or flowers blooming in the desert after a rain. Rewards for the traveler are rich. For those who stay to "drink the water of the Nile," the rewards are magnificent.

MAJOR CITIES

Cairo

In 2000, Cairo had an estimated population of 10,772,000. The urban area stretches from Shubra in the north to Helwan in the south; from the Moqattam Hills in the east to Giza in the west. This megalopolis legally encompasses all of the Cairo governorate, most of the Giza governorate, and a small part of the Qalyubia governorate in the north.

Near two of the newest suburbs archeologists have found some of the area's oldest remains. West and south of Maadi, Neolithic communities flourished about 4000 B.C. Heliopolis was once home to an important religious and intellectual center. One of a pair of 22-meters high, pink granite obelisks, dating from the 12th Dynasty reign of Senusert I, circa 1950 B.C., remains. Another pair of obelisks, dating from the reign of Tuthmosis III, of the 18th Dynasty, circa 1450B.C., were later exported. One now stands in London, the other in Central Park in New York City.

From its seventh century origin, Cairo flourished as the "victorious city" under a series of Moslem rulers. Just one of its masterpieces of Islamic architecture would be the pride of a city, but Cairo has hundreds of outstanding mosques, madrassas (schools), and palaces. Inside the medieval walls, the Khan el-Khalili bazaar flourishes.

The foreign contingent of the population lives and works in many neighborhoods. Garden City, on the east bank of the Nile, where the Embassy is located, borders the modern downtown section, with shops, squares, hotels and markets. The island of Gezira has both Embassy-owned and leased housing in its Zamalek residential area. This island was once restricted to foreigners only, who lived and played by the fields of the Gezira Club.

On the west bank, Mohandessin, Agouza, Dokki and the Giza areas all have Mission residents. These downtown neighborhoods offer the excitement of big city living, with museums, shops and restaurants nearby, as well as proximity to the Embassy.

South, about 8 miles, is the suburb of Maadi, home of Cairo American College, the international school most American children attend. Its shaded streets and local shopping area contrast with Cairo's bustling atmosphere.

Food

Egyptian cuisine features vegetables, fruits, grains and pastas. Locally grown vegetables include potatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, celery, green beans, beets, carrots, green and red cabbage, spinach, okra, radishes, turnips, eggplant, parsley, dill and mint. Local fruits include bananas, apples, citrus, mangoes, melons, dates, figs, grapes, papayas, strawberries, pears, coconuts, persimmons and pomegranates.

In the more traditional shops, poultry and seafood are sold every day of the week, but red meats are sold only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For religious reasons, pork and products containing pork are sold only in special shops. But these customs are not observed in the newer supermarkets and neighborhoods with large foreign populations.

Popular beverages are hot tea, sweetened and often served in a glass, Turkish coffee and carbonated drinks. Local and imported bottled water, both still and sparkling, is available, as are locally produced wine and beer.

Clothing

Men: Slacks and a short-sleeved shirt with tie is common dress during the summer months. Office attire is generally more relaxed than in Washington D.C. A dark suit is commonly worn for dinner parties or other evening functions.

Summer entertaining is frequently outdoors, and casual dress for summer evenings is common. Egyptians do not wear shorts in public. Clothes can be made to order at very reasonable cost. Tailors often stock their own fabrics but will also make clothes from fabric you supply. Several fine shirtmakers are available.

Women: Since Egypt is a Moslem country, discretion should be observed in clothing. Sleeveless and low-cut blouses and dresses, mini-skirts, tank tops and shorts will give offense to most Egyptians and should not be worn in public. You will feel more comfortable in below-the-knee skirts or slacks or pant-suits and find flat walking shoes more comfortable and safer.

Office clothing is the same as is worn in Washington D.C. Seasonal dresses are appropriate for teas, luncheons, and other daytime functions. Egyptians may wear far more ornate clothes than Americans.

Since the transitional seasons are not clearly defined, warm-weather clothing is suitable from April through October. Cottons and drip-dries are most popular during summer months for comfort. Wools, sweaters and light jackets are worn in winter. Warm dresses, suits, long-sleeved blouses and sweaters are all useful in Cairo. In winter, light-to-medium-weight coats are useful.

Sun hats and caps are worn on the beach and on desert outings. Although locally made handbags are attractive in design and price, shoes, whether readymade or made-to-order, are generally less satisfactory. Open-toe shoes are not advised.

Several boutiques carry ready-made clothing matching U.S. taste and quality expectations, but at expensive prices. Dress-makers are available, but quality varies. The many fine fabric stores in Cairo stock a good variety of Egyptian cotton and silk.

Children: Cairo American College's dress code for grades 6 to 12 expects students to wear what's appropriate both for a learning institution and the local culture: modest and neat. Specifically prohibited are: cut-offs, torn clothes, shorts shorter than 3" above the bend of the knee, shirts and blouses not covering the shoulders, tank tops and midriffs. Wearing hats and caps in class requires the classroom teacher's approval. Shoes or sandals should be worn at all times and clothing worn in P.E. classes should not be worn in other classes. Final judgment on acceptable appearances is reserved by the College's administration.

Locally manufactured sandals are available and inexpensive.

Supplies and Services

Supplies: Although the availability of supplies is improving greatly, selections are still limited, and imported items are expensive. But most things can be found after a persistent search.

Basic Services: Dry-cleaners, tailors, barbers, hairdressers and shoe repair services are easily found locally while the E-mart offers both laundry and drycleaning. Clothing repairs and reweaving are Cairene specialties.

Religious Activities

Five times a day, from thousands of minarets, muezzins call Moslems to prayer at the mosques, to reaffirm their faith in Islam. But non-Moslems must not enter a mosque during prayer time and should respect the sensitivity to their dress and behavior at all other times. Unless you are specifically invited to enter a neighborhood mosque, only the designated Tourist Sites are accessible to non-Muslims.

Cairo also offers a range of places of worship. The monthly magazine Egypt Today lists churches holding services in English.

Education

Cairo American College (CAC), founded in 1945, is a private, coeducational day school serving students from 56 countries in kindergarten through 12th grade in a general, college-prep curriculum.

The address for official correspondence is: Superintendent, Cairo American College, Unit 64900 Box 21, APO AE 09839-4900.

On a campus of 11 acres in the Maadi Digla suburb, kindergarten through 2nd grade classes are housed in low buildings; 3rd, 4th and 5th grades are in a three-story building; grades 6 through 8 are together in a separate structure. Grades 9 through 12 are in the secondary school complex, which includes six science labs, the media center and rooms for computer and business education.

The industrial and the fine arts departments occupy separate buildings.

There is a 600-seat theater, a gymnasium, swimming pool, 400-meter track, soccer field, weight-training area and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

The school year runs from mid or late August to early June and includes 175 school days in two semesters and four quarters. Classes are held Sunday through Thursday.

To be eligible for a CAC high school diploma, students must complete 23 units, spending a minimum of four years in high school and their entire senior year at CAC. All the graduation requirements must be satisfied before their 20th birthday.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is offered. Students may participate by undertaking the full IB Diploma, taking a package of IB certificates or enrolling in IB courses without the external examinations.

Secondary school students enroll in seven classes daily. The curriculum includes English, social studies, science, math, physical education, foreign language (Arabic, French, Spanish) and English as a 2nd Language for grades 9 and 10. Electives include music, drama, art, computers, business and industrial arts courses.

Middle school (grades 6, 7 & 8) students enroll in eight classes daily, including English, social studies, science, math, physical education and elective courses in applied, fine and performing arts and foreign languages. English as a 2nd language is also offered.

Elementary school includes kindergarten through 5th grades. The program includes reading and language arts, science, math, social studies, physical education, music art and Arab culture. Foreign languages (Spanish, French or Arabic) are available to grades 3-5 and English as a 2nd language to grades 1-5.

The school buzzes with student activities including language clubs, concerts, plays, art exhibits, a model UN and athletic events. At the high school level, students involved in these various activities make trips to Europe and the Middle East for competitions.

Bus service is available to CAC from most areas of Cairo. Many children living in Maadi ride bicycles to the school but the roads are rough and a heavy-duty model is needed.

CAC requests you have the last school the child attended send transcripts and school records directly to the Office of the Registrar. For seniors, three years of records are required; two, for other grades. You may want to bring an extra copy of these transcripts if you'll be arriving near the beginning of the school year.

Three CAC medical forms also must be completed before admission, including a full report of a physical examination made no more than four months earlier.

Families with children having learning disabilities should carefully weigh the acceptance of an assignment in Cairo. CAC has a limited program for resource-room support but no self-contained classroom services. The school offers a maximum of one period for resource assistance per child per school day. You must confirm directly that they will be able to accept the child, given the learning disability and CAC's facilities. Before deciding, parents should write to the superintendent at the school's address given above and discuss their options with the Office of Overseas Schools in the Department of State.

CAC reserves the right to refuse admittance to any child not meeting its academic standards. Kindergarten students must be 5 years old prior to September 30.

Most textbooks are from U.S. publishers and are furnished by the school. Students must supply notebooks, paper and pencils, available at the school store. Lunch is not provided. A small cafeteria sells snacks and light lunches.

In addition to CAC, there is the U.S.-accredited American International School in Nasr City and other schools organized by French, German and British educators. Space availability fluctuates constantly, parents should seek current detailed information. There are often lengthy waiting lists for entrance to the non-American schools, particularly the British School in Zamalek.

Special Educational Opportunities

College Level Courses: The American University in Cairo (AUC) has undergraduate and graduate courses to audit or take for credit. Courses in Islamic Art and Egyptology are popular, as is the master's degree in teaching English as a foreign language. About 1,000 undergraduates pursue degrees in Arabic studies, English and comparative literature, political science/sociology and other fields. Master's degrees include economics, management and sociology/anthropology.

The AUC Center for Adult and Continuing Education has part-time courses for working professionals in computer science, engineering, travel and hotel service, translation and interpretation. A catalog is available from the public relations office in Ewart Hall or AUC's office at 866 United Nations Plaza, New York City, NY 10017. (Enclose $2.) The University of Maryland's European Division has been offering lower and upper level undergraduate courses since 1989. Five eight-week terms are scheduled per year and credits are transferable. The CLO has up-to-date information and catalogs.

Community Courses: In Maadi, the Community Services Association (CSA) offers a variety of daytime and evening classes and special programs on such subjects as Egyptology, personal development, various hobbies and other interests.

Instruction in art, music and dance is available. Pianos may be rented or purchased but it takes patience to find a good one.

Membership in the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) is tax-deductible and permits you to join their Archaeology Club, which sponsors at least one lecture and tour a month.

The Egyptian Exploration Society, sponsored by the British Council, has bimonthly lectures on ancient Egypt.

Sports

Sports activities include golf, tennis, softball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, horseback riding, squash, jogging, fishing, diving and hunting. For downtown residents there are private clubs. Membership is usually open to foreign residents and waivers and discounts on their annual fees are offered, but they are still relatively expensive.

The Gezira Club in Zamalek has two swimming pools, basketball, tennis and squash courts, a golf course, croquet lawn, a race course and a running track. Next door is a riding club while the Shooting Club in Dokki attracts skeet-shooters.

Several commercial riding stables are located near the Giza pyramids and used by many Embassy employees.

The yacht clubs may arrange for boating adventures but are restaurants, primarily. Feluccas can be hired, casually, at many places along the river, for as long as you want. A picnic or sunset cruise for six or eight people is a typical summer activity, with the north wind providing motion and coolness.

Soccer is the national sport with well-attended matches being played every weekend around the city.

The Cairo Divers meet once a month and organize trips to the Red Sea, one of the world's finest diving locations. Instruction in diving is offered through several sources.

Other energetic local groups are the Cairo Rugby Club and the Hash House Harriers, a non-competitive group holding pre-sundown fun runs on Fridays, which are for walkers, too. The Cairo Classic is an annual running and cycling event. Egypt Today magazine carries contact numbers in its listings.

Cairo American College has a 25-meter long pool and an active and varied swimming program for all ages, which runs throughout the year. This pool is open to the immediate family of students, at selected hours, for a fee.

CAC has two large playing fields and a children's play-ground. A circular 1/4 mile track is a popular site for jogging after hours and on weekends. Children's activities held on weekends include soccer and Little League baseball for ages 6-13.

The Maadi Club, a private organization, has two pools, croquet, tennis courts, stables and big crowds on weekends.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

In Egypt, one lives in the shadow of the pharaohs, the sultans, the caliphs and the emirs. The legacy they left can be seen today in the great monuments and buildings. A trip gives a unique opportunity to visit some of the outstanding sites of world history. You can go alone, with a guidebook, map and a few words of Arabic or join a group. Without leaving metropolitan Cairo, you can visit the walls of the citadel Saladin built to withstand the assault of the Crusaders, see medieval houses with harem windows, private gardens, mausoleums, mosques and palaces. You can wander down streets full of tent and saddlemakers or other traditional craftsmen, still at work.

In solitude the visitor can see the petrified forest just outside Maadi or, amidst crowds, spend time at the Zoo or the pyramids and the Sphinx at nearby Giza.

Many archeological sites are within a day's drive: Saqqara, Memphis, Maydoum and Hawara. Two villages, Harania and Kerdassa, are known for their fabrics, rugs and weaving.

With a few restrictions because of security considerations, many areas are accessible by car: Alexandria and other cities in the Delta; the Mediterranean beaches; the Suez Canal cities, Port Said and Ismailia and the Red Sea resort of Hurghada; Fayoum, the "land of roses" and other cities along the River Road to Aswan as well as much of the Sinai.

There are nine oases in the Western Desert. Since 1958 a project for agricultural development has been underway in these natural depression areas. Some are below sea level, all have artesian wells. Already they provide many economic benefits.

Siwa, isolated in the northwest, is famous for its Berber culture, bird migrations, dates, olives, Cleopatra's bath and Alexander's pilgrimage in 331 B.C., when he sought certification of his hereditary relationships with Zeus and Amun, the ram-headed god.

Mediterranean, Sinai and Red Sea resorts are also served by combined flights and bus tours. Luxury boat trips in Upper Egypt between Aswan and Luxor include such famed archaeological sites as Kom Ombo, Esna, Edfu and Abydos. Abu Simbel is accessible by air and road.

Local travel agents can plan and confirm trips. As prices vary with the seasons and the number of tourists, it is best to plan in advance and keep in touch for last minute changes. All flights must be recon-firmed before the return departure. Hotel reservations and boat charters need to be monitored but not paid in full in advance of your arrival.

Entertainment

Ballets, concerts, plays and dance troupes schedule performances all year. Theatrical productions are held at the Howard Theater, the New Theater and the Children's Theater at AUC. The Cairo Opera House has a year 'round program including touring ballet companies, musical programs, plays and exhibitions at reasonable prices. The Maadi Community Players, the Cairo Players and the Greek Theater Group at AUC all produce plays.

The Government of Egypt's Center for International Cultural Cooperation and the French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and U.S. Cultural Centers all present readings, lectures, concerts, plays, films and exhibits.

Feature films are shown at the American Cultural Center, Ewart Hall of AUC, the Maadi Club and at Maadi House.

A film festival brings a selection of foreign films to local screens each fall. Shown with Arabic subtitles, English-language films dominate the offerings, although many are not new releases.

Clubs throughout the city and at major hotels feature Nubian and Egyptian performers. The shows usually start around 11 p.m.

Cairo has a large number of restaurants, ranging from small, inexpensive, noisy neighborhood places serving local specialties through fast food franchises doing chicken and hamburgers, frozen yogurt, pizza and doughnuts to the luxury halls with European and Middle Eastern menus. The big hotels contain restaurants with a variety of price levels. River barges offer food with entertainment.

Social Activities

Among Americans: The Maadi House Recreational Center has activities for all ages in a homelike atmosphere. For tots, play groups under the super-vision of volunteers, are available. The garden is a pleasant social center with tennis courts and lawns for quiet repose by the pool. Karaoke nights, videos, exhibits and other events are organized by the manager.

The Women's Association and the Maadi Women's Guild have educational, philanthropic and social programs. The Petroleum Wives Group is open to the community and involved in activities. Cub Scout, Brownie and Girl and Boy Scouts are active.

Special interest groups include: bridge, yoga, the Choral Society and the CAC Parent Teacher Organization. Summer Circus and Awesome Adventures are summer vacation time programs of activities sponsored by CSA for children aged three to 13.

International Contacts: Some groups that meet are the CAC Women's International Club; the American Chamber of Commerce, which has a monthly luncheon; the All Nations Women's Group and the Baladi Association for the Preservation of Nature. The sports-minded can meet members of the international community at clubs and tournaments.

Alexandria

Alexandria (El Iskandariyah), with a population of 3,995,000 in 2000, is the second largest city in the country. It was founded in 33l B.C. by Alexander the Great and, for more than 1,000 years, was the capital of Egypt and a center of Hellenic culture rivaling even Athens. It was the site of the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the "Seven Wonders of the World", and of the magnificent Library of Alexandria, which housed the greatest collection of ancient times. Founded by Ptolemy I, the library was burned during Julius Caesar's invasion in 48 B.C. St. Mark introduced Christianity into Egypt early in the Christian era, and was martyred in Alexandria in the year 62.

In contrast to Cairo, Alexandria has a more outward looking and cosmopolitan air. It is a leading commercial center, the home of nearly half of Egypt's industry, and its chief port. Industries in Alexandria produce cotton textiles, paper, chocolate, processed foods, asphalt, and oil.

The city is built along 20 miles of low sand dunes between the Mediterranean and Lake Mareotis (Maryut). Its principal commercial area is close to the busy port, and stretches along the eastern harbor. Most Europeans and wealthy Egyptians live east of downtown, within a few blocks on either side of the main boulevard, Avenue Horreya.

With its mild climate and sandy beaches, Alexandria is a favorite summer resort for more than a million visitors each year, the bulk of whom are from within Egypt or the Arabian Peninsula. The weather at that time is pleasant and, although humidity is often high, there is normally a cooling breeze. In winter, homes are cold, but days are frequently sunny and bright. Alexandria receives about eight inches of rain a year, as well as some storms accompanied by strong gales. Flooding and power outages often occur.

Education

The Schutz American School in Alexandria, which attracts students from many parts of the Middle East, provides classes from preschool through grade 12. Founded in 1924 as a Presbyterian school for children of missionaries in the Middle East, it has grown into an independent institution governed by a board of American and Egyptian directors, and supervised by an American headmaster.

The Schutz faculty and administration is composed mostly of Americans. The school has a capacity of 250 students. In addition to Americans, Schutz accepts foreign students from a variety of diplomatic and foreign business families.

Schutz's two campuses span a total of three acres. There are 20 classrooms, an auditorium/gymnasium, cafeteria, two infirmaries, a 20,000-volume library, tennis court, playing field, two science labs, a computer lab, and swimming pool.

The curriculum offers courses in science, math, English, social studies, and Middle Eastern cultural studies. Courses in Arabic and French are also taught at Schutz. Extracurricular activities include art, music, crafts, sewing, cooking, typing, photography, computer instruction, dance, drama, gymnastics, and various field trips. Schutz has an excellent record on college admissions. The academic year runs from September to June. The school is coeducational. Information on entrance requirements can be obtained by writing to Schutz School, P.O. Box 1000, Alexandria.

Alexandria also has two English-language nursery schools, an English Girls' College, Sacred Heart School, Nasr Boys' School, Victoria College, St. Marc (French), and a German Girl's School, offering primary and secondary education in Arabic and other languages. Few American children are enrolled in these establishments.

Recreation and Entertainment

Alexandria's weather and location on the Mediterranean provide opportunity for a varied sports life for the adventurous and the versatile. The coast around the city is good for rod and reel fishing. During winter, duck shooting is possible on Lakes Mareotis and Edko, and a variety of migratory game birds, quail, turtle dove, sand grouse, and bustard are found within easy reach of the city, on the fringes of the desert. Snorkeling and swimming are popular. Scuba diving is prevalent, mostly along the Sinai and Red Sea coasts.

Of the several recreational and social clubs in the city, the Alexandria Sporting Club, with almost 30,000 members, is the largest. Here are offered a large swimming pool, golf course, lawn croquet, bowling green, basketball and tennis courts, a gymnasium, physical therapy department, a race course, and a riding school. Another sports club, Smouha, has a golf course and a riding school. The Egyptian Yacht Club provides opportunities for sailing, rowing, swimming, and diving. Water skiing is possible, but rental skis are not available.

The Hunting and Shooting Club at Qait Bay has trap, skeet, and box pigeon shooting several times a week, and will help make arrangements for interested hunters and for its members on the lakes. The Alexandria Club is a popular, private downtown luncheon and supper club. Monthly dinner meetings by the Egyptian-American Friendship Association are held at this site. Membership in all organizations is composed of foreign residents and Egyptians, and annual fees are reasonable, varying slightly among the clubs.

As everywhere in Egypt, Alexandria has antiquities well worth visiting: Pompey's Pillar, a Roman amphitheater at Kom El Dekka, catacombs of Kom al-Shqafa, Al-Shatby Necropolis, the Tombs of Al-Anfushi, the Tombs of Mustafa Kamel, and the exhibits at the excellent Graeco-Roman Museum. A jewelry museum, large antique souk (bazaar), an Islamic fortress, historic mosques, and a wide variety of attractive urban architecture contribute to Alexandria's unique Mediterranean flavor.

The fortress of Qait Bay, overlooking the harbor, features an aquarium and a naval museum.

Alexandria also has an attractive zoo and botanical garden.

Memorials of the World War II battle at El Alamein, including cemeteries of the British, German, and Italian troops, are 65 miles west of Alexandria on the coast road. A war museum, with battlefield relics, maps, uniforms, and medals of the combatants, is also there. A well-attended commemoration is held each October.

Alexandria is widely known as a seaside resort. Many Egyptians and foreigners rent houses, apartments, or cabanas in the city, west in Agami and Sidi Abdel Rahman, or east in Montazah and Maamoura.

A number of social and cultural events are held here in winter. Several national cultural centers give language lessons and sponsor art exhibits, film showings, concerts, and guest performances. Every two years, the Fine Arts Museum presents the Biennale, a special display of art from Mediterranean countries. The city has some good film theaters. The American Cultural Center also screens and offers programs of interest to Egyptians and Americans.

Summer beach parties are popular among members of the foreign community in Alexandria. Informal dinners, cocktail parties, bridge parties, and other impromptu entertainment are common.

Aswan

Aswan is located in southern Egypt on the right bank of the Nile, about 10 miles north of Lake Nasser. Its 2000 population was estimated at 219,000. Aswan is a popular winter health resort, an administrative and commercial center, and has a huge, fascinating bazaar. There are several industries in Aswan. These include a cement plant, a sugar refinery, a steel plant, and marble quarries.

In ancient times, the city was called Syene or Seveneh, and described in the Bible as the southern limit of Egypt. It is the site of the ruins of a temple built by Ptolemy Euergetes. Aswan has become an important industrial center since production of hydroelectricity began here in 1960. A chemical fertilizer plant is the largest of the new industries.

The creation of Lake Nasser and the construction of the Aswan High Dam (built 1960-1970, dedicated 1971) required the relocation of 90,000 people and many archaeological treasures. Under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization UNESCO, the Nubian Temples at Abu-Simbel were moved (1963-1968) to a cliff above the old site. In return for financial assistance, the United States was given the Roman Temple of Dendur. It was disassembled, shipped to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and reconstructed.

Elephantine Island is a small piece of land, less than a mile long and a third of a mile at its widest point, situated in the Nile River within viewing distance of Aswan. It is a quiet spot, away from the big-city atmosphere of Cairo, and the perfect place for relaxation, especially from October through April when the weather is excellent. Passage to Elephantine Island is via a free, three-minute trip on one of two hotel ferries shaped like the ancient reed boats used by the pharaohs. The only hotel on the island is the Aswan Oberoi, considered one of the best in Egypt. All 150 rooms have balconies and excellent views, and are comparatively reasonable in price, even in the peak season. There are no cars on the island. The only motorized vehicles are the two vans used by the hotel to transport visitors from the ferry. Nightlife on Elephantine Island is practically nonexistent, although there is a belly dancer at the nightclub. During the day, a felucca (lateen-sailed boat) can be rented for a nominal fee to sail as far as the Nile's First Cataract. The island has ruins of temples built in the second century B.C., as well as a small museum which exhibits some of the local antiquities.

OTHER CITIES

The village of ABU-SIMBEL , or Ipsambul, is located on the Nile about 20 miles from southern Egypt's border. It is the site of two temples hewn from rock cliffs, and of colossal statues of Ramses II, built during his reign, about 1250 B.C. The temples were raised 200 feet in 1966 to escape the advancing waters of Lake Nasser, which rose with the construction of the Aswan High Dam. UNESCO solicited funds from 52 nations to salvage the treasures. The statues of Ramses II and the temples were cut into 950 blocks, raised, and reassembled farther inland.

On the east bank of the Nile River, AKHMIM is almost 250 miles south of Cairo. Once an ancient Theban city, Akhmim now produces silk, sugar, and pottery. The city serves as a center for date, cotton, sugar-cane, and cereal processing. Industries such as clothing, brick, and textile manufacturing are represented here. Akhmim has a substantial number of Coptic Christians. The population estimated is over 70,000.

ASYÛT , located on the Nile, about 250 miles south of Cairo, is the largest commercial center in central Egypt. There are several ancient sites in the city, including the remains of a culture dating to 4500 B.C. Today, Asyût is known for its ivory carvings, pottery, and rugs. In addition, there are modern textile mills and a fertilizer plant. A teachers college and a university are located in Asyût. In 1996, the population was approaching 334,000.

BENI SUEF is 68 miles south of Cairo on the Nile River. The city has a marketplace for trading cereals, sugarcane, and cotton. Beni Suef's industries include cotton ginning, textile manufacturing, and flour milling. It is on the main rail line along the Nile. The population was estimated at 172,000 in 1996.

GIZA , also known as El-Giza or Al-Jizah, is a suburb of Cairo, situated on the left bank of the Nile. With a population of about 2,156,000 in 2000, it is a well-known resort that is also the center of Egypt's motion picture industry. Giza is an agricultural trade and manufacturing hub, producing cotton textiles, cigarettes, and footwear. Other industries produce iron products, wood products, cement, automobile parts, textiles, beer, and footwear. The University of Cairo and a center for research on schistosomiasis are located here. Other educational institutions in Giza include an ophthalmic research center, the Higher School of Applied Arts, and the Academy of the Arabic Language. Giza is best known, however, for the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx, which are located five miles west of the city. Ten miles to the south, a visitor can spend an entire day exploring the Step Pyramid (the first-built before 2000 B.C.) and necropolis in Saqqara (Sakkara). Between Giza and Saqqara lie the ruins of the Fifth Dynasty pyramids of Abu Sir. These can be seen on a three-hour safari by camel or Arabian horse, easily arranged by any hotel or travel agent in the Giza area.

IDFU lies on the west bank of the Nile in the southeastern region, 60 miles north of Aswan. The city is best known for the Temple of Horus, the sky god. Preserved intact, the temple was begun by Ptolemy III Euergetes in 237 B.C. and completed in 57 B.C. Idfu trades dates, cotton, and grain with nearby communities. It is linked to the Cairo-Aswan railway by a bridge across the Nile River.

ISMAILIA (in Arabic, Al Ismā'īlīyah is a halfway point on the Suez Canal, 65 miles northeast of Cairo. It is the seat of the Suez Canal administration. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the chief engineer for the construction of the canal, founded the city in 1863 and used it as a base of operations. Part of the population had to be evacuated and resettled elsewhere in Egypt during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israeli forces shelled the city. Today, Ismailia, with a burgeoning population of 254,000 (1996 est.), is an important commercial and rail center.

LUXOR , whose population was estimated at 1360,500 in 1996, lies on the Nile in central Egypt, about 110 miles north of Aswan and 310 miles south of Cairo. It is situated on part of the site of ancient Thebes. The greatest monument of antiquity in the city is the temple to Amon, built during the reign of Amenhotep III. The temple was altered by succeeding pharaohs, especially by Ramses II, who built many statues to him

self on the grounds. The temple was converted to a church in early Christian times; later, a shrine to a revered Muslim was constructed in the great hall. Beginning in 1883, the temple was restored. Other temples and burial grounds are also in the vicinity, including the Valley of the Kings and the famed Tomb of Tutankhamen (King Tut). Luxor is home to numerous churches and mosques. There is also an airport, railway station, and a ferry service. In recent years, a new museum and modern tourist facilities have been constructed.

PORT SAID , or Bur Sa'id, is a Mediterranean port at the entrance of the Suez Canal, just over 100 miles northeast of Cairo. The city was founded in 1859 by the builders of the canal. It is connected to Cairo by a railroad that was completed in 1904. During the Sinai War of 1956, the city was severely damaged by air attacks and invasion by French and British troops. During the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1967 and 1973, Port Said came under Israeli attack, and the harbor was closed to shipping for six years. Major industries include textiles, glass, automobile batteries and tires, watches, china, cosmetics, fishing and salt, which is produced by the commercial evaporation of sea water. Port Said is the fueling point for ships using the Suez Canal. The estimated population was 461,000 in 2000.

The city of SUEZ lies at the southern tip of the Suez Canal, about 80 miles east of Cairo. It was a small village throughout most of its history, becoming a major port only after the completion of the canal in 1869. The economy of the city suffered when the canal was closed during the Arab-Israeli Wars. Heavy damage was incurred in the 1973 war, and Israeli forces occupied parts of the city. Suez (or Al-Suweis), with an approximate population of 417,600 (1996), is a center for restoring and refining oil and for manufacturing petroleum products, paper, and fertilizers. A railroad links the city with Cairo and Ismailia. Suez is a departure point for pilgrims traveling to Mecca.

TANTA is in northern Egypt, in the Nile River Delta about 60 miles north of Cairo. This city of approximately 371,000 (1996 est.) is a cotton-ginning center as well as the main rail hub of the delta. Three annual festivals are held in Tanta in honor of Ahmad al-Badawi, a 13th century Muslim figure, who is buried here in a mosque. Traditionally a center for Arab learning, a branch of Al-Azhar University is located in the city. Tanta University opened in 1972 and another college opened in the early 1980s. Several industries are located in the city. These include cottonseed oil extracting, wool spinning, flour milling, petroleum refining, and the production of pasta and tobacco products.

The city of ZAGAZIG is 47 miles north of Cairo on the Nile Delta and the Ismailia Canal. The city, an important road and railway junction, has markets for cotton and grain. It is linked by rail or canal with Nile Delta cities. Zagazig is two miles southeast of the ruins of Bubastis, an ancient city (also called Tell Basta). The population was about 267,300 in 1996.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in northeast Africa and, with the Sinai Peninsula, extends into southwest Asia. It consists of 1,002,000 square kilometers of land. There are three land borders: Israel, Libya, and the Sudan, as well as four water barriers: the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Suez, Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea. Most of the country is part of the band of desert stretching from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Middle East.

Geological changes have produced four distinct physical regions: the Nile River's Valley and Delta, where 95 percent of the population live; the Western Desert, with two-thirds of the country's total land area in barren limestone plateaus and depressions; the Eastern Desert, scored by gullies in rugged hills; and the Sinai Peninsula, geographically a barren part of the Asian Continent, separating slowly from Africa.

Only the Nile Valley and Delta and a few desert oases can support productive agriculture. The date palm is the most prevalent indigenous tree, though frequently seen are: eucalyptus, acacia, sycamore, juniper, jacaranda, and tamarind. Papyrus, once prevalent throughout Egypt, exists now only in botanical gardens.

According to reports written in the first century A.D., seven branches of the Nile ran through the Delta to the Mediterranean. Since then, nature and man have closed all but two outletsthe Damietta and the Rosetta. These channels are now supplemented by a network of canals, salt marshes, and lakes.

Lower Egypt is the area north of the 30th parallel of latitude, which passes through Cairo and Suez. Upper Egypt is everything south. The highest point in the country, Jebel Katrinah (Mount St. Catherine), is 8,600 feet above sea levela part of the red-colored Sinai terrain that gave the Red Sea its name. Nearby is Jebel Musa, the legendary site where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

The lowest point, the Qattarah Depression in the Western Desert, drops at places to 132 meters below sea level and covers an area the size of New Jersey.

What rainfall there is falls mostly in Alexandria, where 19 centimeters (about 7½ inches) is the yearly average. Two centimeters. (about ¾ inch) is the usual annual total in Cairo. There are seven regularly scheduled storms, supposedly. A northeasterly, named al-Muknisa, is expected to begin the season on November 20. The others are: al-Kassem, Ras al-Sana, al-Fayda, al-Kabira, al-Ghotas, and al-Karam, which ends it with 6 days of north-westerly wind and rains beginning on January 27.

From November to April, temperatures range in Cairo from 40° to 65°F and during the hot period, May to October, from 70° to 110°F. The Mediterranean coast is usually 10° cooler, while Upper Egypt is 10° to 20° warmer. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northerly winds. The exception is the hot, dry southerly Khamsin, named for the number 50 because it lasts about that many days, from April to June. With winds up to 90 miles an hour some years, the resulting sandstorms close down airports and roads.

Population

Egypt's population was probably 2-3 million at the time Napoleon arrived in 1798. In 2000, Egypt's estimated population was 68,494,600. Within its limited habitable areas, more than 3,250 people per square mile make the Nile Valley one of the world's densest populated areas.

Although more than half still live in rural areas, this proportion is decreasing as jobs lure people to the urban centers. Cairo is now the largest city in Africa and the Arab World. The disparity between national resources and this ever-growing population is an obstacle facing the government's drive to raise living standards.

Because of its location, a heterogeneous population, blended from Hamitic-Armenoid and Arab stock, has developed. Today the majority are considered a single people, sharing a common ancestry and culture. Arabic is their common language. Colloquial Cairene is expressive and rich in words of Coptic, European, and Turkish origins. The written language differs from the spoken. Modern standard Arabic, based on the language of the Koran, is heard on radio and TV and in formal speeches. About 94 percent of Egyptians are Moslem, and Islam is the state religion. Most others are Christian, either Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican Protestants. Indigenous minorities include 4-6 million Copts, Nubians, and Bedouin, and a small Jewish community. Coptic has remained the liturgical language of the Coptic Church. Dialects of Arabic include the Bedouin and some Sudanese-Hamitic, spoken in Upper Egypt, and a Berber language.

Public Institutions

In 1952, a group of Egyptian "Free Officers" overthrew the monarchy and exiled King Farouk, who had inherited the throne in 1935 from his father, King Fuad. A republic was established under a Revolutionary Command Council.

The revolution established the first purely Egyptian leadership since Pharaonic times. From the time of Alexander the Great, Egypt had been continuously under various foreign rulers. The "Free Officers" divested their military connections and sought to raise the standard of living while developing both military and economic strength.

In 1958, Egypt merged with Syria and formed the "United Arab Republic." In 1961, Syria separated from this union, but Egypt kept the name until 1971, when it was formally designated the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The Egyptian Constitution provides for a strong executive. Authority is vested in a President elected by the People's Assembly and confirmed by a popular referendum. The President appoints the Prime Minister and Cabinet and may appoint a Vice President. President Hosni Mubarak was re-elected and confirmed for a third 6-year term in 1993.

The legislature is bicameral. The more active house, the People's Assembly, has 448 elected members and 10 appointed by the President. The 210 members of the National Consultative or "Shura" Council are known as the "Upper House." Seventy are appointed, 140 are elected.

The Council's functions are advisory rather than legislative. The governing National Democratic Party was established by President Anwar Sadat in 1978. There are five legal opposition parties, three of which are represented in the Assembly and the Consultative Council.

Egypt's judicial system is based on a combination of French and Islamic legal concepts and methods. The Supreme Court, with presidentially appointed judges, is the highest. Under President Mubarak, the judiciary has strongly maintained its independence from executive intervention. The principles of due process and judicial review are generally observed.

Politically, the government aims to preserve stability by gradually expanding and liberalizing democratic processes while attempting to improve the standard of living and quality of life.

Following the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, most Arab States broke relations with Egypt. The value of the peace treaty was demonstrated by Egypt's regaining full control of the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 and by the freeing of its resources for development.

The Amman Arab Summit Conference in November 1987 paved the way for other Arab states to restore relations with Egypt and most have now done so. In spring 1989, Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League. Founded in 1948, it has 22 member nations, and covers 14 million square kilometers.

President Mubarak has maintained the peace treaty's commitments to Israel and worked to broaden the overall Arab-Israeli peace process in the Middle East.

Many international organizations maintain headquarters or field offices in Cairo, including CARE, FAO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, Project Hope, Catholic Relief Services, American Field Service International, American Friends of the Middle East, the Ford Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission.

Arts, Science, and Education

Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the pyramids remain, still subject to speculation as to their purpose. The latest theory suggests a correlation between seven of them and the constellation Orion, with the Nile cast as the Milky Way.

Temples such as Karnak, Luxor, Philae and Abu Simbel span 5,000 years of history, beginning with the Pharaonic period 3,000-341 B.C., the Greek period 332-30 B.C. and the Roman and Byzantine period 30 B.C.-A.D. 638, which saw the rise of the Coptic Church. Then the Arab conquest introduced Islam and the Omayyads from Damascus, who remained until A.D. 750, when the Abbasids from Baghdad brought both violent change and their slaves, the Turkish Mamelukes, who would become the rulers and remain until Napoleon invaded in July 1798.

In September 1801, British and Ottoman forces drove the French out, only to come up against Mohammad Ali, an Albanian soldier serving in the Turkish Army. Leading his regiment in a rebellion over their lack of pay, subsequent conquests in Greece, Syria, Sudan, and on the Arabian peninsula led to his eventual control of the entire Ottoman Empire. This was passed on to his son and to his grandson, who sponsored the building of Egypt's railways and the Suez Canal. After them came the Pasha Ismail, who would open the Canal in 1869 and declare independence in 1873, but lose it all in 1879, a victim of foreign debts and international events. The British took control again and remained until 1952 while establishing a constitutional monarchy with an elected king, Fuad I, in 1922.

Each period brought new monuments and changes to the old.

Because of the preserving climate of Egypt and its unchanging nature, these ruins are world renowned. The most famous of all the extant treasures came from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, who had reigned for only 9 years, 1361-1352 B.C. Discovered in A.D. 1922, virtually undisturbed in the Valley of the Kings, these tributes are now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The cultural capital of the Arab world, Cairo has two dozen museums. The Egyptian, Coptic and Islamic Arts Museums each present an array of masterpieces. More esoteric collections include the geologic, railway and post office, and agricultural, military and carriage museums. Fine art exhibitions are sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and many private organizations. In addition to four art museums, the Ministry administers four historic buildings, in which artists and artisans have studios.

The Cairo Opera House is a part of a $30 million cultural complex which includes the Museum of Modern Arts. It was opened in 1988 on Gezira Island, 17 years after a fire had destroyed its predecessor in the downtown Opera Square. Egyptian ballet, choir, dance, opera, and symphony performances in the three theaters alternate with offerings by touring companies and a puppet show. The latest season drew about 150,000 people to 462 performances.

The Academy of the Arabic Language and l'Institute d'Egypte, the latter established by the French administration in 1798, are both located in Cairo, as are newer research institutes and specialized libraries spanning all fields.

Egypt has over a dozen state-run universities. Five are in the Cairo area. The oldest university in the world, Al-Azhar, was founded in A.D. 970 in a mosque being built near the then-new eastern wall. It is still the center of Moslem theology.

Ayn Shams University was founded in 1950 in the Zafaran Palace in the Abbasiyya area. It took over a space vacated by the Egyptian University, which became Cairo University after it was reconstituted with 11 faculties in the Giza area.

The American University in Cairo is a private enterprise, close by the Embassy, on the east side of al-Tahrir Square.

The University of Maryland has an extension program offering a few evening courses in 8-week-long terms and a few shorter term seminars on Egyptian subjects.

Cairo American College, a private, co-educational day school in Maadi, serves students from kindergarten through grade 12 and is covered in detail in the Education section.

Commerce and Industry

The Government of Egypt is in the midst of a major economic reform program, contending with the legacy of a socialist past, when the state controlled internal and external trade and industry. Reforms initially began in the mid-1970's with President Anwar Sadat's "Open Door" policies. The pace of reform quickened in mid-1991 when, by agreements with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the donor nations, Egypt began implementing a comprehensive economic reform and structural adjustment program.

Significant progress in stabilizing the economy and encouraging private initiative has been made. The program is predicated on dismantling the inefficient public sector, with support in the form of international debt relief from the Paris Club donor community as well as substantial financial assistance.

By the end of 1993, the program showed striking results. Foreign reserves (which had been minimal) exceeded $16 billion, the equivalent of 1½ years of imports. Controlled government spending and new revenue measures reduced the budget deficit from double digits to 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Inflation dropped to 11 percent at the consumer level, and interest rates drifted downward. In recent years the country has seen inflation as low as 3 percent and has experienced annual growth near 5 percent.

Potentially Egypt is a large consumer market. Job creation is minimal for the half-million annual entrants to the labor market and is growing even less rapidly with problems such as material shortages, restrictive labor laws, and insufficient legal protection.

With good resources, a low-cost labor force and an ever-improving infrastructure of communication, transportation, and education, the Government of Egypt has begun to concentrate on such structural reform issues as privatization, deregulation coupled with the imposition of new, free enterprise-oriented regulations and trade/tariff liberalization.

About 29 percent of the labor force works in agriculture, 22 percent in industry and commerce, and 49 percent in services.

While one of the world's leading producers of high-quality, long-staple cotton, Egypt imports cotton for domestic purposes. Other important crops are rice, wheat, corn, cane and beet sugar, citrus fruits, and vegetables of all kinds. Also important are dairy and beef cattle, sheep, and a fishing industry.

Domestic industry ranges from food processing and textiles and light industry, which includes vehicle assembly, to heavy industry, including aluminum and steel. Phosphates, salt, iron, sulfur, gold, manganese and limestone are other natural resources.

Private-sector factories, particularly those in textiles, wearing apparel, foods and other consumer goods, are becoming increasingly important, both domestically and as exporters. The traditional pillars of foreign-exchange revenue have remained the same for decades: remittances from the 2.5 million Egyptians working abroad, Suez Canal fees, petroleum exports and tourism, which was the top source of foreign exchange until the sector was affected by global economic problems and terrorism.

The remittance from each overseas worker is estimated to amount to 2,000 LE ($600) annually.

The Suez Canal was opened in 1869, but only since 1957 has it been controlled by Egypt. Ships in transit paid $1.7 billion in fees in 2001.

In 1913, oil was discovered. The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation now controls the industry through 200 concession and revenue-sharing agreements covering 125,000 square kilometers. Crude oil reserves are estimated by the Ministry of Petroleum at 4.5 billion barrels. In 1993, the value of petroleum exports reached $1.8 billion, a 12.5 percent annualized growth rate over 1992.

Natural gas production is increasing as it becomes more widely used. Proven reserves are 15 trillion cubic feet with an equivalent amount estimated to be available. A developing a gas export market aids in current and future economic growth.

Tourists have come to Egypt for eons and the country is well served now by airlines and hotels. An extensive industry has developed to service both the energetic traveller, wanting sun, scuba dives and camel rides and the lethargic, settling for a floating hotel decorated in neo-Victorian fashion, considering Neolithic sites between Sybaritic meals.

Banking reforms now encourage foreign investments and further the goal of privatization.

Egypt is committed to economic cooperation with the U.S. and over 50 U.S. joint venture factories already exist. Others are planned. More than 200 U.S. firms have offices and at least 1,800 others have agents and distributors. "Free Zones" have been created in Nasr City, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia, Safaga, and Alexandria.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, established in 1983, has become the largest business interest group in the Middle East. It is a branch of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Imports from the U.S. were worth about $1.2 billion in 2000, down from $3 billion in 1992.

Egypt's exports to the U.S. were worth $608 million in 2000, up from recent years.

At the annual Cairo International Fair, the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service sponsors a Pavilion. It also offers the specialized "Gold Key" appointment/market consultation service and programs to introduce U.S. suppliers to potential customers and representatives.

Major USAID projects have modernized the telephone and power generation sectors, installed water and waste water systems in cities and developed agriculture and villages.

A current project concerns the Aswan High Dam, which has controlled the annual flood of the Nile since 1972 and reclaimed over 1 million acres of land. With 12 turbines, it can produce 2,100 megawatts of electricity a year and perennial irrigation. But it also restricts the downstream passage of crocodiles and the rich soil, which had been distributed to the delta area.

Transportation

Local

Using Cairo's black-and-white taxis effectively requires some basic Arabic phrases and practice as well as a fatalistic attitude. If going to an area you do not know well, a map may help both you and the driver, who won't have one.

During rush hours, a taxi may be shared, reducing an individual's fare. Negotiating the fare is best done before the trip. Although taxis have meters, the official rate is so low, the obligation to pay something realistic is clear. Other variables are your familiarity with the city, the driver's demeanor and the taxi's physical attributes. Its age and size count. While newer, larger taxis command higher fares, the cost is very reasonable, much less than in the U.S.

Persons under 18 years of age are not allowed to drive cars or motorcycles. Accidents involving unlicensed motorcyclists have caused problems in the past and strained relations. Bicycles can be used in the suburbs and may be shipped with household effects. The most practical and safest is a heavy-duty model with a horn, light, and reflectors.

The Cairo Metro is a light rail system, partly underground. One line is now running from al-Marg in the north through the center of the city to Maadi and on to Helwan. Future lines will cross the Nile to Giza and Imbaba and connect Shubra al-Kheima in the north with Salah Salim in the east. Although the Metro may be used between Maadi residences and the offices near el-Tahrir Square and outside of rush hours is perhaps the most relaxing way to get north or south, it has done little to ease traffic congestion. Though the traffic police are becoming more stern with both pedestrians and drivers, the streets remain chaotic. Getting across or along one becomes a test of nerve, wit and patience. Flocks of sheep, donkey carts, broken-down vehicles and horn-blasting buses, trucks, taxis and private cars are just some of the usual obstacles facing drivers and pedestrians. Broken or missing sidewalks encourage most people to walk in the streets. Other difficulties are nonexistent signs or signs written only in Arabic, confusing traffic patterns and undisciplined driving techniques.

Regional

Alexandria and Cairo are connected by both the Western Desert Highway, a high-speed toll road and the busier Delta Road. Buses take 31/2 hours, with a rest stop. A non-stop Turbino train takes just over 2 hours but the required seat reservations can only be made for the outbound trip. The return trip must be booked at the destination.

Travel by ship from Alexandria to Crete and Athens, Bari, and Venice by Adriatica liners was suspended in spring 1994, when advance bookings failed to materialize. This luxury passenger and car ferry service is expected to resume in more prosperous times.

Air Sinai, Egypt Air and ZAS Airlines serve these domestic destinations: Abu Simbel, Alexandria, Aswan, Hurghada, Luxor, the New Valley development at Kharga Oasis, and Sharm el Sheikh.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

With new equipment going into service, completing local calls is becoming more routine. But in many areas pulse-style telephones are still required and Touch Tone signals ignored.

Most large hotels have business centers open to the public. The country code for direct dialing Egypt is 20. The city code for Cairo is 2, for Alexandria, 3.

Radio and TV

The Voice of America and the BBC's World Service programming are carried periodically on a variety of radio frequencies while CNN International, MTV and NBC's Super Channel programming are available 24 hours daily with cable service, available at prices comparable to U.S. rates.

Cairo has three government-controlled TV channels, which operate in color at varying times during the day and evening. Although most programs are in Arabic, newscasts are presented daily in English and French. A satellite ground station transmits live coverage of events from around the world. Some American TV series and old movies are shown in English, with Arabic subtitles.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The E-Mart sells the Stars and Stripes, Federal Times, and USA Today newspapers and a variety of periodicals, ranging from comic books to Foreign Affairs journals, plus paperbacks and travel guides.

The International Herald Tribune is available at local outlets 1-4 days after its publication date.

Local newsletters include the Maadi Messenger ; Cairo American College's monthly, Cairo-Glyphics and the HelioScope.

Publications in English and other languages are sold at hotels and from street kiosks. Egypt Today is a glossy monthly magazine, whose articles, ads and listings may be useful. The bookstores of the American University in Cairo (AUC) carry English-language fiction and non-fiction titles and put them on sale twice a year, including photo books. But prices are high, more like Europe than the U.S. To save money, you may wish to subscribe to magazines and order books via clubs or through a publisher's mail order service.

Many of the books published in the Arab world come from Egypt's major publishing houses. The AUC Press represents Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Born in Cairo in 1911, he was cited for his "Arabic narrative art."

Cairo has four major Arabic-language daily newspapers and two in English: The Egyptian Mail and The Egyptian Gazette. The AlAhram Weekly, an English language off-shoot of a major Arabic daily, appears every Thursday.

Libraries

The American Cultural Center at 4 Ahmed Ragheb Street in the Garden City area is a U.S. Information Service facility. The library and the film and video programs are intended to help foreign nationals plan trips to the U.S.

The Development Information Center Library is located at Cairo Center, on the sixth floor of the building where USAID has its offices. Managed by the Program Project Support Directorate, there are more than 9,000 documents in hard copy format and over 80,000 microfiched works, emphasizing development activities.

The American Research Center's (ARCE) library is close by, at 2 Midan Qasr el-Dubaraji (also known as Simon Bolivar Square). The library of the American University in Cairo has over 100,000 volumes, but not for circulation.

The British Council's library is at 192 Sharia el-Nil, on the west bank of the river, in Agouza. Since economics forced the focus to change from cultural activities to technology tutoring at a fee, public access, acquisitions, and services have been curtailed, and this traditional resource in foreign capitals seems headed for extinction.

Maadi residents may use the libraries of the Cairo American College and the Community Services Association, closer to home.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Emergency and some elective cases can be handled locally. The As-Salam International Hospital on the Corniche el-Nil, between downtown and Maadi, is recommended for emergencies.

While there are many physicians, surgeons, dentists and a variety of medical specialists in Cairo, the quality of care provided varies greatly.

Community Health

Standards of health and cleanliness in Cairo are well below those in the U.S. Tuberculosis, rabies and such waterborne diseases as bacillary dysentery, hepatitis A, and schistosomiasis are prevalent.

Preventive Measures

Staying healthy means taking precautions and considering preventive measures. Cairo's high level of dust and air pollution, worsened by the continuing use of leaded gas, can play havoc with an individual's bronchial system. Persons prone to asthmatic and respiratory diseases, animal and dust allergies, and hay fever may experience difficulties. Bring medications which work for you and consider getting an air purifier.

The high concentration of airborne particles may lead to eye irritation for those who wear contact lenses. It is prudent to bring a backup pair of regular eye glasses and an extra pair as the opticians are expensive. Limited supplies of contact lens treatments are available.

Flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects are prevalent, but controllable with screened windows and insect repellent. Garbage and trash, often uncollected, attract numerous flies. This fact, combined with inadequate refrigeration, requires careful preparation of meals in the home and discretion in selecting restaurants.

Cairo's water supply is considered safe only when it first leaves filtration plants. The distribution system is antiquated and many possibilities for contamination exist. To avoid possible infection, all water should be boiled and filtered, including that used for ice cubes. Water filters are provided in government-owned and-leased housing.

Locally bottled water is generally safe but fresh dairy products are not, because pasteurization is not a uniform process locally. Long-life and powdered milks are sold at some local stores.

All immunizations recommended by the Department of State should be taken prior to arrival. These include typhoid, polio, gamma globulin, tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis B, yellow fever and the usual childhood vacci-nations: measles, mumps and rubella. In addition, the pre-expo-sure rabies vaccination series (diploid cell immunization) should be taken, if possible, before arrival at post. Meningococcal meningitis vaccine is also recommended.

If you have a medical problem requiring special or long-term medications, bring your own supply.

Traffic accidents are probably the biggest danger you face. Violent crimes are rare but pickpockets, working at the tourist attractions, including the mosques, can cause injuries. Sports-related accidents also happen. Baseball games and horseback riding on rock-strewn trails have produced some serious ones.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Each traveler must have a valid diplomatic or official passport, Egyptian visa and international immunization certificate. Everyone must show evidence of a valid cholera immunization at least five days, but not more than six months, before arrival. Travelers from yellow fever areas must have had yellow fever shots at least eight days before arrival. These rules are enforced and anyone arriving without proper immunization records may be quarantined.

Egypt has no quarantine restrictions for pets. Dogs and cats entering the country must have proof of a valid rabies shot given within the year and a certificate of good health authorized by a licensed veterinarian within the two weeks before arrival. These documents should accompany the pet which, ideally, accompanies you. Ask about preferential airline rates for accompanied pets.

The currency denomination is the Egyptian Pound (marked L.E.), which is comprised of 100 piasters (PT). A piaster contains 10 millemes, which are rarely quoted and physically extinct. The dollar was worth about L.E. 3.84 in January 2001.

Five and ten-piasters coins are in use although change in those amounts is not always given. An old 20-piasters coin is occasionally seen. A new coin, with a distinctive hole in the middle, is beginning to replace the short-lived 25-piaster banknotes. Coins are replacing the 50-piaster and the one-pound banknotes. New fifty and hundred L.E. banknotes have been introduced to accompany the fives, tens and twenties.

In Egypt the metric system of weights and measures is used. Land is measured by the feddan, which is 1.038 acres or 45,215.28 sq. ft. or .4152 hectares. The Nile flows from south to north across 1030 kilometers or 640 miles.

Egypt is in the Greenwich Mean Time +2 hours zone, seven hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern Standard Time zone. Summer time, GMT+3, is observed from May 1st until October 1st.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 7 Christmas (Coptic)

Mar. 8 Revolution of Mar. 8

Apr/May Easter*

Apr/May Sham al Nessim (first day of Spring/Easter Monday)*

Apr. 26 Sinai Liberation Day

May 1 Labor Day

June 18 Evacuation Day

July 23 National Revolution Day

Aug. Wafa'a el Nil (the flooding of the Nile)*

Sept. 11/12 Coptic New Year*

Oct. 6 Armed Forces Day

Oct. 24 Popular Resistance Day

Ramadan*

Id al-Fitr*

Id al-Adha*

Muharram*

Mawlid al Nabi*

Waqf al-Arafa*

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

These titles are provided as an indication of the range of material recently published on Egypt. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Reference

Berlitz Travel Guide: Egypt. New York: Macmillan, 1989.

Blue Guide: Egypt. Veronica Seton-Williams and Peter Stocks. A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd.: London. 3rd edition, 1993.

Egypt & the Sudan. Scott Wayne and Damien Simonis. Lonely Planet Publications: Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. 3rd ed., 1994.

Egyptian Museum, The Cairo: A Brief Description of the Principal Monuments. Egyptian Antiquities Organization: Cairo, 1992.

Fodor's Egypt 1991. New York:McKay, 1990.

Reader's Guide to Egypt, A. School of Area Studies, Foreign Service Institute, Department of State: Washington DC, 1992.

Yellow Pages: Cairo Classified (Advertising) Business Directory. Egypt Yellow Pages Ltd., a Bell Canada Co.: New Maadi, 1993.

General

Bauval, Robert and Gilbert, Adrian. The Orion Mystery. Heinemann: London, 1994.

Bohm, Dorothy. Egypt. New York:Thames Hudson, 1989.

Bruun, Bertel and Baha el Din, Sherif. Common Birds of Egypt. AUC Press: Revised, illustrated edition. Cairo, 1990.

Bunson, Margaret. The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File, 1991.

Canby, Courtlandt. Guide to the Archaeological Sites of Israel, Egypt & North Africa. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Cultural Guide to Egypt. Cincinnati, OH: Seven Hills Book Distributors, 1990.

David, A. Rosalie. The Egyptian Kingdoms. New York: P. Bedrick Books, 1990.

Egypt. Visitors Guides Series. Edison, NJ: Hunter Pub NY, 1990.

El Mahdy, Christine. The World of the Pharaohs: A Complete Guide to Ancient Egypt. New York: Thames Hudson, 1989.

Essential Egypt. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co., 1990.

Glubb, John Bagot. Soldiers of Fortune: The Story of the Mamelukes. Hodder: London, 1972.

Goldschmidt, Arthur, Jr. Modern Egypt: The Formation of a Nation State. New York: Westview Press, 1988.

Grant, Neil. How They Lived: The Egyptians. New York: BDD Promotional Book Co., 1990.

Greenberg, Michael and Jerry. Red Sea Fishwatcher's Field Guide. Seahawk Press: Miami, 1982.

Hewison, R. Neil. The Fayoum: a Practical Guide. AUC Press: Revised edition. Cairo, 1986.

Hobson, Christine. Exploring the World of the Pharaohs: a guide to ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson: London, reprinted 1991.

Humphries, Andrew. Cairo Walks. The Palm Press: Cairo, 1994.

Lamb, David. The Arabs: Journeys Beyond the Mirage. Random House: New York, 1987.

Lane, Mary Ellen. Guide to the Antiquities of the Fayoum. AUC Press, Cairo, 1985.

Lorenz, Joseph P. Egypt & the Arabs: Foreign Policy & the Search for National Identity. New York: Westview Press, 1990.

Mahfouz, Naguib. The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street. AUC Press, Cairo, 1990-1992.

Makar, Ragal N. Egypt. World Bibliographical Series, no. 86. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1988.

Miller, E. Willard, and Ruby M. Miller. The Third WorldEgypt: A Bibliography. Monticello, IL: Vance Biblios, 1990.

Moorehead, Alan. The Blue Nile. Reprinted with illustrations. Penguin Books: London, 1983. (also see: The While Nile )

Morkot, Robert. Egypt. Secaucus, NJ: Book Sales Inc., 1989.

Parker, Richard B. and Robin Sabin. The Islamic Monuments of Cairo. Revised by Caroline Williams. AUC Press: Cairo, 1985.

Odijk, Pamela. The Egyptians. Ancient World Series. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1989.

Oliphant, Margaret. The Egyptian World. New York: Watts, 1989.

Patai, Raphael. The Arab Mind. Macmillan: New York, revised 1983.

Peters, Elizabeth. The Mummy Case. A Tor Book: New York, 1986. (also see: Crocodile on the Sandbank, Curse of the Pharaohs and The Last Camel Died at Noon.

Porter, Eliot. Monuments of Egypt. Albuquerque, NM: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1990.

Rodenbeck, Max and Rossi, Guido Alberto. Egypt from the Air. Thames and Hudson: London, 1991. (Photographs)

Rubin, Barry. Islamic Fundamentalism in Egyptian Politics. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990.

Spence, Lewis. Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends. Dover Books: New York, 1990.

Spence, Lewis. Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends. Dover Books: New York, 1990.

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EGYPT

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Arab Republic of Egypt

PROFILE
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
NATIONAL SECURITY
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 1,001,450 sq. km. (386,000 sq. mi.); approximately equal to Texas and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Cairo (pop. estimated at 16 million). Other cities—Alexandria (6 million), Aswan, Asyut, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia.

Terrain: Desert, except Nile valley and delta.

Climate: Dry, hot summers; moderate winters.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Egyptian(s).

Population: (2002) 70.7 million.

Annual growth rate: (2002) 1.8%.

Ethnic groups: Egyptian, Bedouin Arab, Nubian.

Religions: Sunni Muslim 90%, Coptic Christian.

Languages: Arabic (official), English, French.

Education: Years compulsory—ages 6-15. Literacy—total adult: 57%

Health: Infant mortality rate (2001)—35/1,000. Life expectancy (2002—68.9 yrs.


Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: 1922.

Constitution: 1971.

Branches: Executive—president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative—People's Assembly (444 elected and 10 presidentially appointed members) and Shura (consultative) Council (176 elected members, 88 presidentially appointed). Judicial—Supreme Constitutional Court.

Administrative subdivisions: 26 governorates.

Principal political parties: National Democratic Party (ruling). Principal opposition parties—Wafd Party, Liberal Party, National Progressive Unionist Grouping (Tagam-mau), and Nasserite Party. Suffrage: Universal at 18.


Economy

GDP: (FY 2002-03) $78.7 billion.

Annual growth rate: (FY 2002-03) 2.5%.

Per capita GDP: (2001-02) $1,470.

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

Agriculture: Products—cotton, rice, onions, beans, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, barley, sugar.

Industry: Types—food processing, textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals, construction, light manufacturing, iron and steel products, aluminum, cement, military equipment.

Trade: (FY 2001-02) Exports—$6.6 billion: petroleum, clothing and textiles, cotton, fruits and vegetables, manufactu red goods. Major markets—EU, U.S., Middle East, Japan. Imports—$14.6 billion: machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, livestock, food and beverages, paper and wood products, chemicals. Major suppliers—EU, U.S., Japan.


PEOPLE AND HISTORY

Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the second-most populous on the African Continent. Nearly all of the country's 70 million people live in Cairo and Alexandria; elsewhere on the banks of the Nile; in the Nile delta, which fans out north of Cairo; and along the Suez Canal. These regions are among the world's most densely populated, contai ning an average of over 3,820 persons per square mile (1,540 per sq. km.), as compared to 181 persons per sq. mi. for the country as a whole.


Small communities spread throughout the desert regions of Egypt are clustered around oases and historic trade and transportation routes. The government has tried with mixed success to encourage migration to newly irrigated land reclaimed from the desert. However, the proportion of the population living in rural areas has continued to decrease as people move to the cities in search of employment and a higher standard of living.


The Egyptians are a fairly homogeneous people of Hamitic origin. Mediterranean and Arab influences appear in the north, and there is some mixing in the south with the Nubians of northern Sudan. Ethnic minorities include a small number of Bedouin Arab nomads in the eastern and western deserts and in the Sinai, as well as some 50,000-100,000 Nubians clustered along the Nile in Upper (southern) Egypt.


The literacy rate is about 57% of the adult population. Education is free through university and compulsory from ages six through 15. Rates for primary and secondary education have strengthened in recent years. Ninety-three percent of children enter primary school and about one-quarter drop out after the sixth year; in 1994-95, 87% entered primary school and about half dropped out after the sixth year. Major universities include Cairo University (100,000 students), Alexandria University, and the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University, one of the world's major centers of Islamic learning.


Egypt's vast and rich literature constitutes an important cultural element in the life of the country and in the Arab world as a whole. 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. Egyptian novel ist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arab to win the Nobel prize for literature. Egyptian books and films are available throughout the Middle East.


Egypt has endured as a unified state for more than 5,000 years, and archeological evidence indicates that a developed Egyptian society has existed for much longer. Egyptians take pride in their "pharaonic heritage" and in their descent from what they consider mankind's earliest civilization. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr, which originally connoted "civilization" or "metropolis."

Archeological findings show that primitive tribes lived along the Nile long before the dynastic history of the pharaohs began. By 6000 B.C., organized agriculture had appeared.


In about 3100 B.C., Egypt was united under a ruler known as Mena, or Menes, who inaugurated the 30 pharaonic dynasties into which Egypt's ancient history is divided—the Old and the Middle Kingdoms and the New Empire. The pyramids at Giza (near Cairo), which were built in the fourth dynasty, testify to the power of the pharaonic religion and state. The Great Pyramid, the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops), is the only surviving monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial extent in the period called the New Empire (1567-1085 B.C.).


Persian, Greek, Roman, and Arab Conquerors

In 525 B., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, led a Persian invasion force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty. The country remained a Persian province until conquered by Alexander the Great in 322 BC, ushering in Ptolemeic rule Egypt that lasted for nearly 300 years.


Following a brief Persian reconquest, Egypt was invaded and conquered by Arab forces in 642. A process of Arabization and Islamization ensued. Although a Coptic Christian minority remained—and remains today, constituting about 10% of the population—the Arab language inexorably supplanted the indigenous Coptic tongue. For the next 1,300 years, a succession of Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled the country.


European Influence

The Ottoman Turks controlled Egypt from 1517 until 1882, except for a brief period of French rule under Napoleon Bona parte. In 1805, Mohammed Ali, commander of an Albanian contingent of Ottoman troops, was appointed Pasha, founding the dynasty that ruled Egypt until his great-great grandson, Farouk I, was overthrown in 1952. Mohammed Ali the Great ruled Egypt until 1848, writing the first chapter in the modern history of Egypt. The growth of modern urban Cairo began in the reign of Ismail (1863-79). Eager to Westernize the capital, he ordered the construction of a European-style city to the west of the medieval core. The Suez Canal was completed in his reign in 1869, and its completion was celebrated by many events, including the commissioning of Verdi's "Aida" for the new opera house and the building of great palaces such as the Omar Khayyam (originally constructed to entertain the French Empress Eugenie, which is now the central section of the Cairo Marriott Hotel).

In 1882, British expeditionary forces crushed a revolt against the Ottoman rulers, marking the beginning of British occupation and the virtual inclusion of Egypt within the British Empire. In deference to growing nationalism, the U.K. unilaterally declared Egyptian independence in 1922. British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt's political life and fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms.


In the pre-1952 revolution period, three political forces competed with one another: the Wafd, a broadly based nationalist political organization strongly opposed to British influence; King Fuad, whom the British had installed during World War II; and the British themselves, who were determined to maintain control over the Canal. Other political forces emerging in this period included the communist party (1925) and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928), which eventually became a potent political and religious force.


During World War II, British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied operations throughout the region. British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow after the war. On July 22-23, 1952, a group of disaffected army officers (the "free officers") led by Lt.

Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, they abrogated the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on June 19, 1953. Nasser evolved into a charismatic leader, not only of Egypt, but the Arab world, promoting and implementing "Arab socialism." He nationalized Egypt's economy.

Nasser helped establish the Nonaligned Movement of developing countries in September 1961, and continued to be a leading force in the movement until his death in 1970. When the United States held up military sales in reaction to Egyptian neutrality vis-a-vis Moscow, Nasser concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia in September 1955.


When the U.S. and the World Bank withdrew their offer to help finance the Aswan High Dam in mid-1956, Nasser nationalized the privately owned Suez Canal Company. The crisis that followed, exacerbated by growing tensions with Israel over guerrilla attacks from Gaza and Israeli reprisals, resulted in the invasion of Egypt that October by France, Britain, and Israel.

Nasser's domestic policies were arbitrary and frequently oppressive, yet generally popular. All opposition was stamped out, and opponents of the regime frequently were imprisoned without trial. Nasser's foreign and military policies helped provoke the Israeli attack of June 1967 that virtually destroyed Egypt's armed forces along with those of Jordan and Syria. Israel also occupied the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Nasser, nonetheless, was revered by the masses in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world until his death in 1970.


After Nasser's death, another of the original "free officers," Vice President Anwar el-Sadat, was elected President. In 1971, Sadat concluded a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union, but a year later, ordered Soviet advisers to leave. In 1973, he launched the October war with Israel, in which Egypt's armed forces achieved initial successes but were defeated in Israeli counterattacks.


Camp David and the Peace Process

In a momentous change from the Nasser era, President Sadat shifted Egypt from a policy of confrontation with Israel to one of peaceful accommodation through negotiations. Following the Sinai Disen gagement Agreements of 1974 and 1975, Sadat created a fresh opening for progress by his dramatic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. This led to President Jimmy Carter's invitation to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to join him in trilateral negotiations at Camp David.


The outcome was the historic Camp David accords, signed by Egypt and Israel and witnessed by the U.S. on September 17, 1978. The accords led to the March 26, 1979, signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, by which Egypt regained control of the Sinai in May 1982. Throughout this period, U.S.-Egyptian relations steadily improved, but Sadat's willingness to break ranks by making peace with Israel earned him the enmity of most other Arab states.

Domestic Change

Sadat introduced greater political freedom and a new economic policy, the most important aspect of which was the infitah or "open door." This relaxed government controls over the economy and encouraged private, including foreign, investment. Sadat dismantled much of the existing political machine and brought to trial a number of former government officials accused of criminal excesses during the Nasser era.


Liberalization also included the reinstitution of due process and the legal banning of torture. Sadat tried to expand participation in the political process in the mid-1970s but later abandoned this effort. In the last years of his life, Egypt was racked by violence arising from discontent with Sadat's rule and sectarian tensions, and it experienced a renewed measure of repression.


From Sadat to Mubarak

On October 6, 1981, Islamic extremists assassinated President Sadat. Hosni Mubarak, Vice President since 1975 and air force commander during the October 1973 war, was elected President later that month. He was subsequently confirmed by popular referendum for three more 6-year terms, most recently in September 1999. Mubarak has maintained Egypt's commitment to the Camp David peace process, while at the same time re-establishing Egypt's position as an Arab leader. Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League in 1989. Egypt also has played a moderating role in such international fora as the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement.


Since 1991, Mubarak has overseen an ambitious domestic economic reform program to reduce the size of the public sector and expand the role of the private sector. There has been less progress in political reform. The November 2000 People's Assembly elections saw 34 members of the opposition win seats in the 454-seat assembly, facing a clear majority of 388 ultimately affiliated with the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). The opposition parties have been weak and divided and are not yet credible alternatives to the NDP. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, remains an illegal organization and is not recognized as a political party (current Egyptian law prohibits the formation of political parties based on religion). Members are known publicly and openly speak their views, although they do not explicitly identify themselves as members of the organization. Members of the Brotherhood have been elected to the People's Assembly and local councils as independents. While concern remains that economic problems could promote increasing dissatisfaction with the government, President Mubarak enjoys broad support.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

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 16 other legally recognized parties.


The November 2000 elections were generally considered to have been more transparent and better executed than past elections, because of universal judicial monitoring of polling stations. On the other hand, opposition parties continue to lodge credible complaints about electoral manipulation by the government. There are significant restrictions on the political process and freedom of expression for non-governmental organizations, including professional syndicates and organizations promoting respect for human rights.


Egypt's judicial system is based on European (primarily French) legal concepts and methods. Under the Mubarak government, the courts have demonstrated increasing independence, and the principles of due process and judicial review have gained greater respect. The legal code is derived largely from the Napoleonic Code. Marriage and personal status (family law) are primarily based on the religious law of the individual concerned, which for most Egyptians is Islamic Law (Sharia).


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 5/29/02


President: Mubarak, Mohammed Hosni

Prime Minister: Ebeid, Atef Mohamed

Dep. Prime Min.: Wally, Youssef Amin

Min. of Agriculture & Land Reclamation: Wally, Youssef Amin

Min. of Awqaf (Religious Affairs): Zaqzouq, Mahmoud Hamdy

Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Nazif, Ahmed Mahmoud Mohamed

Min. of Construction, Housing, & New Urban Communities: Soliman, Mohamed Ibrahim

Min. of Culture: Hosni, Farouq

Min. of Defense & Military Production: Tantawi, Mohamed Hussein, Fd. Mar.

Min. of Education: Baha al-Din, Hussein Kamel

Min. of Electricity & Energy: Ahmed Younis, Hassan

Min. of Environment: Riyadh Tadros, Mamdouh

Min. of Finance: Hassanein, Muhammad Medhat

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Maher, Ahmed

Min. of Foreign Trade: Boutros-Ghali, Youssef

Min. of Health & Population: El Din, Mohammad Awad Tag, Dr.

Min. of Higher Education: Shehab, Moufed Mahmoud

Min. of Industry & Technology Development: al-Saidi, Ali

Min. of Information: Sherif, Mohamed Safwat El-

Min. of Insurance & Social Affairs: Guindi, Amina El-

Min. of Interior: Adli, Habib El-

Min. of Justice: Seif al-Nasr, Farouq

Min. of Manpower & Immigration: Amawy, Ahmed El-

Min. of Petroleum: Fahmy, Sameh

Min. of Planning: Mohammed Othman, Othman

Min. of Public Business Sector: Khattab, Mokhtar

Min. of Supply & Internal Trade: Khedr, Hassan Ali

Min. of Tourism: Beltagui, Mamdouh El-

Min. of Transport: Demeri, Ibrahim El-

Min. of Water Resources & Irrigation: Abu Zeid, Mahmoud Abd al-Halim

Min. of Youth: Dessouki, Ali al-Din Hillal

Min. of State for Administrative Development: Abu Amer, Mohamed Zaki

Min. of State for Environment Affairs: Ebeid, Nadia Riad Makram

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs: Aboul Naga, Fayza

Min. of State for International Cooperation: Dersh, Ahmed Mahrus El-

Min. of State for Local Development: Abdel Qader, Mustafa

Min. of State for Military Production: Mesh'al, Sayrd

Min. of State for People's Assembly & Consultative Council Affairs: Shazly, Kamal El-

Min. of State for Scientific Research: Shehab, Moufed Mahmoud

Governor, Central Bank: Aboul Eyoun, Mahmoud

Ambassador to the US: Fahmy, Nabil

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Aboul Gheit, Ahmed Ali



Egypt maintains an embassy in the United States at 3521 International Court N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008 (tel. 202-895-5400). The Washington consulate has the same address (tel. 202-966-6342). The Egyptian Mission to the United Nations is located at 304 East 44th Street, New York, N.Y. (tel. 212-305-0300). Egyptian consulates general are located at: 1110 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10022 (tel. 212-759-7120); 1990 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 2180, Houston, TX, 77056 (tel. 713-961-4915); 500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1900, Chicago, IL, 60611 (tel. 312-828-9162); and 3001 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94115 (tel. 415-346-9700).


NATIONAL SECURITY

Egypt's armed forces, among the largest in the region, include the army, air defense, air force, and navy. The armed forces inventory includes equipment from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, and China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt. To bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states. Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner of the United States.


ECONOMY

Under comprehensive economic reforms initiated in 1991, Egypt has relaxed many price controls, reduced subsidies, and partially liberalized trade and investment. Manufacturing is still dominated by the public sector, which controls most heavy industry. A process of public sector reform and privatization, that began in the mid-1990s and moved substantial public sector assets into private sector hands, has slowed since the year 2000. Agriculture, mainly in private hands, has been largely deregulated, with the exception of cotton and sugar production. Construction, nonfinancial services, and domestic marketing are largely private. This has promoted a steady increase of GNP and the annual growth rate. Among Arab countries, Egypt's GDP is second only to Saudi Arabia's. However, the Egyptian economy relies heavily on tourist, oil and gas, and Suez Canal revenues, all of which are vulnerable to outside factors. The tourism sector suffered tremendously following a terrorist attack on tourists in Luxor in October 1997, the 2000-01 Gulf War, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, affecting the economy as a whole.


Agriculture

Approximately one-third of Egyptian labor is engaged directly in farming, and many others work in the processing or trading of agricultural products. Nearly all of Egypt's agricultural production takes place in some 2.5 million hectares (6 million acres) of fertile soil in the Nile Valley and Delta. Some desert lands are being developed for agriculture, including the ambitious Tosh ka project in Upper Egypt, but some other fertile lands in the Nile Valley and Delta are being lost to urbanization and erosion.


Warm weather and plentiful water permit several crops a year. Further improvement is possible, but land is worked intensively and yields are high. Cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane, sugarbeets, onions, and beans are the principal crops. Increasingly, a few modern operations are producing fruits, vegetables and flowers, in addition to cotton, for export. While the desert hosts some large, modern farms, more commont raditional farms occupy one acre each, typically in a canal-irrigated area along the banks of the Nile. Many small farmers also have cows, water buffaloes, and chicken, although larger modern farms are becoming more important.


The United States is a major supplier of wheat, corn, and soybean products to Egypt, almost all through commercial sales. Egypt is, in fact, traditionally the U.S.'s largest market for wheat sales. U.S. agricultural sales to Egypt average $1 billion annually. U.S. food assistance programs to Egypt ended in 1992 as Egypt became more prosperous. Egypt continues to receive modest food assistance through the World Food Program and from France.

"Egypt," wrote the Greek historian Herodotus 25 centuries ago, "is the gift of the Nile." The land's seemingly inexhaustible resources of water and soil carried by this mighty river created in the Nile Valley and Delta the world's most extensive oasis. Without the Nile, Egypt would be little more than a desert wasteland.


The river carves a narrow, cultivated floodplain, never more than 20 kilometers wide, as it travels northward toward Cairo from Lake Nasser on the Sudanese border, behind the Aswan High Dam. Just north of Cairo, the Nile spreads out over what was once a broad estuary that has been filled by riverine deposits to form a fertile delta about 250 kilometers wide (150 mi.) at the seaward base and about 160 kilometers (96 mi.) from south to north.


Before the construction of dams on the Nile, particularly the Aswan High Dam (started in 1952, completed in 1970), the fertility of the Nile Valley was sustained by the water flow and the silt deposited by the annual flood. Sediment is now obstructed by the Aswan High Dam and retained in Lake Nasser. The interruption of yearly, natural fertilization and the increasing salinity of the soil has been a manageable problem resulting from the dam. The benefits remain impressive: more intensive farming on millions of acres of land made possible by improved irrigation, prevention of flood damage, and the generation of billions of low-cost kilowatt hours of electricity.


The Western Desert accounts for about two-thirds of the country's land area. For the most part, it is a massive sandy plateau marked by seven major depressions. One of these, Fayoum, was connected about 3,600 years ago to the Nile by canals. Today, it is an important irrigated agricultural area.

Natural Resources

In addition to the agricultural capacity of the Nile Valley and Delta, Egypt's natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, and iron ore. Crude oil is found primarily in the Gulf of Suez and in the Western Desert. Natural gas is found mainly in the Nile Delta, off the Mediterranean seashore, and in the Western Desert. Oil and gas accounted for approximately 7% of GDP of fiscal year 2000-01. Export of petroleum and related products amounted to $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2002-03.


Crude oil production has been in decline for several years, from a high of more than 920,000 barrels per day (BPD) in 1995 to less than 631,000 BPD. To minimize the growing domestic demand of petroleum products (about 460,000 BPD in 2001) Egypt is encouraging the production of natural gas. Over the last 5 years, production of natural gas has increased by approximately 75% to reach more than three billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) in August 2003.


Over the last 20 years, more than 217 oil and gas exploration agreements have been signed and multinational oil companies spent more than $27 billion in exploration companions. As of September 2003, crude oil reserves are now estimated at 2.8 billion barrels, and proven natural gas reserves are estimated at 58.5 trillion cubic feet (TCF) with probable additional reserves totaling another 40-60 TCF. Texas-based Apache Oil Company is the largest American invest or in Egypt, with a total investment of more than $2.0 billion since 1996.


Egypt's excess of natural gas will more than meet its domestic demand for many years to come. The Ministry of Petroleum has established expanding the Egyptian petrochemical industry and increasing exports of natural gas as its most significant strategic objectives.


Egypt and Jordan established the Eastern Gas Company to export natural gas to Jordan. Late summer 2003, Egypt began exporting gas to Jordan via a new pipeline from El Arish on Egypt's north Sinai cost to the Jordanian city of Aqaba. In the first year, gas exports to Jordan are expected to generate gross revenues of $70 million, increasing to $200 million annually by 2005 as the pipeline is extended throughout Jordan.


Transport and Communication

Transportation facilities in Egypt are centered in Cairo and largely follow the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation's 4,800-kilometer (2,800-mi.) railway network runs from Alexandria to Aswan. The well-maintained road network has expanded rapidly to over 21,000 miles, covering the Nile Valley and Delta, Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, the Sinai, and the Western oases.


Egypt Air provides reliable domestic air service to major tourist destinations from its Cairo hub, in addition to overseas routes. The Nile River system (about 1,600 km. or 1,000 mi.) and the principal canals (1,600 km.) are important locally for transportation. The Suez Canal is a major waterway of international commerce and navigation, linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Major ports are Alexandria, Port Said, and Damietta on the Mediterranean, and Suez and Safraga on the Red Sea.


Egypt has long been the cultural and informational center of the Arab world, and Cairo is the region's largest publishing and broadcasting center. There are eight daily newspapers with a total circulation of more than 2 million, and a number of monthly newspapers, magazines, and journals. The majority of political parties have their own newspapers, and these papers conduct a lively, often highly partisan, debate on public issues.


Egyptian ground-broadcast television (ETV) is government controlled and depends heavily on commercial revenue. ETV sells its specially produced programs and soap operas to the entire Arab world. In addition to Egyptian programming, the Middle East Broadcast Company, a Saudi television station transmitting from London (MBC), Arab Radio and Television (ART), Al-Jazira television, and other Gulf stations as well as Western networks such as CNN and BBC, provide access to more international programs to Egyptians who own satellite receivers.

ETV has two main channels, six regional channels, and three satellite channels. Of the two main channels, Channel I uses mainly Arabic, while Channel II is dedicated to foreigners and more cultured viewers, broadcasting news in English and French as well as Arabic.


Egyptian Satellite channels broadcast to the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. East Coast. In April 1998, Egypt launched its own satellite known as NileSat 101. Seven specialized channels cover news, culture, sports, education, entertainment, health, and drama. A second, digital satellite, Nilesat 102, was launched in August 2000. Many of its channels are rented to other stations.


Three new private satellite-based TV stations were launched in November 2001, marking a great change in Egyptian government policy. Dream TV 1 and 2 produce cultural programming, broadcast contemporary video clips and films featuring Arab and international actors, as well as soap operas; another private station focuses on business and general news. Both private channels transmit on NileSat.


Radio in Egypt almost all government controlled, using 44 short-wave frequencies, 18 medium-wave stations, and four FM stations. There are seven regional radio stations covering the country. Egyptian Radio transmits 60 hours daily overseas in 33 languages and three hundred hours daily within Egypt. In 2000, Radio Cairo introduced new specialized (thematic) channels on its FM station. So far, they include news, music, and sports. Radio enjoys more freedom than TV in its news programs, talk shows and analysis.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Geography, population, history, military strength, and diplomatic expertise give Egypt extensive political influence in the Middle East and within the Nonaligned Movement as a whole. Cairo has been a crossroads of Arab commerce and culture for millennia, and its intellectual and Islamic institutions are at the center of the region's social and cultural development.


The Arab League headquarters is in Cairo, and the Secretary General of the League is traditionally an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa is the present Secretary General of the Arab League. President Mubarak has often chaired the Organization of African Unity, which is now becoming the African Union. Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.


Egypt is a key partner in the search for peace in the Middle East and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sadat's groundbreaking trip to Israel in 1977, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty represented a fundamental shift in the politics of the region—from a strategy of confrontation to one of peace as a strategic choice. Egypt was subsequently ostracized by other Arab states and ejected from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989. Egypt played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, which, under U.S. and Russian sponsorship, brought together all parties in the region to discuss Middle East peace. This support has continued to the present, with President Mubarak often intervening personally to promote peace negotiations. In 1996, he hosted the Sharm El-Sheikh "Summit of the Peacemakers" attended by President Clinton and other world leaders. In 2000, he hosted two summits at Sharm El-Sheikh and one at Taba in an effort to resume the Camp David negotiations suspended in July of 2000, and in June 2003, Mubarak hosted President Bush for another summit on Middle East peace process.


Egypt played a key role during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis. President Mubarak helped assemble the international coalition and deployed 35,000 Egyptian troops against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. The Egyptian contingent was the third largest in the coalition forces, after the U.S. and U.K. In the aftermath of the Gulf war, Egypt signed the Damascus declaration with Syria and the Gulf states to strengthen Gulf security. Egypt continues to contribute regularly to UN peacekeeping missions, most recently in East Timor, Sierra Le one, and Liberia. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Egypt, which has itself been the target of terrorist attacks, has been a key supporter of the U.S. war against terrorists and terrorist organizations such as Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, and has supported the Iraqi Governing Council.


U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Egypt enjoy a strong and friendly relationship based on shared mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, revitalizing the Egyptian economy and strengthening trade relations, and promoting regional security. Over the years, Egypt and the United States have worked together assiduously to expand Middle East peace negotiations, hosting talks, negotiations, and the Middle East and North Africa Economic (MENA) Conference. Multinational exercises, U.S. assistance to Egypt's military modernization program, and Egypt's role as a contributor to various UN peacekeeping operations continually reinforce the U.S.-Egyptian military relationship.


An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979. U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided over $25 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt between 1975 and 2002. A shift in assistance from infrastructure, health, food supply, and agriculture toward market-based economic development, good governance, and training programs is reflected in the motto, "From Aid to Trade." The Commodity Import Program, through which USAID provides hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to enable the Egyptian private sector to import U.S. goods, remains one of the largest and most popular USA ID programs.

U.S. military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and strengthen regional security and stability. Under FMS programs, the U.S. has provided F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M-60A3 and M1A1 tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, antiaircraft missile batteries, aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment. The U.S. and Egypt also participate in combined military exercises, including deployments of U.S. troops to Egypt. Every other year, Egypt hosts Operation Bright Star, a multilateral military exercise with the U.S., and the largest military exercise in the world. Units of the U.S. 6th Fleet are regular visitors to Egyptian ports.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Cairo (E), (North Gate) 8, Kamal el-Din Salah St., Garden City • Unit 64900, APO AE 09839-4900, Tel [20] (2) 797-3300, Tel ex 93773 AMEMB UN, 23227 AMEMB UN, Fax 797-3200; ADM Fax 797-2875; COM Fax 795-8368; CON 797-2472; AID Fax 516-5659/28; PAO Fax 797-3591; DAO Fax 797-3049; AGR Fax 796-3989; LOC Fax 796-0233; OMC Fax 797-2273; ECO/POL Fax 797-2181, 797-349 1; RSO Fax 79 7-2828; LEGATT Fax 797-2932; Workweek: Sunday through Thursday.

AMB: C. David Welch
AMB OMS: Anissa A. Hanson
DCM: Gordon Gray III
ECO/POL: Michael Corbin
COM: James L. Joy
CON: Ann S. Syrett
MGT: Mary C. Pendleton
RSO: Douglas Rosenstein
GSO: Terry Leech
PAO: James Bullock
IRM: Susan H. Swart
AID: Mary Ott, Acting
DAO: COL Patrick J. Michelson, USA
FAA: Greg Joyner (res. Rome)
IRS: Fred Pablo (res. Rome)
LAB: Robert W. Merrigan
HR: Sheila Moyer
DEA: Robert O. Shannon
OMC: Guy M. Bourn
AGR: Thomas Pomeroy
LEGATT: John L. Chaddic
LOC: Laila Mulgaokar


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003


TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
October 1, 2003


Americans planning travel to Egypt should read the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement and the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov


Country Description: Egypt is a developing country with extensive facilities for tourists.


Entry Requirements: A passport and visa are required. Travelers can obtain a renewable, 30-day tourist visa at any port of entry, except at Taba and Rafah, for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Visitors arriving overland and/or those previously experiencing difficulty with their visa status in Egypt must obtain a visa prior to arrival. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements. Proof of Yellow Fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Evidence of an AIDS test is required for every one staying over 30 days. For additional entry requirements, U.S. citizens may contact:


Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Court, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 895-5400


or the Egyptian consulates at:


1110 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 759-7120


500 North Michigan Avenue, Ste. 1900
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 828-9162


1990 Post Oak Boulevard, Ste. 2180
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 961-4915 or 961-4916


3001 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-9700 or 346-9702


The Embassy of Egypt's website is http://www.embassyofegyptwashingtondc.org/.


The website for the Egyptian Embassy and Consulates in the U.S. is: http://www.egy2000.com/missionsl.htm


The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website is: http://www.mfa.gov.eg.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Egyptian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Egyptian citizens. The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens. Even if the children bear U.S. passports, immigration officials may require proof that the father approves their departure before children under the age of 21 years will be allowed to leave Egypt. Americans married to Egyptians do not need their spouse's permission to depart Egypt as long as they have a valid Egyptian visa. If a dual national resides in Egypt for extended periods, proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family I.D. card, is required. Male dual nationals who have not completed military service are not generally required to enlist in the armed forces. However, they must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before they can leave Egypt. Individuals who may be affected can inquire at an Egyptian consular office abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual Egyptian-American nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are normally treated as Egyptian citizens by the local government. The ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to such persons, therefore, is extremely limited. For additional information, please see our Dual Nationality flyer on the Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Safety and Security: The U.S. Embassy in Cairo periodically receives information concerning extremists' intentions to target American citizens or interests in Egypt. In light of this information, we urge Americans to be vigilant and exercise good security practices while in Egypt. Americans may contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for the most up-to-date information concerning the security situation in Egypt. (Please see contact information in the Registration/Embassy Information section below.)


There have been no attacks on tourists since an attack by extremists in the Upper Egypt town of Luxor in November 1997. Heightened security posture throughout Egypt, particularly since September 11, 2001, has made it more difficult for extremist groups to conduct terrorist operations. However, the threat has not been eliminated.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Inter net website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.


Restricted Areas: Those wishing to visit areas near Egypt's frontiers, including oases near the border with Libya and off-road areas in the Sinai, must obtain permission from the Travel Permits Department of the Ministry of the Interior, located at the corner of Sheikh Rihan and Nubar Streets in downtown Cairo. Travelers should be aware of the possible dangers of off-road travel. Mines left from previous conflicts remain buried in several regions of the country and have caused several deaths, including deaths of Americans. As a rule, all travelers should check with local authorities before embarking on off-road travel. Known mine field are not marked by signs, but are usually enclosed by barbed wire. Therefore, travelers should avoid areas enclosed by barbed wire. After heavy rains, which can cause flooding in desert areas and the consequent shifting of land mines, travelers should avoid driving through build-ups of sand on roadways.


Crime: The crime rate in Egypt is low. While incidents of violence are rare, purse-snatching, pick-pocketing and petty theft are not uncommon. Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa," to promote a trouble-free journey. They are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: There are many Western-trained medical professionals in Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo can provide a list of local hospitals and English-speaking physicians. Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters, particularly in tourist areas. Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Facilities outside Cairo fall short of U.S. standards. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship's doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain training. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and they are nonexistent at most other ports of call.


Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. However, persons who swim in the Nile or in canals, walk barefoot along the Nile, or drink untreated river water are at risk of exposure to bacterial infections, hepatitis, and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia). There is a low risk of exposure to exotic diseases in Egypt such as Rift Valley Fever (RVF). RVF, which flares up in parts of the country from time to time, is a mosquitoborne disease of domestic animals that can infect humans.


It is safe to eat properly prepared, thoroughly cooked meat and vegetables in tourist hotels, on Nile cruise boats, and in tourist restaurants. Eating uncooked vegetables should be avoided because it can cause diarrhea. Tap water is not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States, unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuation.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page http://travel.state.gov or autofax: (202) 647-3000.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Egypt is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor


The roads in Egypt can be hazardous, particularly at night outside major cities. Cars and trucks frequently travel at night without headlights and at a high rate of speed. There are few, if any, areas for a vehicle with mechanical problems to pull off the paved surface, and no system for warning other motorists. Wild animals can regularly be found on the roads at night. Emergency and intensive-care facilities are limited outside Cairo. Egypt is one of the world's leaders in fatal auto accidents. Traffic regulations are routinely ignored. If available, seatbelts must be worn at all times. Roads in Cairo are congested, and traffic is badly regulated. The Cairo Metro (subway) system is good, but buses and commuter microbuses are usually extremely crowded and poorly maintained. Sidewalks and pedestrian crossings are nonexistent in many areas, and drivers do not yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Egypt's driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Egyptian National Tourist Organization offices in New York at Egypt Tourist Authority, 630 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1706, New York, NY 10111; telephone (212) 332-2570 or toll-free, (877) 773-4978; Internet website: http://www.egypttourism.org; e-mail address: [email protected] or in California at Wilshire San Vicente Plaza, 8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 215, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; telephone (323) 653-8815, or in Illinois at 645 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 829, Chicago, IL telephone (312) 280-4666.


Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Egypt's civil aviation authority as Category 1 — in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Egypt's air carrier operations.


For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Egyptian customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Egypt of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, business equipment, currency, and ivory. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Egypt in Washington, D.C. or one of the Egyptian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Egyptian law allows for the imposition of duties on photographic and video equipment. However, such duties are rarely imposed, except when large quantities of photographic equipment or expensive video equipment are brought into Egypt. Persons bringing in such items should be prepared to comply with certain customs formalities.


Personal use items such as jewelry, laptop computers and electronic equipment are exempt from customs fees. However, Egyptian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Egypt of items such as computer peripherals, including printers and modems, which are subject to customs fees. For tourists, electronic equipment is annotated in their passport, and the person is required to show the same items upon exiting Egypt. For residents, a deposit, refunded upon departure, may be made in lieu of customs fees.


Commercial merchandise and samples require an import/export license issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Supply in Egypt prior to travel and should be declared upon arrival. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Egypt in Washington, D.C. or one of Egypt's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.


Travelers are not required to convert foreign currency in to Egyptian pounds or submit exchange currency statements on arrival. The maximum amount of Egyptian currency that can be brought in or taken out of Egypt is 1,000 Egyptian pounds.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Egyptian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Egypt are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. The death penalty may be imposed on any one convicted of smuggling or selling marijuana, hashish, opium, LSD, or other narcotics. Law enforcement authorities prosecute and seek fines and imprisonment in cases of possession of even small quantities of drugs.


Special Circumstances: A marriage involving a foreigner must be conducted as a civil ceremony at the local Egyptian marriage court to be considered legally binding in Egypt. Persons wishing a religious ceremony may arrange for one separately, but it is the civil ceremony that establishes the legal marriage. U.S. jurisdictions normally recognize as binding foreign marriages that are legal where they are undertaken.


A foreigner who wishes to marry in Egypt is required by the Egyptian Government to obtain from his or her Embassy a Statement of No Objection. Because there is no national registry of marriages in the United States, the U.S. Embassy cannot provide such a certification. As a result, the Egyptian Government will accept an "Affidavit of Marriage" completed by a citizen and notarized at the Embassy. Americans may execute this affidavit at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo's American Citizen Services Unit during its public hours (Sunday - Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, excluding Egyptian and U.S. public holidays). There is a fee of $30.00 or its Egyptian Pound equivalent for the affidavit, payable in cash only.


In addition, applicants must be able to document the dissolution of any previous marriage with an original copy of an official decree of divorce, authenticated by the Egyptian embassy or consulate whose consular district includes the entity (country, state, or territory, etc.) that issued the decree. Holders of a decree issued by a U.S. State may alternately submit their original to the secretary of state of the state in which it was issued, and then to the office of the Secretary of State, Department of State, in Washington. A fuller explanation of this authentication process is located at http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/ and http://travel.state.gov/authentication.html.


The Embassy cautions American citizens regarding marriage to Egyptian citizens whom they meet only briefly or only via the Internet. The Embassy has uncovered numerous cases of fraudulent intent in recent years on the part of Egyptian partners in such relationships. They have been shown to have contracted the marriage, either primarily or solely, for the purposes of obtaining access to an immigrant visa to the U.S. This is especially the case in which the parties have met only on-line. There is a common pattern in which Egyptian men will marry American women, remain in the marriage only long enough to obtain U.S. residency status or citizenship, and then divorce. We urge Americans contemplating marriage to an Egyptian citizen to become familiar with Egyptian family law (known here as personal status laws). Especially for women, their rights as both spouse and parent would be very different in Egypt from those in the U.S., as would the rights of any children resulting from the marriage (See "Children's Issues," below).


Photography Restrictions: There are restrictions on photographing military personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal. Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially sensitive structures, including embassies, other public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices. Visitors should refrain from taking photographs that include uniformed personnel.


Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Egypt are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt and obtain updated information on travel and security within Egypt. The American Citizens Services office of the U.S. Embassy is located at 5 Latin America Street, Garden City, Cairo and is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. The workweek in Egypt is Sunday through Thursday. Telephone calls are accepted from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.


The mailing address from the United States is: Consular Section, Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900. Within Egypt or from a third country, it is 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo. The main Embassy telephone number is (20)(2) 797-3300. The telephone number of the Consular Section's American Citizen Services Unit is: (20)(2) 797-2301, the fax number is (20)(2) 797-2472, and the e-mail address is [email protected] Consular information is available via the Internet at http://www.usembassy.egnet.net. Visa related inquiries should be directed by e-mail to [email protected]


Once a month, American citizen services are available at the American Center, 3 Pharana Street, Azarita, Alexandria from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Please check the Embassy website for a schedule of upcoming dates. Every five to ten weeks, American citizen services are available at the Cairo American College, Room 600, Maadi, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please check the Embassy website for dates and details of services available.


International Parental Child Abduction

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, American Citizen Services. For more information, please read the Guarding Against International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov


Disclaimer: The information contained in this flyer is intended as an introduction to the basic elements of children's issues in Egypt. It is not intended as a leg al reference. Currently there are no international or bilateral treaties in force between Egypt and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction cannot be invoked if a child is taken from the United States to Egypt, or vice versa, by one parent against the wishes of the other parent or in violation of a U.S. custody order.


Parental Kidnapping: The removal of a child by the non-custodial parent within Egypt, is not a crime in Egypt. However, the custodial parent can approach police authorities for the enforcement of a custody decree, or request that the court imposes a penalty.


Dual Nationality: Under Egyptian law, children born to an Egyptian father are considered citizens of Egypt, while children born to an Egyptian mother and a non-Egyptian father may be Egyptian citizens under limited circumstances.


Enforcement of Foreign Court Orders: A parent can request that a foreign custody order be recognized in Egypt, but enforcement will result only if the order does not contravene Sharia law and "paternal rights." Therefore, as a practical matter, foreign custody orders are not generally automatically recognized in Egypt, and the parent must seek legal representation in Egypt and file for custody in Egypt.


Jurisdiction: Egyptian Civil Courts have "legal jurisdiction" to hear child custody petitions. However, Egyptian courts base their decisions on "Islamic Sharia Law" when a custody dispute concerns a Muslim child. Thus, an Egyptian Civil Court considers a Fatwa, i.e., a ruling from an Islamic Institution, but the court in not bound by it.


Presumptive custody: Under Egyptian law, the mother is favored, which means that the mother is considered to be the appropriate custodian of children; this is based on the age and religion of the child. The criteria are as follows: Muslim children: ten years (up to 15) for boys and twelve years (or their marriage) for girls. Non-Muslim children: the age of seven years for boys and nine years for girls. Normally, if disputes arise between the parents, Egyptian courts uphold presumptive custody.


Conditions for "presumptive custody": The Egyptian Courts uphold this custody for the mother if she is a person of the "Book (Muslim, Christian or Jewish)" and if she is deemed to be a "fit" mother. If the father is Muslim, the mother must commit herself to raise the child as Muslims in Egypt. It is important to note that "the right of the father to control his children's travel outside of Egypt is in violable. Thus, a U.S. citizen mother can have custody, but be prohibited from taking her children to the U.S. Also, under Egyptian law, if the mother (Muslim or non-Muslim) remarries she will lose her claim to custody. However, this law does not apply to the father who retains custody rights if he re-marries.


Order of preference for non-parental custody: When the mother loses presumptive custody due to remarriage, death orinability to counter court findings that she is deemed to be an "unfit mother," the courts recognize an established order of preferences of another adult custodian. This order is from first to last based upon the child's religion. For a Muslim child: maternal grandmother or great -grandmother, paternal grandmother or great-grandmother, maternal aunt, paternal aunt, maternal niece, paternal niece, and finally to a male in either the father's or mother's family. For a non-Muslim child: maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, sister (adult), maternal aunt, paternal aunt, and finally other nieces and aunts.

Right of Visitation: In law as well as in practice, visitation depends on the willingness of the custodial parent. If a father has custody and does not voluntarily agree to visitation, the local authorities will not force the issue. The parent will have to seek a court order to enforce visitation.


Fat her's Permission: Children under a certain age (generally, 18 years for boys and 21 years for girls) cannot depart Egypt without the permission of the father. If the child's name indicates an Egyptian father, even if the child is traveling on an U.S. passport, Egyptian Immigration officials require "explicit" permission from the father before permitting departure. At times, when the name is Egyptian, a mother and child going to the United States for an ordinary visit, Egyptian authorities can require the father to go the airport to give his permission to immigration officials. In contrast, if the child's name is not noticeably Egyptian, and the passport does not indicate otherwise, an American citizen mother and child could depart without airport officials questioning citizenship or requesting the father's approval.


Travel Restrictions (child): Egyptian Immigration Officials allow a father to put travel a "hold" on his wife and/or children. This requires no court order or legal determination. A simple administrative procedure, which takes ten days to two weeks to institute, authorizes a "blacklist" entry that expires after six months if not renewed. However, this entry can be extended "indefinitely" by the fat her or by any one acting on a father's power of attorney.

Travel Restrictions (wife): An Egyptian wife requires the permission of her Egyptian husband to obtain a passport and depart the county. Although this law also extends to a non-Egyptian wife, we are not aware of any cases where a U.S. citizen wife with a U.S. passport was prohibited by her Egyptian husband from departing. Immigration authorities have not asked an American woman, married to an Egyptian, to produce permission from her husband.


Visa Stamps: Immigration officials will prevent departure of any individual whose passport lacks a valid entry stamp and residency visa. Egyptian procedures to obtain valid entry stamps and residencies must be followed by the bearer when the U.S. Embassy issues a parent or a child a new passport.


Often a parent will declare the first passport stolen or lost; the new passport plus a police report of loss or theft is generally sufficient for issuance of a tourist visa. However, if the immigration authority's records indicate the bearer's "real" status in Egypt, issuance will halt pending the husband's permission. As with departure, extension of residency requires the father's explicit agreement.


Issuance of Egyptian Passports: Under Egyptian Law, no child under 21 years of age can obtain an Egyptian passport without the written permission of the father. Therefore, if ordered by a foreign court, Egyptian Immigration authorities would accept a request from an Egyptian father not to issue a passport to a dual national child.


PLEASE NOTE: American citizens who travel to Egypt place themselves under the jurisdiction of Egyptian courts. If an Egyptian parent chooses to remain in Egypt or leave a child behind in Egypt, the U.S. Embassy cannot force either that parent or the Egyptian Government to return the child to the U.S. Additionally, it is not possible to extradite an Egyptian parent to the U.S. for parental child abduction. American citizens planning a trip to Egypt with dual national children should bear this in mind.


Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Court, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 895-5400
Fax: (202) 244-4319/5131
Consular Section: (202) 966-6342

U.S. Embassy in Cairo
(North Gate) 8
Kamal el-Din Salah Street
Garden City
Cairo, Egypt
Telephone: 20-2-795-7371, Consular
Section telephone: 20-2-797-2301
Fax: 20-2-797-2472

Mailing Address:
Unit 64900
APO AE 09839-4900


Web Site: www.usembassy.egnet.net/

views updated

Egypt

Culture Name

Egyptian; Arab Egyptian; Arab

Alternative Names

Official name: Arab Republic of Egypt

Previously: The United Arab Republic. Before 1952: The Egyptian Kingdom

Orientation

Identification. Egypt is the internationally used name but not the name used by the people of the country. It derives from the Greek Aegyptos, which in turn probably comes from ancient Egyptian words referring to the land ( Hut-ka-ptah, or "house of the essence [ka] of Ptah," a local god). Western names derive from this, as does the word "Copt" (in Arabic, qibt ). "Copt" can be taken to mean "Egyptian" in general, but now commonly means an Egyptian Christian, technically one belonging to the majority Coptic Church.

In Arabic, the name is Misr. This name is older than the Muslim conquest, but is attested to in the Koran. It can refer to either the whole country or the capital city. The name itself is an icon, spoken, written, or sung.

The population of Egypt is relatively homogeneous. The overwhelming majority (over 90 percent) are Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims. About 6 percent are Christians, who are indistinguishable in other respects from the Muslims. Most of the Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church, the historic church of Egypt, but minorities within the minority are Catholic or Protestant, or derive from the churches of the Levant (Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic). There are a few small linguistic minorities, of which the largest is the Nubians, who speak two Nubian languages (Kenuz and Mahas) related to the Nilo-Saharan languages of the Sudan. They represent less than 1 percent of Egypt's population, and are concentrated around Aswan. Other linguistic minorities include a few thousand Berber speakers in Siwa oasis, the easternmost outpost of Berber speech, and the small population of Beja (Ababda and Bisharin) in the eastern desert east of Aswan. All these groups are Muslim. There are also urban linguistic enclaves of Armenians, Greeks, Italians, and others. Another urban enclave was the Jews, now largely emigrated, who spoke either Arabic or various European languages. The urban minorities were much larger before the middle of the twentieth century.

Location and Geography. Egypt has an area of 385,229 square miles (1,001,000 square kilometers). The country is separated from its neighbors by either ocean or sparsely populated desert. To the north is the Mediterranean Sea, and to the east the Red Sea. Egypt is separated from Libya and North Africa by the western desert, from Palestine and Israel by the desert of the Sinai Peninsula, and from the centers of population in the Sudan by desert except along the narrow Nile River. Among the major geographical features of Egypt are the Nile River and the Suez Canal, which joins the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and also separates Egypt proper from Sinai. The highest point is Mount Catherine in the Sinai, at 8,743 feet (2,665 meters).

Egypt is the gift of the Nile. Rainfall is not adequate to sustain agriculture or a settled population, and water instead comes from the Nile. The Nile rises far to the south of Egypt, in Ethiopia and in the drainage basin of Lake Victoria. It reaches Egypt in Lake Nasser, behind the Aswān High Dam. After the dam, the Nile continues to flow north in a single channel paralleled by irrigation canals until it reaches Cairo, 550 miles (860 kilometers) away. North of Cairo, the Nile Delta begins. The Nile breaks into two main channels, the western Rosetta branch and the eastern Damietta branch, for the final 120 miles (200 kilometers) before the water reaches the Mediterranean. The two main regions of Egypt are thus the Valley, or Sa'id, in the south, and the Delta in the north, separated by Cairo at the apex of the Delta.

The Nile receives about 85 percent of its water from the Ethiopian highlands. Before the construction of dams and barrages, floodwaters would spill out of the river's banks and, channeled by sluices and dikes, cover most of the agricultural land. Egyptians then practiced a form of recession agriculture, planting winter crops in the mud left behind by the receding river.

In the twentieth century, people have increased their control of the river. This culminated in the construction of the Aswān High Dam, completed in 1971 but which first held back the floodwaters in 1964. Control of the Nile has made it possible to cultivate year round. On average, there are two crops a year.

About 96 percent of Egypt's population lives in the Nile Valley, which comprises about 4 percent of the area of the country; most of the economic and social activity occurs there. The rest of the country is desert. This includes the scrub desert along the Mediterranean coast between the Nile Delta and Libya, and along the north coast of the Sinai Peninsula; the mountainous desert between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea; and the western desert west of the Nile Valley. Rainfall in these areas is rare to nonexistent. Only the Mediterranean coast has rain that is reliable enough to support marginal human activity, with some agriculture and animal husbandry. The Western Desert has five oases that support a settled population and serve as communication centers (Khārga, Dakhla, Farafra, Baharīya, and Siwa). There are smaller oases in the Sinai peninsula (Firan), and even in the arid Eastern desert there are occasional springs, two of which provide water to Christian monasteries.

It is an article of faith in contemporary Egypt that agriculture and settled life should spread beyond the confines of the Nile Valley. Major efforts have been made to "reclaim" land on the fringes of the Nile Valley, particularly east and west of the Delta. Over a million acres have been reclaimed since the middle of the twentieth century. Recent discovery of fossil underground water in the extreme southwest corner of Egypt is leading to the development of irrigated agriculture in that area.

Demography. At the end of 1996, the total population of Egypt was 65,200,000, of whom about 1,900,000 were considered to be living abroad temporarily, presumably mostly in the oil countries of the Arab Gulf but also including some in the West. The 1996 population represented a 21.7 percent increase over the 1986 population. The annual growth rate was calculated at 2.1 percent, down from 2.8 percent in the period of 19761986. The lower growth rate was also reflected in the figure for those under 15 years of age, which was 35 percent of the overall population in 1996 as against 38.8 percent in 1986. Egypt's population is predicted to double between 1996 and 2029. According to the Egyptian Human Development Report 1997-98 , life expectancy at birth in Egypt was 66.7 years, up from 55 in 1976. Infant mortality was 29 per 1,000 live births in 1996. The total fertility rate was 3.3 in 1997, with urban areas quite a bit lower than rural areas. Just over one-third of the population was below a poverty line based on consumption needs, calculated by the Egyptian government.

Males were 51.2 percent of the total population, contrary to the demographic norm that postulates more women than men. Egypt is part of a broad band of countries, extending east to Korea, where there are "missing women."

The level of education is increasing; those over the age of ten who were literate increased from 50.4 percent in 1986 to 61.4 percent in 1996. Figures for graduates from different levels of education also grewthose holding a higher education degree increased from 4.3 percent in 1986 to 7.3 percent in 1996. The rural population was 57 percent in 1996, compared to 56 percent in 1986, but this includes some people living in settlements of 20,000 or more. A settlement is defined as urban according to its administrative function.

Linguistic Affiliation. Egypt is part of the Arabic speech community of about 250 million people, spread from Morocco to Oman. Arabic is a branch of the Semitic languages, which in turn belongs to the Afro-Asiatic language family together with Berber, Ancient Egyptian, Chadic, and Cushitic. Egypt became Arabic-speaking as a result of the Muslim conquest in the seventh century, though the full replacement of the earlier languages took several centuries. In Egypt, as elsewhere in the Arab world, the Arabic language is characterized by diglossia. That is, there is a substantial difference between the written language, influenced by the Koran, and the spoken language. There are some regional dialects in Egypt, notably the speech of Upper Egypt, but nothing that prevents understanding.

Radio and television impose the Cairo-spoken language as the standard dialect of Egypt. Egyptian cultural influence is transmitted to the rest of the Arabic-speaking world in the Cairo dialect. English is the most common foreign language spoken in Egypt, followed by French.

Symbolism. The dominant symbols in the formal and semiformal sphere derive mainly from aspects of Egypt's history, especially the Pharaonic and Islamic periods.

The three Giza pyramids (sometimes together with the Great Sphinx) represent the most important and obvious visual symbol of the Egyptian nation. It is the most widespread "postcard" image, and also the title of the major daily newspaper Al-Ahram (with the three pyramids on the top of the front page). The symbol of Egypt Air, the national airline, is Horus, a figure from ancient Egyptian religion represented as a falcon.

Other symbols derive from the country's Islamic heritage. The nineteenth-century Mohammed Ali mosque built on top of a medieval citadel is visible from different parts of Cairo. Of more architectural significance are the Ibn Tulun and Sultan Hassan mosques in Cairo and the Qaitbey mausoleum and school in the northern cemetery.

One important symbol is derived from the country's geography: the Nile River. The Nile is invoked in different contexts, each representing a facet of the country's identity or prevalent themes of the culture. It is associated with immortality, romance, or glory (the construction of the high dam). In recent years, Nile cruises have become a favored tourist attraction, and "cleaning up the Nile" has become an environmental slogan.

The flag is an abstract tricolor, with black standing for the past of oppression, red for sacrifice, and white for the future. A centerpiece of a falcon completes the design. Reflecting a sense of Arab unity, the flags of several other Arab countries have the same colors. The current national anthem is the music of the song "Biladi" (meaning "My Country"), a patriotic song that was popular during the 1919 uprising against the British occupation.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. The land of Egypt has a distinctiveness within the region because of the development of major civilizations in the Nile Valley, sometimes phrased as seven thousand years of civilization. After the Pharaonic and Greco-Roman periods, Christianity came to Egypt. For several centuries Egypt was essentially a Christian country. The Muslim conquest in the seventh century C . E . brought a new force, but it was some time before there was a Muslim majority in Egypt. In the sixteenth century, Egypt became part of the Ottoman Empire, ruled from Constantinople (now Istanbul). On the eve of modernization, Napoleon and the French army conquered Egypt in 1798, and remained through 1801. Many writers identify this period of three years as a major turning point in Egyptian cultural history, while others argue that the process began earlier and lasted longer.

Shortly after the British expelled the French from Egypt in 1801, the Ottoman military leader Muhammad 'Alī Pasha and his troops took over in 1805. Muhammad 'Alī Pasha remained the ruler of Egypt until his death in 1849, and his descendants continued as the rulers until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.

The British occupied Egypt in 1882, working under the nominal authority of the descendants of Muhammad 'Alī Pasha. In 1919, in the aftermath of World War I, unrest aiming at Egyptian independence began. The main nationalist political party, the Wafd, was created that year. The agitation resulted in the recognition of Egypt's independence in 1922 and the establishment of a constitution in 1923. This amounted to internal self-government under King Fu'ād, with an elected parliament and a prime minister. In 1936 and 1937 further treaties with the United Kingdom led to international recognition of Egypt's independence, and it joined the League of Nations in 1937. Egypt was the scene of major battles in World War II, and the country formally joined the war in its last year, 1945. At this time, Egypt also joined the United Nations and helped found the Arab League.

In 1952 the "Free Officers" from the Egyptian army forced King Farouk, son of King Fu'ād, to abdicate. A year later the monarchy was abolished and a republic established. Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser emerged as the strongman of the new regime, and he became president in 1954. The new regime initiated many new social policies in Egypt. This was a genuine revolution that shared power and wealth more equally with all elements of the population and encouraged education for the masses. From a cultural point of view, the new regime released Egyptians from the feeling of oppression due to foreign rule, and allowed for the flowering of an unencumbered Egyptian identity, making it possible to be both modern and Egyptian. This was also the period of maximum Egyptian involvement in warfare. The most devastating moment came with the defeat of Egypt by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967; the Israeli army overran the remainder of Palestine and occupied the Sinai Peninsula.

Anwar el-Sadat became president after Nasser died in 1970. After the fourth war against Israel in 1973, Sadat moved to make peace and to recover the Sinai. Under Sadat, too, many of the social reforms of the Nasser period were frozen or reversed. Sadat was assassinated in 1981 and was succeeded by his vice president, Hosni Mubarak, who was elected for a fourth six-year term in September 1999. To date, all four of Egypt's presidents have been military men.

National Identity. Unlike many third-world countries, Egypt does not have a clear moment when it became "independent." Instead there was a process beginning with the anti-British movement of 1919 and the constitution of 1923, and continuing through international recognition in 1937 and the departure of the last British soldier in 1956. Arguably the process continues still, as Egypt deals with the meaning of an Egyptian identity and national independence in a globalizing world dominated economically and culturally by the United States.

Ethnic Relations. The main issue in ethnic identity arises not within the nation, but in terms of the nation being part of the wider Arab world. People debate whether being Egyptian or being Arab is more important. The Arab world is tied together by shared language and culture, including shared Islamic values and practices, and by a sense of shared political problemseven when countries and people take different positions, they focus on the same problems. Arab unity is concretized in the Arab League, whose headquarters is in Cairo.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Villages and cities are the two major settlement types. There has been, however, an increasing overlap in social and economic functions which, in turn, manifests itself in an increasing blurring of distinctions regarding architectural features of both city and village.

Villages consist of a core residential area surrounded by fields, and agricultural land. The core consists of contiguous one-story mud-brick houses built along narrow dirt roads. The houses incorporate a stable for the farm animals. Owning a cow or a water buffalo represents a high investment, and since animal theft is feared, farmers are keen to keep their animals closely supervised. Rooftops are used for storage of dung cakes or straw, for ovens and mud granaries, or to keep chickens or rabbits.

Since the mid-1970s the mud-brick houses have progressively been replaced by houses made of fired bricks, and growing population and prosperity have led to an expansion of the built-up surface of the village. Red-brick houses are healthier, provide more amenities, and are more practical for modern life, though they are more expensive and less adapted to the climate. People can build them several stories high, which uses less of the scarce agricultural land.

The money earned by migrants to oil-rich countries was mainly used to build new houses based on urban models. Urban Egyptians generally decried this transformation of the village-scape as a blind emulation of urban lifestyles, and a change for the worse in the peasant character. This alarmed reaction from urban middle-class voices underscores an important aspect of rural-urban relations and perceptions where the "traditional village" is seen as the locus of authenticity and reservoir of tradition of the Egyptian nation.

Each village has at least one mosque. The mosque is communal and public for men. Many of the mosques are collectively built by the villagers themselves. Another public space is the guest house, which is usually a large hall built and used collectively by an extended family. Here mourners receive condolences, and well-wishers extend congratulations for returning pilgrims. Again, guest houses represent mainly male space. Churches often include a space for social gatherings of a family or religious nature. Both women and men actively participate in the marketplace. Weekly markets in big villages or district towns are both a place where commodities are traded and an important social arena where people exchange news and maintain social relationships.

The urban character of the national culture is most apparent in the two major cities: Cairo and Alexandria. One aspect of the political culture is a centralized bureaucracy. This feature manifests itself in a huge government building that dominates Cairo's main square. This building houses various government departments that handle bureaucratic dealings with the public from all over the country. Government buildings are more functional than beautiful.

The architecture and layout of Cairo reflect the various epochs of its history. Very roughly, old Cairo is the medieval part, the heart of popular Cairo, and also where the Islamic and Coptic monuments are. The modern city center was built in the nineteenth century and was modeled after Paris.

Cairo is a continuously expanding city, and numerous squatter settlements are built on the outskirts. These squatter areas have poor water and sewage connections, and lack services such as schools, clinics, and police.

Urban Egyptians usually live in rented apartments. Individual houses are rare. One of the reforms of socialism was to establish a form of rent control that kept rentals low. Newer apartments, however, are not under rent control, and rents are much higher. Some people own apartments in a condominium-like arrangement. Occasionally an extended family may own an entire building and make the apartments available to its members. In the 1980s and 1990s living conditions in urban areas improved, albeit unequally, and such amenities as telephones, television, and air conditioning became more common. Nationwide 73.5 percent of households are connected to the potable water system, and 95.7 percent to the electrical system.

Egypt is crowded. The built-up areas of villages have very high population densities. People have largely accommodated to this forced proximity. In older parts of Cairo the streets are sinuous with many dead ends, while in newer parts, where the building pattern follows the lines of long narrow fields, the streets are themselves long and narrow. Despite or because of the crowding, there is segregation by gender. For example, there are often two different queues for men and for women, and often separate cars for women on trains.

Residential and urban areas, as well as agricultural zones, are spreading into the desert. There has been considerable increase in the use of the coastline, initially by foreign tourists and now increasingly as a vacation area for the Egyptian elite. The tradition of going to the Mediterranean towns in the summer is older, but now some people are exploring areas further afield, particularly along the Sinai coast and on the western shore of the Red Sea.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Eating is an important social activity, and is central to marking special events and ceremonial occasions.

The most important food item in daily life is the bread loaf. In rural areas, bread is usually baked by women in mud ovens at home. In cities, bread is sold in bakeries. The standard loaf is strictly regulated by the government in terms of weight and price, and is one of the very few items that still receives a state subsidy.

The indigenous cuisine relies heavily on legumes. The main national dish is foul . This is a dish of fava beans cooked slowly over low heat and seasoned with salt, lemon, cumin, and oil. It is usually eaten for breakfast. Another common dish is tamiyya or falafel which is made from crushed fava beans mixed with onions and leeks and fried in oil. Also popular is koshari , a mixture of rice, black lentils, and macaroni covered with tomato sauce and garnished with fried onions. These dishes are prepared at home, but are also sold in stalls all over Cairo.

The level of consumption of animal protein depends almost entirely on wealth (and is itself a sign of wealth). Well-to-do households eat animal protein (beef, lamb, poultry, or fish) every day. Muslims do not eat pork. Less-affluent families eat animal protein once a week or even once a month.

Restaurants are widespread all over the country. They vary from stalls selling traditional street food to posh restaurants serving international cuisine.

One main distinction between traditional, usually rural, and urban middle-class eating habits concerns the seating and service of food. In villages, people sit on a carpet, and food is placed on a very low round wooden table. Each person has a spoon, and everyone eats directly from the service dish. In cities, people sit on chairs around Western-style dining tables. Each person has his or her own plate, spoon, fork, and knife. In rural areas, the main meal is after dark; in the urban areas it is often in late afternoon after office workers return home.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Several Muslim feasts are marked by special meals. The 'Id al-Adha, which celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son (who is then miraculously turned into a ram), requires those who can afford it to sacrifice a ram. Part of the animal is distributed to the poor and part consumed by members of the household.

The 'Id al-Fitr after the fast of Ramadan is celebrated by baking special cookies ( kahk ) which are later sprinkled with powdered sugar. These cookies are usually offered to guests who bring the greetings of the feast.

The Prophet's Birthday, which marks the birth of the prophet Muhammad, is celebrated by the consumption of halawet al-mulid, which is a variety of sweets cooked with different types of nuts. Children are given dolls (girls) or horses (boys) made entirely of sugar and decorated with colored paper.

On the eve of both Christmas day and Easter day, Orthodox Copts break their fast with a variety of dishes made of beef and poultry. One of the main food items that marks the feast are cookies similar to those prepared for the 'Id al-Fitr. Sham al-Nassim (Easter Monday) is mainly marked by a breakfast of salted fish, spring onion, lettuce, and colored eggs, which is consumed outdoors in gardens and open areas. This festival is celebrated nationwide in practically all regions and by all social classes. It is the ancient Egyptian spring and harvest festival.

Fasting is seen as a spiritual exercise by both Muslims and Christians. The Muslim fast entails abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sundown, notably during the lunar month of Ramadan (either twenty-nine or thirty days). Some particularly devout Muslims also fast on other days in the Islamic calendar, such as the days celebrating the birth of the prophet Muhammad or his miraculous "Night Journey," the days representing the middle of the lunar month (days thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen), or each Monday and Thursday. The result is that nearly half the days in the year can be considered fasting days by some. Virtually all Egyptian Muslims fast during Ramadan, while the voluntary fasts are followed by a smaller number.

The number of days that Egyptian Christians can theoretically fast is even larger. The number is variable, but it includes over 200 days a year, mostly in the periods leading up to Christmas and Easter, plus the Wednesdays and Fridays of each week outside the fasting periods. Christian fasting means avoiding meat, fish, eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. In the Christian tradition, one theme of fasting is the domination of the body and of emotions by the mind in order to reach a greater purity.

Basic Economy. About 25 percent of the gross domestic product comes from industry and about 18 percent from agriculture. The remaining 57 percent includes all other activities, primarily services, including tourism, and the "informal sector" (small-scale enterprises that often escape government supervision). There is also an extensive network of banks and a major construction industry. A stock market on which about thirty stocks are traded emerged in the 1990s.

Egypt is a rich agricultural country, with some of the highest yields per unit of land in the world. The main crops are cotton, sugarcane, wheat, maize, and fava beans with substantial areas given over to fruit orchards (primarily citrus) and to vegetables. Livestock (cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats) is also important and some land is used to grow fodder crops for these animals. There are two crops a year on average. Individual farmers try to be self-sufficient in certain crops such as wheat, but on the whole they market what they grow and procure their own food also from the market.

Elaborate market networks composed of small-scale traders purchase food crops and trade them into the urban areas, or sometimes between rural areas. On the whole, the marketing sector is characterized by a plethora of small units, although a few large-scale trading companies operate. Being too small to bargain on price, farmers have to accept the trader's offer.

The main inputs to agriculture are land, water, and labor. Land is generally owned by private individuals in small holdings, with an average of about 2.5 acres (1 hectare). From 1952 to 1997 tenancies were guaranteed (those renting farmland could not be expelled except under rare conditions), but this guarantee was repealed in 1997. By that year, rented land covered about one-sixth of the farmland, and tenants tended to be poorer than farmers who were also owners. Nevertheless, tenants had learned to treat farmland as if they owned it, and after 1997 had to adjust to higher rents or the loss of the land.

Irrigation is central to Egyptian agriculture, and water is supplied by the government to the farmer through a network of canals. Payment for water is indirect, through the land tax paid by the larger farmers. Water is perceived to be free, and the government continues to support the policy that water should be provided free to farmers. Since farmers must lift the water from the canals to their fields they do incur a cost.

Farm labor is primarily family labor, based on the rural family household. The head of this household mobilizes labor from his family, but may also hire outside labor from time to time, particularly for tasks that require a large group working together. Egyptian agriculture tends to be labor-intensive and indeed could better be described as gardening.

Many members of these rural households work as agricultural laborers or outside agriculture, and it is probable that many of these households would not survive without the income from this work. The most common off-farm sources of income are government work (as teachers, clerks, or guards), private business (trucking agricultural goods or trading), and factory work.

In Egyptian agriculture, the tasks that can be done by a tractor (e.g., plowing, hauling) or a water pump are mechanized. Other tasks (e.g., planting, weeding, harvesting) are still done by hand. Since most farmers cannot afford to own machinery, they rent it as they need it. On the whole, tractors and pumps are owned by the richer farmers who rent out their excess capacity.

Major Industries. Egypt is a relatively industrialized country, especially in textiles and garment manufacture, cement, metal works of various kinds, and armaments. Various makes of automobile are assembled in Egypt. In the second half of the twentieth century, many of these industries were government-owned. At the end of the twentieth century, they were in the process of being privatized. There are also many small private workshops producing shoes, door frames, furniture, clothing, aluminum pots, and similar items for local consumption.

Trade. Egypt tends to import more than it exports. Imports include consumer goods, including food, and raw material for industry; exports are largely agricultural products and services. A major Egyptian export consists of workers who labor outside the country but who send money back home.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. In Egypt there is an enormous gap between the very wealthy and the very poor. The culture also encourages deference of the weak, poor, or subaltern to the rich and powerful, in terms of speech, posture, and acquiescence. The differences among individuals and families in Egypt can be represented by income level or source of income. They can also be represented in choices of consumption stylehousing, transport, dress, language, education, music, and the like. Marriage negotiations bring all these differences of taste and income to the forefront. What is less evident in Egypt is a strong class consciousness that might turn potential classes into real ones. One finds only broad and loose categories that are the subject of much public discussion.

The increasing prosperity of Egypt means that the middle class is increasing in relative size, while the gap between the top and the bottom is increasing. One-third of the population is below a poverty line established by the Egyptian government. The growing middle class aspires to a home, a car, and marriage and family life, and increasingly is able to achieve this.

Political Life

Government. Egypt has had a republican form of government since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952. The government is headed by a president elected for six years. The president designates a prime minister and a council of ministers. The Parliament is elected for five years from 222 constituencies, each of which elects one person to represent workers and peasants and one other. In addition, the president nominates up to ten others to provide representation to groups that might not otherwise be represented in Parliament. In recent years this has allowed the president to nominate leaders of parties that did not win any seats; Christians, who are rarely elected; and women. In addition, there is a kind of upper house, the Consultative Council, which is two-thirds elected and one-third appointed, and which is supposed to provide for more reflective debate on fundamental issues. Through the minister of interior, the president also names governors for the twenty-six governorates of Egypt. Elected councils function at the local level.

Egypt is a "dominant party" system in which one party regularly controls an enormous majority in Parliament. This dominant party is the National Democratic Party (NDP), which represents the political establishment. There are fourteen other parties, only a few of which have ever been represented in Parliament. These include the Wafd party, heir to the tradition of the struggle for national independence in the 1920s and 1930s, and with a procapitalist orientation; the Socialist Labor Party, heavily dominated by Islamic-oriented leaders; the Progressive Party, heir to the Egyptian leftist tradition; and the Liberal Party.

Relatively few women are elected to Parliament, though there are always some. In the late 1970s seats were set aside for women, and this increased their number, but this provision was later ruled unconstitutional. Usually there are a few women ministers. One of the key roles for women in the current political system is the role of the wife of the president. The current "first lady" has taken on a role of organizing campaigns for literacy and health in support of the government's policies.

The extraparliamentary opposition is the Islamic movement, which is not a single movement. Since specifically religious parties, Muslim or Christian, are prohibited, politically active Muslim militants must either join another party, which many do, or remain outside the formal process, which others do. There is a sense in which the main political struggle in Egypt is between the secularists of the NDP, linked to the world of business and the high administration, and the values represented by one or another version of the Islamic trend, representing the "opposition."

In villages and urban neighborhoods there are elected councils that manage zoning, garbage collection, and some public-interest construction, such as a new water system. These local councils work in tandem with local representatives of the different ministries (such as interior, health, or agriculture) to carry out their tasks.

Social Problems and Control. Street crime is relatively rare in Egypt. Most crimes reported in the press are either family dramas or con games of one kind or another. Drugs are illegal, though present, in Egypt, and the users tend to be discreet.

Despite the visible presence of traffic police and police guards in areas where there are foreigners, there are also large areas of Cairo, and many villages, with no police presence at all. People are thus thrown back on their own resources to settle disputes, and there are well-known techniques of intervention (to break up fistfights) and of mediation for more complicated disputes. Even the police often act as mediators rather than prosecutors. In rural Upper Egypt in particular, disputes between extended families over property and power can develop into feuds.

Social control appears to be maintained by a combination of strong values, expressed as Islamic, and by the constant presence of witnesses due to crowded streets and apartments. Anonymity in large Egyptian cities, let alone in villages, is nearly impossible. Perhaps another way to express the same point is to say that Cairo is a village of fifteen million people.

Military Activity. Egypt fought many wars in the second half of the twentieth century, mostly with Israel: around the creation of Israel in 19471949; over the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company and the "tripartite aggression" of Israel, France, and the United Kingdom in 1956; the Six-Day War in 1967; the war of attrition in the early 1970s; and the October War of 1973. In addition, Egypt was involved in the Yemeni civil war in the 1960s, when Saudi Arabia was involved on the other side, and contributed troops to the allies who confronted Iraq over the invasion of Kuwait in 19901991. Egypt suffered considerable loss of life in the wars with Israel between 1947 and 1973, so the situation since then seems more peaceful.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Egyptian citizens are entitled to free education and health care, in addition to employment guarantees for graduates. Services are poor, however, and there are many hidden costs, such as time spent waiting. The transition from socialism to the market system has left the majority of the population without a real safety net. Part of the social policy includes efforts to restructure welfare, and to help unemployed youth set up their own businesses. Attempts are underway to establish national health insurance and social security systems.

Nongovernment efforts in the area of welfare are sporadic. There is an increasing return to philanthropy in a traditional sense of charity and patronage, in addition to some community-based foundations and associations that provide services.

Islamist groups have been active in providing services in poor areas, particularly in health care and educational services. This was the main source for their popularity in the past decade. With government restrictions on Islamist groups, however, such activity has been considerably curtailed.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Egypt has a long tradition of voluntary associations. Currently there are over fourteen thousand associations, most of which are devoted to charitable purposes. They are mostly small and local, and none has a mass membership. After 1964, the associations were governed by a law that stipulated fairly close governmental control. A new law allowing somewhat more flexibility was passed in 1999 but was declared unconstitutional a year later, so the older law continues to apply. This law was contested by many environmental and human rights associations, because it appeared to prevent them from taking political positions.

The main national associations are the professional syndicates for doctors, lawyers, teachers, agricultural officials, and others. They lobby for their members, and also sometimes play a role on the political scene. Their internal politics tends to be a reflection of national politics, with the main competition between the NDP and the Islamists. The professional syndicates are also governed by restrictive laws, and are periodically suspended by the government for infringing these restrictions.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Household work and child rearing are almost exclusively women's responsibility. Women also contribute significantly to productive work outside the home, especially in cities. But since the majority of women work in the informal sector, the size of their contribution is often underestimated. In rural areas, women work in the fields in most regions. In addition, women's household responsibilities in villages involve many productive and profitable activities, although they are not generally recognized as "work." These activities include caring for animals and processing dairy products. Women may also take part in some stages of preparing crops for market.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. In general, men and women have equal legal rights. But equality is not determined only by law. For example, the principle of equal pay applies only in the formal sector. Women working in the informal sector are often paid less than men. Women do not have the same legal rights as men in the domain of personal status (marriage, divorce, child custody). Only Egyptian men have the right to pass on Egyptian nationality to their children. Various feminist and human rights groups, however, are active in promoting legal change in areas of discrimination against women.

At home men have more power than women, and are supposed to make the major decisions. Nevertheless, women have much influence and informal power.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. One of the critical decisions a woman can make is the choice of marriage partner. The pattern here is one of negotiation among the members of her family about whom she will marry. She is a participant, and must in some sense agree, but many others are involved, including matchmakers. Similarly a young man may find constraints on his choice of marriage partner.

The trend is for marriage partners to be increasingly more like one another in age and level of education. The old hierarchical marriage is giving way to a companionate marriage, especially in the urban middle classes. Marriage to cousins, however, remains frequent, accounting for 39 percent of marriages in a 1995 sample. Since premarital sex is rare, the pressure to marry is high, and almost everyone marries.

The actual marriage ceremony is distinct from the legal contract of marriage. It is a major event in the lives of all involved. The young couple must prepare a place to live, while at the same time seeing that the often considerable costs of the ceremony are covered. People spend as much as they can, if not more, on a marriage, and in the upper classes, the sky is the limit.

Polygyny (having more than one wife) among Muslims is rare, and declining. Around 5 percent of Muslim men have more than one wife, and most of them only two. A polygynous man usually maintains two households. Divorce is formally easy though families try to reconcile the partners. The rate of divorce is declining, while the absolute number is increasing. When a divorced couple has children, the mother retains custody only while they are young. The father may then claim them. Copts recognize neither polygyny nor divorce.

An important signal of family identity is the personal name. Egyptians frequently do not have "family" names in the current Western sense of a last name that is shared by all members of an extended family. Instead, each person has a given name, followed by the given names of his or her father, grandfather, and so on. For legal purposes one's name is usually "given name, father's name, grandfather's name," resulting in three given names (e.g., Hassan Ali Abdallah). Thus one carries one's paternal lineage and one's status in one's name. In certain parts of rural Egypt, where genealogy is important, people learn to recite a long list of paternal ancestors. Muslim men are likely to have religious names but some have secular names. Christians may carry the names of saints, or may be given names that are Arabic rather than religious. Women also have religious names but sometimes have more fanciful ones, including names of foreign origin. Women often do not change their names upon marriage.

Domestic Unit. Although most households now are organized around a nuclear family, there are some extended family households. Marriage was historically patrilocal (brides moved to the household of the husband), though in cities the young couple often establishes a new residence, at least after a couple of years. Even when residence is not shared, extensive kin ties are maintained through frequent family gatherings. Authority tends to be patriarchal, with the senior male in the household generally given the last word and otherwise expecting deference. Wives, for instance, often are reluctant to assert that they have any serious independent power to make decisions.

Inheritance. Islamic law requires partible inheritance. The property of a dead person must be divided among the heirs, usually children and surviving spouse. Male heirs are favored over female heirs by receiving a share that is twice as large. Moreover, any group of heirs should include a male, even if that means tracking down a distant cousin. A person may not dispose of more than one-third of his or her estate by will, and may not even use this provision to favor one legal heir over another. In other words, a person cannot will this one-third to one son at the expense of another, but could will it to a charity or a nonrelative. Use of this provision is rare, as people accept the Islamic rules and prefer to keep property in the family. Arrangements among heirs, particularly brothers and sisters, however, may result in a different outcome. For instance, a father may set up his daughter in marriage in lieu of an eventual inheritance.

Kin Groups. Egyptian kinship is patrilineal, with individuals tracing their descent through their fathers.

Socialization

Child Rearing and Education. In all parts of Egypt and among all social classes, having children is considered the greatest blessing of all. Caring for children is primarily the women's responsibility. Many Egyptian women (both Copt and Muslim) abide by the Koranic directive to breast-feed children for two years. Grandparents and other members of the extended family play an active role in bringing up children.

There is a general preference for boys over girls, although in infancy and early childhood children of both sexes are treated with equal love and care. The preference to have at least one son is related to the desire to have an heir, and so provide continuity from father to son.

Education is highly valued in Egypt, and families invest a lot in that area. Even low-income families try to educate their children as much as possible. Education, especially having a university degree, is considered an important avenue for social mobility. But many families cannot afford to educate their children beyond the elementary level. In addition, many children have to work at an early age to help support their families.

Etiquette

Public modesty in dress and deportment is highly valued in Egypt. There is a form of dress code that affects women more than men, and that requires clothing that covers all the body but the hands and face. For women, this most visibly means wearing a head scarf that covers the hair and ears and is pinned under the chin, though there are many other styles ranging from simply covering the hair to covering the entire face. This is the sense in which veiling exists in Egypt, but the situation is volatile, with a good deal of variety. Many women do not veil at all. What is proper, or required, or necessary, is hotly debated in contemporary Egypt. The motivations for veiling are numerous, and range from those who accept that this is a requirement of Islam to those who cover themselves essentially to satisfy their relatives, male and female. Men are also enjoined to dress modestly, but the changes are not as striking, involving for instance loose trousers and long sleeves. For both men and women, the principle is that clothes should disguise the shape of the body.

Another rule of etiquette is that greetings must precede all forms of social interaction. A person joining any kind of group, even of strangers, is expected to greet those already present. In less anonymous situations handshakes are due. Embracing is also common as a form of greeting, usually among members of the same sex.

People are generally addressed by their given name, often preceded by a title of some kind (' am, or uncle, is the all-purpose title for men; others include hajj for a pilgrim returned from Mecca or simply for an older man, duktor for a person with a doctorate, and muhandis for an engineer). To address someone by name alone is impolite.

One important rule of etiquette is to treat guests cordially and hospitably. An offering, usually tea or a soft drink, is the least a visitor expects. The first drink is sometimes called a "greeting." Cigarettes are often also offered as hospitality. In rural areas, some people avoid visiting those they consider to be of lower status than themselves. From this point of view, visits are always "up," and hospitality is always "down," i.e., the higher-status host provides hospitality for the lower-status guest.

In general, young defer to old and women to men. Members of the younger generation are expected to show signs of respect and not to challenge their seniors and must use the special terms of address for aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as for older nonrelatives. Juniors should not raise their voices to elders, nor should they remain seated while an older person is standing up. With increasing disparities between classes and the spread of patronage ties, there is an inflation in deferential terms of address. This includes the resurgence in the use of terms that were previously official titles but were abolished after 1952, such as Pasha and Bey.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Egypt is a country of "everyday piety." The central belief in Islam is in the oneness of God, whose truths were revealed through the prophet Muhammad. The statement of this basic profession of faith is one of the five pillars of the religion. The other four are the Ramadan fast, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the five daily prayers, and the giving of alms. For many Muslims these five pillars sum up the belief system and indicate the practices. Egyptians frequently invoke the notion of God and his power. Any statement about the future, for instance, is likely to contain the injunction, "God willing," showing that the ultimate determination of the intention is up to God.

In Egypt, there are other possible elaborations. For some, who focus on God as all-powerful, religious practice involves seeking God's help in over-coming problems and seeking favorable outcomes, for instance, with regard to recovery from disease or misfortune. Around this notion has grown up a series of practices involving visits to shrines, often where individuals believed to be beloved of God are buried, to seek their intercession with God. Foremost among these shrines are those in Cairo associated with the family of the prophet Muhammad. But every village and town has such shrines, whose importance varies. This form of religion is often attacked by religious purists who argue that to give such importance to these "saints" undercuts the oneness of God.

Also very common in Egypt are associations of mystics (Sufi brotherhoods). These male-dominated groups are under the leadership of a shaykh , or a hierarchy of shaykhs, devoted to helping their members attain a mystical experience of union with God. This mystical experience is often attained through collective rituals, proper to each order, called zikr. There are nearly one hundred officially recognized associations, plus numerous unrecognized ones, and they claim around six million members (about one third of the adult male population).

Current mainstream practice in Egypt is to focus on the core beliefs of Islam, and to be concerned with learning the "law" of Islam, the particular details of everyday life that believing Muslims must follow to be in accord with God's will as interpreted by specialists. The authority here is the word of God as found in the Koran. The prayer leader (imam) can be anyone in religious good standing, although established mosques usually have a regular imam. The Friday sermon is said by a khatib, many of whom are trained in religious institutes. There have been debates over whether women can play these roles, especially that of a teacher of religion to women and girls.

The two top religious leaders in Egyptian Islam are the Shaykh al-Azhar, who heads the religious bureaucracy, and the Grand Mufti, who offers authoritative interpretations of the Koran. The individuals in these posts have been known to take different positions on some issues.

The two main Muslim religious holidays are the feast following Ramadan, the fasting month, and 'Id al-Adha, which corresponds to the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The Ramadan holiday comes after a month of fasting and family visits and people usually just rest. The 'Id al-Adha celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, who then miraculously turned into a ram, so that most families try to sacrifice a ram on this day. Other religious holidays include Moulid an-Nabi, commemorating the birth of the prophet Muhammad, which is especially important for sufis; and Islamic New Year, the first day of the month of Moharram.

In Islam, Friday is the day of the main congregational prayer, and marks a break in the workweek without being a "day of rest" in the formal sense. In contemporary Egypt, the two-day weekend is Friday and Saturday. The regular work and school week is thus Sunday through Thursday, although some also work on Saturday. Christians who work on this schedule attend church in the evenings, and make use of Friday for major gatherings.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the descendant of the churches associated with the early Christian Patriarchate of Alexandria. It is the main Christian church in Egypt. Its theology is monophysite, holding that in Jesus Christ there is only one nature, both human and divine. The Coptic church is headed by a patriarch and supported by bishops and parish priests. Monasticism is also central to the Coptic church, and the patriarch comes from the ranks of the monks rather than the priests. When a patriarch dies, his successor is chosen by lot (i.e., by God) from a small number of candidates who have survived a vetting process. The monasteries also serve as pilgrimage and retreat centers for Copts. Currently the Virgin Mary is revered, and many churches are dedicated to her.

The two main Christian holidays are the Christmas season and the Easter season. Minor holidays include some that are extensions of these seasons such as 'Id al-Ghattas (Epiphany), the baptism of Christ, Palm Sunday, and some associated with the Virgin Mary (Ascension, in mid-August, is a main one).

In most aspects of life apart from religion, Egyptian Muslims and Christians are indistinguishable. Everyday devotion is common among both, and many religious values are shared at a general level. The attentive observer can sometimes note marks of distinction: "Islamic" dress marks Muslim women; both men and women among Christians may have a cross tattooed on the inside of the right wrist; names are often but not always indicative. For most people, most of the time, the distinction is not relevant. But every so often there are individuals on one side or the other who stress the difference and claim or practice some form of discrimination or injustice. Such speech rarely leads to more violent action. Nonetheless, the boundary is maintained and both groups discourage or prohibit intermarriage and conversion. Muslims and Christians are not residentially segregated; instead, there are clusters of Christians scattered among a Muslim majority. In modern times, the presence of both Muslims and Christians has impeded the drive to define Egypt as a Muslim country and thus at least indirectly has favored secularism.

Rituals and Holy Places. Rituals marking the different stages of life are also an important area of religious practice, and one that is largely shared by Muslims and Christians. Egyptians celebrate a naming ceremony normally one week after a baby's birth; this is a mixture of Islamic (or Coptic) and "traditional" elements, and is basically a family celebration to incorporate the newborn into the family. All boys are circumcised, generally as infants, and girls are usually also "circumcised" before they reach puberty. (Although the form of female genital mutilation varies, surveys suggest that about 97 percent of Egyptian females, both Christians and Muslims, are affected.) Marriage is a major focus of Egyptian culture. For Muslims it is considered a contract the signing of which is later followed by a family celebration; for Christians the sacrament takes place in a church, usually followed the same day by a family celebration.

Death and the Afterlife. After a death, both Muslims and Christians try to bury the body the same day. Condolences are paid immediately, and again after forty days and after a year. The Islamic condolence sessions are often marked by Koran reading. Both Muslims and Christians believe in the soul, distinguishing it from other noncorporeal aspects of the person such as the double, the brother/sister, and the ghost. The "soul" exists before birth and after death, while some of the other aspects disappear with death or only appear at death.

Medicine and Health Care

Health care in Egypt occupies a central place both in people's concerns and in state priorities. There is an extensive network of public hospitals in major towns and cities all over the country. There is a health unit offering basic medical services in practically every village. The standard of the medical service is variable, however, and people often find they have to obtain treatment in private hospitals and clinics. Among more affluent sectors of urban Egypt, people seek out alternative treatments such as homeopathy.

Egyptians tend to combine the modern health system with traditional practices. In villages, the midwife, for example, plays a key role not just during childbirth and the related ceremonial activities, but also in providing general medical advice to women. There are other traditional health practitioners, such as seers and spirit healers. The zar ceremony marks a form of spirit possession cult that establishes a relationship between an afflicted person and the spirits afflicting him or her. This relationship must be periodically reaffirmed, with the help of specialists.

Secular Celebrations

The main public holidays are: 25 April, Sinai Liberation Day, which marks the recovery of the Sinai Peninsula in 1982; 1 May, International Labor Day; 23 July, which commemorates the revolution of 1952; and 6 October, Armed Forces Day, which marks the day in 1973 when the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal, surprising the Israeli army and scoring a minor military victory that, through later diplomacy, would lead to the return of Sinai to Egypt.

Labor Day in Egypt as elsewhere is used to salute the working class. The others mark important events in the recent political history of the country. All are official affairs, with little popular celebration.

The Arts and Humanities

Literature. Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz (b. 1911) is the best known of the many novelists, poets, and short-story writers whose works have been widely read and translated. Folk tales and folk epics survive but are not robust.

Graphic Arts. Painters are largely self-supporting through the sale of their paintings. There are many art galleries mostly concentrated in Cairo, and the acquisition of paintings has always been a sign of good taste and distinction among members of affluent social groups. Folk painting of house walls is well-known in rural Egypt.

Performance Arts. The Egyptian film industry is one of the oldest in the world. Film production is at once an art, an industry, and a trade. Egyptian films and television dramas are avidly consumed not just in Egypt but all over the Arab world. They range from tacky melodramas to internationally acclaimed, award-winning films of high artistic value. Film production is now almost exclusively in the private sector.

The most famous Egyptian singer was Umm Kalthum (d. 1975), whose songs are still broadcast all over the Arab world. Some more recent singers have also had considerable popularity inside and outside the country. There is also a Cairo Symphony Orchestra, a Cairo Opera Ballet, and other troupes producing classical music and dance.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

There are thirteen government universities, some of which have multiple branches, enrolling about one million students. The much smaller American University in Cairo is an old private university, and there are several new ones.

In general, the physical and social sciences are confined to academic departments of the various universities, and to state-sponsored research centers. There is now an increasing tendency to link scientific knowledge to social and economic demands, by emphasizing the "relevance" of such knowledge. Thus, the new Mubarak City for Scientists, which contains one institute for information technology and another for genetics, caters to the demands of industry. The need for research and development is accepted but the realization is more difficult.

The main university subjects took shape at Cairo University in the 1920s. Economics is probably the best developed of the social sciences, and political science and psychology are making progress. Sociology was founded at Cairo in 1925 and is now found in most universities.

The main centers for anthropology are Alexandria and the American University in Cairo. Anthropology is dominated by efforts to come to grips with contemporary patterns of change, often under the heading of development. The main thrust of anthropology in Egypt is not to improve cross-cultural understanding but instead to foster Egyptian development. There are few positions in anthropology, so most trained anthropologists gradually become generalists in development.

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Nicholas S. Hopkins and Reem Saad

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Egypt

PROFILE
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
NATIONAL SECURITY
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the March 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Arab Republic of Egypt

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1,001,450 sq. km. (386,000 sq. mi.); approximately equal to Texas and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Cairo (pop. estimated at 16 million). Other cities—Alexandria (6 million), Aswan, Asyut, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia.

Terrain: Desert, except Nile valley and delta.

Climate: Dry, hot summers; moderate winters.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Egyptian(s).

Population: (July 2006 est.) 78,887,007.

Annual growth rate: (2006 est.) 1.75%.

Ethnic groups: Egyptian, Bedouin Arab, Nubian.

Religions: Muslim 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%.

Languages: Arabic (official), English, French.

Education: Years compulsory—ages 6-15. Literacy—total adult: 58%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2006 est.)—31.33 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (2006 est.) 71 years.

Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: 1922.

Constitution: 1971.

Government branches: Executive—president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative—People's Assembly (444 elected and 10 presidentially appointed members) and Shura (consultative) Council (176 elected members, 88 presidentially appointed). Judicial—Supreme Constitutional Court.

Political subdivisions: 26 governorates.

Political parties: National Democratic Party (ruling). Principal opposition parties—New Wafd Party, Liberal Party, National Progressive Unionist Grouping (Tagammau), and Nasserite Party.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $303 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2005 est.)4.8%.

Per capita GDP: (2005 est.) $4,282.

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

Agriculture: Products—cotton, rice, onions, beans, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, barley, sugar.

Industry: Types—food processing, textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals, construction, light manufacturing, iron and steel products, aluminum, cement, military equipment.

Trade: (FY 2005) Exports—$14.3 billion: petroleum, clothing and textiles, cotton, fruits and vegetables, manufactured goods. Major markets—EU, U.S., Middle East, Japan. Imports—$24.1 billion: machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, livestock, food and beverages, paper and wood products, chemicals. Major suppliers—EU, U.S., Japan.

PEOPLE AND HISTORY

Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the second-most populous on the African Continent. Nearly all of the country's 79 million people live in Cairo and Alexandria; elsewhere on the banks of the Nile; in the Nile delta, which fans out north of Cairo; and along the Suez Canal. These regions are among the world's most densely populated, containing an average of over 3,820 persons per square mile (1,540 per sq. km.), as compared to 181 persons per sq. mi. for the country as a whole.

Small communities spread through-out the desert regions of Egypt are clustered around oases and historic trade and transportation routes. The government has tried with mixed success to encourage migration to newly irrigated land reclaimed from the desert. However, the proportion of the population living in rural areas has continued to decrease as people move to the cities in search of employment and a higher standard of living.

The Egyptians are a fairly homogeneous people of Hamitic origin. Mediterranean and Arab influences appear in the north, and there is some mixing in the south with the Nubians of northern Sudan. Ethnic minorities include a small number of Bedouin Arab nomads in the eastern and western deserts and in the Sinai, as well as some 50,000–100,000 Nubians clustered along the Nile in Upper (southern) Egypt.

The literacy rate is about 58% of the adult population. Education is free through university and compulsory from ages six through 15. Rates for primary and secondary education have strengthened in recent years. Ninety-three percent of children enter primary school today, compared with 87% in 1994. Major universities include Cairo University (100,000 students), Alexandria University, and the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University, one of the world's major centers of Islamic learning.

Egypt's vast and rich literature constitutes an important cultural element in the life of the country and in the Arab world as a whole. 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. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arab to win the Nobel prize for literature. Egyptian books and films are available throughout the Middle East.

Egypt has endured as a unified state for more than 5,000 years, and archeological evidence indicates that a developed Egyptian society has existed for much longer. Egyptians take pride in their “pharaonic heritage” and in their descent from what they consider mankind's earliest civilization. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr, which originally connoted “civilization” or “metropolis.”

Archeological findings show that primitive tribes lived along the Nile long before the dynastic history of the pharaohs began. By 6000 B.C., organized agriculture had appeared.

In about 3100 B.C., Egypt was united under a ruler known as Mena, or Menes, who inaugurated the 30 pharaonic dynasties into which Egypt's ancient history is divided—the Old and the Middle Kingdoms and the New Empire. The pyramids at Giza (near Cairo), which were built in the fourth dynasty, testify to the power of the pharaonic religion and state. The Great Pyramid, the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops), is the only surviving monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial extent in the period called the New Empire (1567–1085 B.C.).

Persian, Greek, Roman, and Arab Conquerors

In 525 B., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, led a Persian invasion force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty. The country remained a Persian province until conquered by Alexander the Great in 322 BC, ushering in Ptolemeic rule Egypt that lasted for nearly 300 years.

Following a brief Persian reconquest, Egypt was invaded and conquered by Arab forces in 642. A process of Arabization and Islamization ensued. Although a Coptic Christian minority remained—and remains today, constituting about 10% of the population—the Arab language inexorably supplanted the indigenous Coptic tongue. For the next 1,300 years, a succession of Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled the country.

European Influence

The Ottoman Turks controlled Egypt from 1517 until 1882, except for a brief period of French rule under Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1805, Mohammed Ali, commander of an Albanian contingent of Ottoman troops, was appointed Pasha, founding the dynasty that ruled Egypt until his great-great grandson, Farouk I, was overthrown in 1952. Mohammed Ali the Great ruled Egypt until 1848, writing the first chapter in the modern history of Egypt. The growth of modern urban Cairo began in the reign of Ismail (1863–79). Eager to Westernize the capital, he ordered the construction of a European-style city to the west of the medieval core. The Suez Canal was completed in his reign in 1869, and its completion was celebrated by many events, including the commissioning of Verdi's “Aida” for the new opera house and the building of great palaces such as the Omar Khayyam (originally constructed to entertain the French Empress Eugenie, which is now the central section of the Cairo Marriott Hotel).

In 1882, British expeditionary forces crushed a revolt against the Ottoman rulers, marking the beginning of British occupation and the virtual inclusion of Egypt within the British Empire. In deference to growing nationalism, the U.K. unilaterally declared Egyptian independence in 1922. British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt's political life and fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms.

In the pre-1952 revolution period, three political forces competed with one another: the Wafd, a broadly based nationalist political organization strongly opposed to British influence; King Fuad, whom the British had installed during World War II; and the British themselves, who were determined to maintain control over the Canal. Other political forces emerging in this period included the communist party (1925) and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928), which eventually became a potent political and religious force.

During World War II, British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied operations throughout the region. British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow after the war. On July 22-23, 1952, a group of disaffected army officers (the “free officers”) led by Lt.

Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, they abrogated the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on June 19, 1953. Nasser evolved into a charismatic leader, not only of Egypt, but the Arab world, promoting and implementing “Arab socialism.” He nationalized Egypt's economy.

Nasser helped establish the Non-Aligned Movement of developing countries in September 1961, and continued to be a leading force in the movement until his death in 1970. When the United States held up military sales in reaction to Egyptian neutrality vis-a-vis Moscow, Nasser concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia in September 1955.

When the U.S. and the World Bank withdrew their offer to help finance the Aswan High Dam in mid-1956, Nasser nationalized the privately owned Suez Canal Company. The crisis that followed, exacerbated by growing tensions with Israel over guerrilla attacks from Gaza and Israeli reprisals, resulted in the invasion of Egypt that October by France, Britain, and Israel.

Nasser's domestic policies were arbitrary and frequently oppressive, yet generally popular. All opposition was stamped out, and opponents of the regime frequently were imprisoned without trial. Nasser's foreign and military policies helped provoke the Israeli attack of June 1967 that virtually destroyed Egypt's armed forces along with those of Jordan and Syria. Israel also occupied the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Nasser, none-theless, was revered by the masses in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world until his death in 1970.

After Nasser's death, another of the original “free officers,” Vice President Anwar el-Sadat, was elected President. In 1971, Sadat concluded a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union, but a year later, ordered Soviet advisers to leave. In 1973, he launched the October war with Israel, in which Egypt's armed forces achieved initial successes but were defeated in Israeli counterattacks.

Camp David and the Peace Process

In a momentous change from the Nasser era, President Sadat shifted Egypt from a policy of confrontation with Israel to one of peaceful accommodation through negotiations. Following the Sinai Disengagement Agreements of 1974 and 1975, Sadat created a fresh opening for progress by his dramatic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. This led to President Jimmy Carter's invitation to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to join him in trilateral negotiations at Camp David.

The outcome was the historic Camp David accords, signed by Egypt and Israel and witnessed by the U.S. on September 17, 1978. The accords led to the March 26, 1979, signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, by which Egypt regained control of the Sinai in May 1982. Throughout this period, U.S.-Egyptian relations steadily improved, but Sadat's willingness to break ranks by making peace with Israel earned him the enmity of most other Arab states.

Domestic Change

Sadat introduced greater political freedom and a new economic policy, the most important aspect of which was the infitah or “open door.” This relaxed government controls over the economy and encouraged private, including foreign, investment. Sadat dismantled much of the existing political machine and brought to trial a number of former government officials accused of criminal excesses during the Nasser era.

Liberalization also included the reinstitution of due process and the legal banning of torture. Sadat tried to expand participation in the political process in the mid-1970s but later abandoned this effort. In the last years of his life, Egypt was racked by violence arising from discontent with Sadat's rule and sectarian tensions, and it experienced a renewed measure of repression.

From Sadat to Mubarak

On October 6, 1981, Islamic extremists assassinated President Sadat. Hosni Mubarak, Vice President since 1975 and air force commander during the October 1973 war, was elected President later that month. He was subsequently confirmed by popular referendum for four more 6-year terms, most recently in September 2005. Mubarak has maintained Egypt's commitment to the Camp David peace process, while at the same time re-establishing Egypt's position as an Arab leader. Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League in 1989. Egypt also has played a moderating role in such international fora as the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Since 1991, Mubarak has overseen a domestic economic reform program to reduce the size of the public sector and expand the role of the private sector. There has been less progress in political reform. The November 2000 People's Assembly elections saw 34 members of the opposition win seats in the 454-seat assembly, facing a clear majority of 388 ultimately affiliated with the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Opposition parties continue to face various difficulties in mounting credible electoral challenges to the NDP. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, remains an illegal organization and is not recognized as a political party (current Egyptian law prohibits the formation of political parties based on religion). Members are known publicly and openly speak their views, although they do not explicitly identify themselves as members of the organization. Members of the Brotherhood have been elected to the People's Assembly and local councils as independents, and most recently scored a major victory in 2005 parliamentary elections, winning 20% of the seats, thus forming the largest opposition group.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

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.

The November 2000 elections were generally considered to have been more transparent and better executed than past elections, because of universal judicial monitoring of polling stations. On the other hand, opposition parties continue to lodge credible complaints about electoral manipulation by the government. There are significant restrictions on the political process and freedom of expression for non-governmental organizations, including professional syndicates and organizations promoting respect for human rights.

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. Egypt's judicial system is based on European (primarily French) legal concepts and methods. Under the Mubarak government, the courts have demonstrated increasing independence, and the principles of due process and judicial review have gained greater respect. The legal code is derived largely from the Napoleonic Code. Marriage and personal status (family law) are primarily based on the religious law of the individual concerned, which for most Egyptians is Islamic Law (Sharia).

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

President: Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK

Prime Minister: Ahmed Mohamed NAZIF

Min. of Agriculture & Land Reclamation: Amin ABAZA

Min. of Awqaf (Religious Affairs): Mahmoud Hamdy ZAQZOUQ

Min. of Civil Aviation: Ahmed SHAFIQ

Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Tarek KAMEL

Min. of Culture: Farouq HOSNI

Min. of Defense: Mohamed Hussein TANTAWI, Fd. Mar.

Min. of Education: Yousri El-GAMAL

Min. of Electricity & Energy: Hassan Ahmed YOUNIS

Min. of Finance: Youssef BOUTROS-GHALI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Ahmed Ali ABOUL GHEIT

Min. of Foreign Trade & Industry: Rachid Mohamed RACHID

Min. of Health & Population: Hatem El-GABALI

Min. of Higher Education: Hani HILAL

Min. of Housing, Utilities, & Urban Communities: Ahmed El-MAGHRABI

Min. of Information: Anas El-FIQQI

Min. of Interior: Habib El-ADLY

Min. of International Cooperation: Fayza ABOUL NAGA

Min. of Investment: Mahmoud MOHIELDIN

Min. of Irrigation & Water Resources: Mahmoud ABU ZEID

Min. of Justice: Mamdouh MAREI

Min. of Legal Affairs & Parliamentary Councils: Moufed Mahmoud SHEHAB

Min. of Local Development: Abdel Salam al-MAHGOUB

Min. of Manpower & Immigration: Aisha ABDEL HADI

Min. of Military Production: Mohamed Hussein TANTAWI, Fd. Mar.

Min. of Petroleum: Sameh FAHMY

Min. of Planning: Osman Mohammed OSMAN

Min. of Public Business Sector: Mokhtar KHATTAB

Min. of Social Security: Ali MOSELHI

Min. of Tourism: Mohamed Zoheir GARANA

Min. of Transport: Mohamed Lotfi MANSOUR

Min. of State for Administrative Development: Ahmed DARWISH

Min. of State for Economic Development: Osman Mohammed OSMAN

Min. of State for Environment Affairs: Maged GEORGE

Min. of State for Local Development: Abdel-Rahim SHEHATA

Min. of State for Military Production: Sayed MESHAL

Min. of State for Scientific Research: Hani HILAL

Governor, Central Bank: Farouk Abdel Baky El-OKDA

Ambassador to the US: Nabil FAHMY

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Maged ABDEL FATTAH

Egypt maintains an embassy in the United States at 3521 International Court N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008 (tel. 202-895-5400). The Washington consulate has the same address (tel. 202-966-6342). The Egyptian Mission to the United Nations is located at 304 East 44th Street, New York, N.Y. (tel. 212-305-0300). Egyptian consulates general are located at: 1110 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10022 (tel. 212-759-7120); 1990 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 2180, Houston, TX, 77056 (tel. 713-961-4915); 500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1900, Chicago, IL, 60611 (tel. 312-828-9162); and 3001 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94115 (tel. 415-346-9700).

NATIONAL SECURITY

Egypt's armed forces, among the largest in the region, include the army, air defense, air force, and navy. The armed forces inventory includes equipment from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, and China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt. To bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states. Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner of the United States.

ECONOMY

With the installation of the 2004 Egyptian parliament, the Government of Egypt began a new reform movement, following a stalled economic reform program begun in 1991, but moribund since the mid-1990s. In the past year, the cabinet economic team has simplified and reduced tariffs and taxes, improved the transparency of the national budget, revived stalled privatizations of public enterprises and implemented economic legislation designed to foster private sector-driven economic growth and improve Egypt's competitiveness. Despite these achievements, the economy is still hampered by government intervention, substantial subsidies for food, housing, and energy, and bloated public sector payrolls. Moreover, the public sector still controls most heavy industry.

In sectoral terms, agriculture is mainly in private hands, and has been largely deregulated, with the exception of cotton and sugar production. Construction, non-financial services, and domestic marketing are also largely private. The Egyptian economy, however, relies heavily on tourism, oil and gas exports, and Suez Canal revenues, much of which is controlled by the public sector and is also vulnerable to outside factors.

The tourism sector suffered tremendously following a terrorist attack in Luxor in October 1997. The tourism sector feared a repeat of the downturn in tourist numbers when terrorists attacked resorts in the Sinai Peninsula in 2004 and 2005. So far, however, the sector has not suffered as greatly as expected.

The U.S. has a large assistance program in Egypt and provides funding for a variety of programs in addition to some cash transfers. A portion of U.S. assistance to Egypt under the 2003 Iraq war supplemental appropriations was provided in the form of bond guarantees, which were contingent upon Egyptian compliance with a series of economic conditions. Egypt met the conditions and in September 2005 issued $1.25 billion in 10-year bonds that were fully guaranteed by the United States.

To support the Middle East peace process through regional economic integration, the United States permits products to be imported from Egypt without tariffs if they have been produced in Qualified Industrial Zones and 11.7% of the inputs of these products originate from Israel.

Agriculture

Approximately one-third of Egyptian labor is engaged directly in farming, and many others work in the processing or trading of agricultural products. Nearly all of Egypt's agricultural production takes place in some 2.5 million hectares (6 million acres) of fertile soil in the Nile Valley and Delta. Some desert lands are being developed for agriculture, including the ambitious Toshka project in Upper Egypt, but some other fertile lands in the Nile Valley and Delta are being lost to urbanization and erosion.

Warm weather and plentiful water permit several crops a year. Further improvement is possible, but land is worked intensively and yields are high. Cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane, sugar beets, onions, and beans are the principal crops. Increasingly, a few modern operations are producing fruits, vegetables and flowers, in addition to cotton, for export. While the desert hosts some large, modern farms, more common traditional farms occupy one acre each, typically in a canal-irrigated area along the banks of the Nile. Many small farmers also have cows, water buffaloes, and chicken, although larger modern farms are becoming more important.

The United States is a major supplier of wheat, corn, and soybean products to Egypt, almost all through commercial sales. Egypt is, in fact, traditionally the U.S.'s largest market for wheat sales. U.S. agricultural sales to Egypt average $1 billion annually. U.S. food assistance programs to Egypt ended in 1992 as Egypt became more prosperous. Egypt continues to receive modest food assistance through the World Food Program and from France.

“Egypt,” wrote the Greek historian Herodotus 25 centuries ago, “is the gift of the Nile.” The land's seemingly inexhaustible resources of water and soil carried by this mighty river created in the Nile Valley and Delta the world's most extensive oasis. Without the Nile, Egypt would be little more than a desert wasteland.

The river carves a narrow, cultivated floodplain, never more than 20 kilometers wide, as it travels northward toward Cairo from Lake Nasser on the Sudanese border, behind the Aswan High Dam. Just north of Cairo, the Nile spreads out over what was once a broad estuary that has been filled by riverine deposits to form a fertile delta about 250 kilometers wide (150 mi.) at the seaward base and about 160 kilometers (96 mi.) from south to north.

Before the construction of dams on the Nile, particularly the Aswan High Dam (started in 1952, completed in 1970), the fertility of the Nile Valley was sustained by the water flow and the silt deposited by the annual flood. Sediment is now obstructed by the Aswan High Dam and retained in Lake Nasser. The interruption of yearly, natural fertilization and the increasing salinity of the soil has been a manageable problem resulting from the dam. The benefits remain impressive: more intensive farming on millions of acres of land made possible by improved irrigation, prevention of flood damage, and the generation of billions of low-cost kilo-watt hours of electricity.

The Western Desert accounts for about two-thirds of the country's land area. For the most part, it is a massive sandy plateau marked by seven major depressions. One of these, Fayoum, was connected about 3,600 years ago to the Nile by canals. Today, it is an important irrigated agricultural area

Natural Resources

In addition to the agricultural capacity of the Nile Valley and Delta, Egypt's natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, and iron ore. Crude oil is found primarily in the Gulf of Suez and in the Western Desert. Natural gas is found mainly in the Nile Delta, off the Mediterranean seashore, and in the Western Desert. Oil and gas accounts for approximately 12% of GDP. Export of petroleum and related products (including bunker and aviation sales) amounted to $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2003-04.

Crude oil production has been in decline for several years, from a high of more than 920,000 barrels per day (BPD) in 1995 to less than 662,000 BPD as of April 2006. To minimize the growing domestic demand of petroleum products, currently estimated at 25 million metric tons per year, Egypt is encouraging the production of natural gas. Over a 5-year period, production of natural gas increased by approximately 75% to reach about 3.3 billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) by the end of FY 2003/04. Currently, gas accounts for almost 50% of all hydrocarbon usage in Egypt.

Over the last 22 years, more than 230 oil and gas exploration agreements have been signed and multinational oil companies spent more than $27 billion in exploration companions. As of September 2003, crude oil reserves were estimated at 2.8 billion barrels, and proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 62 trillion cubic feet (TCF) with probable additional reserves totaling another 40-60 TCF. Texas-based Apache Oil Company is the largest American investor in Egypt, with a total investment of more than $2.8 billion since 1996.

Egypt's excess of natural gas will more than meet its domestic demand for many years to come. The Ministry of Petroleum has determined that expanding the Egyptian petrochemical industry and increasing exports of natural gas as its most significant strategic objectives. As of September 2005, three liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains had been in operation. The first is in Damietta on the eastern side of the Delta and started exporting in early 2005. It is headed by the Spanish electric utility, Union Fenosa. The second LNG project is located at Idku on the western side of the Delta and started exporting in 2005. The first train started in April 2005, and the second in September. British Gas (BG) Group and the Malaysian state oil company Petronas are the major investors. Another project that will utilize gas for export and domestic consumption is the Mediterranean Gas Complex in Port Said where the Italian company AGIP and BP are the main shareholders. This facility will have a total cost of about $315 million and went on line in late 2004.

Egypt and Jordan established the Eastern Gas Company to export natural gas to Jordan, and then later to Syria and Lebanon. In summer 2003 Egypt began exporting gas to Jordan via a new pipeline from El Arish on Egypt's north Sinai cost to Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba, and then underwater to the Jordanian city of Aqaba. Gas exports to Jordan generated gross revenues of approximately $60 million in 2003/04 and are currently reaching $85-100 million.

Transportation and Communication

Transportation facilities in Egypt are centered in Cairo and largely follow the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation's 4,800-kilometer (2,800-mi.) railway network runs from Alexandria to Aswan. The well-maintained road network has expanded rapidly to over 21,000 miles, covering the Nile Valley and Delta, Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, the Sinai, and the Western oases.

Egypt Air provides reliable domestic air service to major tourist destinations from its Cairo hub, in addition to overseas routes. The Nile River system (about 1,600 km. or 1,000 mi.) and the principal canals (1,600 km.) are important locally for transportation. The Suez Canal is a major waterway of international commerce and navigation, linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Major ports are Alexandria, Port Said, and Damietta on the Mediterranean, and Suez and Safraga on the Red Sea.

Egypt has long been the cultural and informational center of the Arab world, and Cairo is the region's largest publishing and broadcasting center. There are eight daily newspapers with a total circulation of more than 2 million, and a number of monthly newspapers, magazines, and journals. The majority of political parties have their own newspapers, and these papers conduct a lively, often highly partisan, debate on public issues.

Egyptian ground-broadcast television (ETV) is government controlled and depends heavily on commercial revenue. ETV sells its specially produced programs and soap operas to the entire Arab world. In addition to Egyptian programming, the Middle East Broadcast Company, a Saudi television station transmitting from London (MBC), Arab Radio and Television (ART), Al-Jazeera television, and other Gulf stations as well as Western networks such as CNN and BBC, provide access to more international programs to Egyptians who own satellite receivers.

ETV has two main channels, six regional channels, and three satellite channels. Of the two main channels, Channel I uses mainly Arabic, while Channel II is dedicated to foreigners and more cultured viewers, broadcasting news in English and French as well as Arabic.

Egyptian Satellite channels broadcast to the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. East Coast. In April 1998, Egypt launched its own satellite known as NileSat 101. Seven specialized channels cover news, culture, sports, education, entertainment, health, and drama. A second, digital satellite, Nilesat 102, was launched in August 2000. Many of its channels are rented to other stations.

Three new private satellite-based TV stations were launched in November 2001, marking a great change in Egyptian government policy. Dream TV 1 and 2 produce cultural programming, broadcast contemporary video clips and films featuring Arab and international actors, as well as soap operas; another private station focuses on business and general news. Both private channels transmit on NileSat.

Radio in Egypt almost all government controlled, using 44 short-wave frequencies, 18 medium-wave stations, and four FM stations. There are seven regional radio stations covering the country. Egyptian Radio transmits 60 hours daily overseas in 33 languages and three hundred hours daily within Egypt. In 2000, Radio Cairo introduced new specialized (thematic) channels on its FM station. So far, they include news, music, and sports. Radio enjoys more freedom than TV in its news programs, talk shows and analysis.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Geography, population, history, military strength, and diplomatic expertise give Egypt extensive political influence in the Middle East and within the Non-Aligned Movement as a whole. Cairo has been a crossroads of Arab commerce and culture for millennia, and its intellectual and Islamic institutions are at the center of the region's social and cultural development.

The Arab League headquarters is in Cairo, and the Secretary General of the League is traditionally an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa is the present Secretary General of the Arab League. President Mubarak has often chaired the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity). Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.

Egypt is a key partner in the search for peace in the Middle East and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sadat's groundbreaking trip to Israel in 1977, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty represented a fundamental shift in the politics of the region—from a strategy of confrontation to one of peace as a strategic choice. Egypt was subsequently ostracized by other Arab states and ejected from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989. Egypt played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, which, under U.S. and Russian sponsorship, brought together all parties in the region to discuss Middle East peace. This support has continued to the present, with President Mubarak often intervening personally to promote peace negotiations. In 1996, he hosted the Sharm El-Sheikh “Summit of the Peacemakers” attended by President Clinton and other world leaders. In 2000, he hosted two summits at Sharm El-Sheikh and one at Taba in an effort to resume the Camp David negotiations suspended in July of 2000, and in June 2003, Mubarak hosted President Bush for another summit on the Middle East peace process.

Throughout mid-2004, Egypt worked closely with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to facilitate stability following Israe's withdrawal from Gaza, which occurred in August and September of 2005. Prior to this Egypt and Israel reached an agreement that allowed Egypt to deploy additional forces along the Philadel-phi Corridor in an attempt to control the border and prevent the smuggling of weapons.

Egypt played a key role during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis. President Mubarak helped assemble the international coalition and deployed 35,000 Egyptian troops against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. The Egyptian contingent was the third-largest in the coalition forces, after the U.S. and U.K. In the aftermath of the Gulf war, Egypt signed the Damascus declaration with Syria and the Gulf states to strengthen Gulf security. Egypt continues to contribute regularly to UN peacekeeping missions, most recently in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. In August 2004, Egypt was actively engaged in seeking a solution to the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, including the dispatch of military monitors. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Egypt, which has itself been the target of terrorist attacks, has been a key supporter of the U.S. war against terrorists and terrorist organizations such as Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, and actively supported the Iraqi Governing Council, as well as the subsequent government of Prime Minister Allawi. In July 2005, terrorists attacked the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh. In the same month, Egypt's envoy to Iraq was assassinated.

U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Egypt enjoy a strong and friendly relationship based on shared mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, revitalizing the Egyptian economy and strengthening trade relations, and promoting regional security. Over the years, Egypt and the United States have worked together assiduously to expand Middle East peace negotiations, hosting talks, negotiations, and the Middle East and North Africa Economic (MENA) Conference. Multinational exercises, U.S. assistance to Egypt's military modernization program, and Egypt's role as a contributor to various UN peacekeeping operations continually reinforce the U.S.-Egyptian military relationship.

An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979. U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided over $25 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt between 1975 and 2002. A shift in assistance from infrastructure, health, food supply, and agriculture toward market-based economic development, good governance, and training programs is reflected in the motto, “From Aid to Trade.” The Commodity Import Program, through which USAID provides hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to enable the Egyptian private sector to import U.S. goods, remains one of the largest and most popular USAID programs. Since 2003, U.S. assistance is also focusing more on economic reform, education, civil society, and other programs supported by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). U.S. military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and strengthen regional security and stability. Under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs, the U.S. has provided F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M-60A3 and M1A1 tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, antiaircraft missile batteries, aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment. The U.S. and Egypt also participate in combined military exercises, including deployments of U.S. troops to Egypt. Every other year, Egypt hosts Operation Bright Star, a multilateral military exercise with the U.S., and the largest military exercise in the region. Units of the U.S. 6th Fleet are regular visitors to Egyptian ports.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

ALEXANDRIA (BO) 3 Pharaana Street, APO/FPO Unit 64900, Box X, APO, AE09839-4900, (20) (3) 486-1009, Fax (20) (3) 487-3811, Workweek: SUN-THU, 8:00am-4:30pm.

PO:Justin Siberell

CAIRO (E) 8 Kamal El Din Salah St., Garden City, Cairo., APO/FPO Unit 64900, Box xx, APO, AE 09839, (20) (2) 2797-3300, Fax (20) (2) 2797-3200, INMARSAT Tel (683) 142-919, Workweek: SUN-THU -0800-1630, Website: http://cairo.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Mona Blaibel
AMB OMS:Anissa Hanson
DCM/CHG:Stuart E. Jones
DHS/CIS:
DHS/ICE:
ECO:Catherine Hill-Herndon
FCS:Amer Kayani
FM:Ken Schroeder
MGT:Dolores M. Brown
POL ECO:William Stewart
AMB:Francis J. Ricciardone
CG:Richard Hermann
CON:David Potter
PAO:Haynes Mahoney
GSO:Kevin Blackstone
RSO:Stephen F. Smith
AFSA:Anne Wennerstrom
AGR:Peter Kurz
APHIS:Dr. Linda Logan-Henfrey
CLO:Craig Gerard
DAO:Kenneth Shive
DEA:Donald Barnes
EEO:Anissa Hanson
FMO:Anne Wennerstrom
ICASS:Chair Donald Barnes
IMO:Michael Cesena
IRS:Kathy J. Beck (Resident In Paris)
ISO:Kenneth Hill
ISSO:Elizabeth Whitt-Murphy
LEGATT:Nael Sabha

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

June 20, 2007

Country Description: Egypt is a republic with a developing economy. It has extensive facilities for tourists.

Entry Requirements: A passport and visa are required. Travelers can obtain a renewable 30-day tourist visa on arrival at an Egyptian Airport for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Visitors arriving overland and/or those previously experiencing difficulty with their visa status in Egypt should obtain a visa prior to arrival. Travelers arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing must have a visa prior to their arrival, otherwise they are granted a no-fee 14-day visa valid for travel within Sinai only, or they may buy a 30-day tourist visa for $15 upon submission of a travel agency support letter. The letters are obtainable from travel agents at the border; however, their fees for providing this service vary. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements. Foreigners can acquire a work permit from the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration offices in the district of the employer, and accordingly are authorized residency in the country. Work permits must be obtained through the employer. Foreigners are generally not allowed to change residency status from nonworking to working status while in the country. Proof of yellow fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Evidence of an AIDS test is required for everyone staying over 30 days for the purpos of studying or working in Egypt. Visit the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at http://www.mfa.gov.eg for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: Egypt suffered a series of deadly terrorist attacks in or near tourist sites in 2004, 2005, and 2006—often coinciding with major local holidays. Prior to the October 2004 attack, there had been no terrorist incidents involving tourists in Egypt since the mid 1990s. Americans should be especially vigilant in crowded tourist areas in the Sinai, practice good personal security measures, and be alert to their surroundings. A heavy security presence is apparent to travelers throughout the country. Americans are encouraged to visit the U.S. Embassy in Cairo website for the most up-to-date security information.

Since October 2004, three major coordinated terrorist bombings targeting the Sinai Peninsula's tourist infrastructure caused many deaths and hundreds of injuries, mostly to Egyptian nationals. U.S. citizens do not appear to have been targeted in any of these incidents, but many non-Egyptian tourists, including Americans, were killed or injured in these attacks.

Three explosions in the town of Dahab in April 2006 killed over 20 people and wounded at least 80 additional people, including five U.S. citizens. In July 2005, three explosions in Sharm el Sheikh killed over 60 people, including one American. In October 2004, three bombs detonated in Taba and two nearby tourist camps, killing 34 people, including one American. Evidence of instability in the Sinai has also been reflected in random attacks on vehicles transiting the interior and two bomb attacks on Multinational Force Observers near the Rafah border crossing in August 2005 and April 2006.

While the Egyptian Government took measures against the perpetrators of the 2004 and 2005 attacks, the April 2006 bombings reflect a persistent, indigenous threat of terror activities in the Sinai.

Travelers seeking to cross the Egyptian-Gaza border at Rafah are likely to encounter difficulty. The border is frequently closed and re-openings are announced on short notice. Travelers wishing to cross this border should contact the American Consulate General in Jerusalem for more information on the current status of the border crossing. U.S. citizens who still plan to visit the Sinai in spite of the persistent threat of terrorist attacks should exercise great caution. As any-where, travelers may gain a measure of safety by remaining particularly alert to their surroundings, by avoiding crowded tourist areas, and by visiting destination resorts and hotels with significant physical setback and security procedures.

In addition to the Sinai attacks, there were three terror attacks on crowded tourist destinations in Cairo in April 2005. In one, a lone suicide bomber killed three foreigners, including an American, at Cairo's Khan el-Khalili Market. Three Americans were seriously injured in this incident.

There have been instances of instability and public disorder in some other areas of Egypt, most notably in the Nile Valley governorates of Assiut and Sohag, located between Cairo and Luxor. These governorates, along with the adjacent governorates of Minya and Qena, have been areas of extremist activity in the past. U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to these areas (apart from Luxor and adjacent tourist destinations) require advance approval. Egyptian authorities also restrict the travel of foreigners in these governorates. American citizens planning to travel in these areas should contact the Embassy prior to travel.

Public demonstrations occasionally take place in areas such as Tahrir Square in Cairo and in the vicinity of universities and mosques following the Friday noon prayers, including the Azhar mosque across from the Khan El Khalili Bazaar area. These demonstrations are typically accompanied by a heavy security presence. Roads in the vicinity are often closed. Americans should remain attuned to readily-available English-languag media outlets and avoid all public demonstrations. Travelers to Egypt's frontiers, including the borders with Libya, Sudan, and Israel and parts of the Sinai off the main, paved roads, must obtain permission from the Travel Permits Department of the Ministry of the Interior, located at the corner of Sheikh Rihan and Nubar Streets in downtown Cairo.

In addition, travelers should be aware that landmines have caused many casualties, including deaths of Americans, in Egypt. All travelers should check with local authorities before embarking on off-road travel. Known minefields are not reliably marked by signs, but are sometimes enclosed by barbed wire. After heavy rains, which can cause flooding and the consequent shifting of landmines, travelers should take care driving through build-ups of sand on road-ways. Though mines are found in other parts of Egypt, the highest concentrations are in World War II battlefields along the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, the Eastern Desert between Cairo and the Suez Canal, and much of the Sinai Peninsula. Travelers are urged to be especially prudent in these areas.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert and the Middle East and North Africa Travel Alert, can be found. Consular information is also available via the Internet on the U.S. Embassy Cairo's website. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. A recording of the most recent Embassy message to American citizens in Egypt concerning security can be heard on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo's number, 011-2-02-797-3000.

Crime: The crime rate in Egypt is low. While incidents of violence are rare, purse-snatching, pick-pocketing and petty theft does occur. Travelers are strongly cautioned not to leave valuables such as cash, jewelry, and electronic items unsecured in hotel rooms or unattended in public places. Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/ or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at http://www.cybercrime.gov/18usc2320.htm.

Many marriages between Egyptians and Americans are successful. However, the Embassy warns against marriage fraud on the part of the American or the Egyptian. Entering into a marriage contract for the principal purpose of facilitating immigration to the United States for an alien is against U.S. law and can result in serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment for the American citizen and the Egyptian. At the same time, it is not uncommon for Egyptians to enter into marriages with Americans solely for immigration purposes. Relationships developed via correspondence, particularly those begun on the Internet, are particularly susceptible to manipulation. The US government urges Americans who meet Egyptians on the Internet or while touring the country, to take the time necessary to get to know them before considering marriage. Unfortunately, the Embassy sees many cases of abuse against American spouses and often the marriages end in divorce when the Egyptian acquires a green card or citizenship in the U.S. These cases invariably occur when the relationship is based mostly on Internet communication and very little face-to-face interaction.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy consular staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Consular officials can assist you to identify appropriate resources.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: There are many Western-trained medical professionals in Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo can provide a list of local hospitals and English-speaking physicians. Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters, particularly in tourist areas. Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Facilities outside Cairo, Alexandria, and Sharm El Sheikh fall short of U.S. standards. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship's doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain qualification. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and they are nonexistent at most other ports-of-call.

Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. Persons who swim in the Nile or its canals, walk barefoot in stagnant water, or drink untreated water are at risk of exposure to bacterial and other infections and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia). It is generally safe to eat properly-prepared, thoroughly-cooked meat and vegetables in tourist hotels, on Nile cruise boats, and in tourist restaurants. Eating uncooked vegetables should be avoided. Tap water is not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Avian Influenza: The WHO and Egyptian authorities have confirmed human cases of the H5NI strain of avian influenza, commonly known as the “bird flu,” in Egypt. As of March 2006, Egypt had thirty-four confirmed human cases of avian influenza, resulting in fourteen deaths.

Travelers to Egypt and other countries affected by the virus are cautioned to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend eating only fully-cooked poultry and eggs. For the most current information and links on avian influenza see the State Department's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet and visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo at http://cairo.usembassy.gov.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Egypt is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Egypt, a country with one of the highest incidences of road fatalities per miles driven in the world, is a challenge. Even seasoned residents of Cairo must use extraordinary care and situational awareness to navigate the hectic streets of the capital. Traffic rules appear to be routinely ignored by impatient drivers. Any visiting Americans thinking about driving in Cairo should carefully consider the options, take the utmost precautions, and drive defensively. Drivers should be prepared for unlit vehicles at night, few if any road markings, vehicles traveling at high rates of speed, vehicles traveling the wrong way on one-way streets, divided highways, and connecting ramps, pedestrians constantly dodging in and out of traffic and a variety of animals.

Most traffic lights in Cairo appear not to function, but rather are staffed by policemen who use subtle finger movements to indicate which cars may move. Pedestrians should also exercise extreme caution when traversing roadways, especially in high-volume/high-velocity streets like Cairo's Corniche, which follows the east bank of the Nile River. Motorists in Egypt should be especially cautious during the rare winter rains, which can cause extremely slippery road surfaces or localized flooding.

Public mini-and microbuses are not safe; the Embassy strongly recommends that its personnel not use them. In 2006, there were two serious accidents involving international tourist buses on highways outside of Cairo in which a number of foreign tourists were killed. Intercity roads are generally in good condition, but unmarked surfaces, stray animals, and disabled vehicles without lights or reflectors are among the many hazards that can be encountered on highways, especially after dark. Embassy personnel in Egypt are prohibited from traveling outside Cairo on official business after sunset.

In addition, some roads, especially in the Sinai and southeastern part of the country, are off-limits to foreigners. Traffic warning signs should be respected.

Trains are usually a safe means of transportation in Egypt. In 2006, there were several accidents involving the collision of third-class passenger trains in the Delta area in which a number of Egyptian nationals were killed or injured. Visit the website of Egypt's national tourist office and national authority for road safety at www.egypttourism.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Egypt's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: There are restrictions on photographing military personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal. Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially-sensitive structures, such as embassies, other public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices. Visitors should also refrain from taking photographs of any uniformed personnel. In addition to being subject to all Egyptian laws, U.S. citizens of Egyptian origin may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Egyptian citizens. The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens even if they were not issued an Egyptian birth certificate or a passport. Americans married to Egyptians do not need their spouse's permission to depart Egypt as long as they have a valid Egyptian visa. Dual nationals residing in Egypt for more than six months from the date of arrival require proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family I.D. card. Male dual nationals staying in Egypt for more than six months from the date of arrival and who have not completed military service are not generally required to enlist in the armed forces.

However, they must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before they can leave Egypt. Individuals who may be affected can inquire at an Egyptian consulate abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual Egyptian-American nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are normally treated as Egyptian citizens by the local government. The ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to those traveling on Egyptian passports is extremely limited.

Services for U.S. Companies: The U.S. Department of Commerce's Officers and Commercial Specialists are available for counseling U.S. business representatives on market entry opportunities and techniques. They actively support U.S. companies who are bidding on projects, advocate on their behalf and assist in removing trade barriers. For specific questions, please contact [email protected] mail.doc.gov or visit www.buyusa.gov.

Marriage in Egypt: The Egyptian government allows Americans to marry in Egypt. However, the Government of Egypt requires the U.S. Embassy to provide a written affidavit objecting to or approving the marriage of U.S. citizens. The U.S. government does not have legal authority to either approve or object to the marriage of American citizens. As such, the Consular Section of the Embassy is currently not providing the affidavit required by the Egyptian Government to authorize the marriage of a foreigner in Egypt. The Embassy continues to pursue this with Egyptian officials.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Egyptian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Egypt are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Egypt are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Egypt. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street, Garden City, Cairo, telephone (20) 2 2797-2301. Walk-in working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. Phone inquiries are between 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The latest Embassy warden message can be heard on (20) 2 2797-3000. For emergencies after-hours, U.S. citizens may reach the Embassy duty officer via (20) 2 2797-3300. The Consular Section American Citizens Services unit fax number is (20) 2 2797-3602.

The mailing address from the United States is: Consular Section, Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900. Within Egypt or from a third country, it is 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo. The Consular Section's e-mail address is [email protected] Consular information is available via the Internet on the Embassy website http://cairo.usembassy.gov. Visa-related inquiries should be directed by e-mail to [email protected] Once a month, American Citizens Services are available at the American Center, 3 Pharana Street, Azarita, Alexandria, and every five to ten weeks, American Citizens Services are available at the Cairo American College, Maadi. Please check the Embassy web site for dates and times of available services.

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Egypt

Compiled from the August 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Arab Republic of Egypt

PROFILE

PEOPLE AND HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

NATIONAL SECURITY

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1,001,450 sq. km. (386,000 sq. mi.); approximately equal to Texas and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Cairo (pop. estimated at 16 million). Other cities—Alexandria (6 million), Aswan, Asyut, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia.

Terrain: Desert, except Nile valley and delta.

Climate: Dry, hot summers; moderate winters.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Egyptian(s).

Population: (July 2006 est.) 78,887,007.

Annual growth rate: (2006 est.) 1.75%.

Ethnic groups: Egyptian, Bedouin Arab, Nubian.

Religions: Muslim 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%.

Languages: Arabic (official), English, French.

Education: Years compulsory—ages 6-15. Literacy—total adult: 58%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2006 est.)—31.33 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy: (2006 est.) 71 years.

Government

Type: Republic.

Independence: 1922.

Constitution: 1971.

Government branches: Executive—president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative—People’s Assembly (444 elected and 10 presidentially appointed members) and Shura (consultative) Council (176 elected members, 88 presidentially appointed). Judicial—Supreme Constitutional Court.

Political subdivisions: 26 governorates.

Political parties: National Democratic Party (ruling). Principal opposition parties—New Wafd Party, Liberal Party, National Progressive Unionist Grouping (Tagammau), and Nasserite Party.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $303 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2005 est.) 4.8%.

Per capita GDP: (2005 est.) $4,282.

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

Agriculture: Products—cotton, rice, onions, beans, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, barley, sugar.

Industry: Types—food processing, textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals, construction, light manufacturing, iron and steel products, aluminum, cement, military equipment.

Trade: (FY 2005) Exports—$14.3 billion: petroleum, clothing and textiles, cotton, fruits and vegetables, manufactured goods. Major markets—EU, U.S., Middle East, Japan. Imports—$24.1 billion: machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, livestock, food and beverages, paper and wood products, chemicals. Major suppliers—EU, U.S., Japan.

PEOPLE AND HISTORY

Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the second-most populous on the African Continent. Nearly all of the country’s 79 million people live in Cairo and Alexandria; elsewhere on the banks of the Nile; in the Nile delta, which fans out north of Cairo; and along the Suez Canal. These regions are among the world’s most densely populated, containing an average of over 3,820 persons per square mile (1,540 per sq. km.), as compared to 181 persons per sq. mi. for the country as a whole.

Small communities spread throughout the desert regions of Egypt are clustered around oases and historic trade and transportation routes. The government has tried with mixed success to encourage migration to newly irrigated land reclaimed from the desert. However, the proportion of the population living in rural areas has continued to decrease as people move to the cities in search of employment and a higher standard of living.

The Egyptians are a fairly homogeneous people of Hamitic origin. Mediterranean and Arab influences appear in the north, and there is some mixing in the south with the Nubians of northern Sudan. Ethnic minorities include a small number of Bedouin Arab nomads in the eastern and western deserts and in the Sinai, as well as some 50,000-100,000 Nubians clustered along the Nile in Upper (southern) Egypt.

The literacy rate is about 58% of the adult population. Education is free through university and compulsory from ages six through 15. Rates for primary and secondary education have strengthened in recent years. Ninety-three percent of children enter primary school today, compared with 87% in 1994. Major universities include Cairo University (100,000 students), Alexandria University, and the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University, one of the world’s major centers of Islamic learning.

Egypt’s vast and rich literature constitutes an important cultural element in the life of the country and in the Arab world as a whole. 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. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arab to win the Nobel prize for literature. Egyptian books and films are available throughout the Middle East.

Egypt has endured as a unified state for more than 5,000 years, and archeological evidence indicates that a developed Egyptian society has existed for much longer. Egyptians take pride in their “pharaonic heritage” and in their descent from what they consider mankind’s earliest civilization. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr, which originally connoted “civilization” or “metropolis.”

Archeological findings show that primitive tribes lived along the Nile long before the dynastic history of the pharaohs began. By 6000 B.C., organized agriculture had appeared.

In about 3100 B.C., Egypt was united under a ruler known as Mena, or Menes, who inaugurated the 30 pharaonic dynasties into which Egypt’s ancient history is divided—the Old and the Middle Kingdoms and the New Empire. The pyramids at Giza (near Cairo), which were built in the fourth dynasty, testify to the power of the pharaonic religion and state. The Great Pyramid, the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops), is the only surviving monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial extent in the period called the New Empire (1567-1085 B.C.).

Persian, Greek, Roman, and Arab Conquerors

In 525 B., Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, led a Persian invasion force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty. The country remained a Persian province until conquered by Alexander the Great in 322 BC, ushering in Ptolemeic rule Egypt that lasted for nearly 300 years.

Following a brief Persian reconquest, Egypt was invaded and conquered by Arab forces in 642. A process of Arabization and Islamization ensued. Although a Coptic Christian minority remained—and remains today, constituting about 10% of the population—the Arab language inexorably supplanted the indigenous Coptic tongue. For the next 1,300 years, a succession of Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled the country.

European Influence

The Ottoman Turks controlled Egypt from 1517 until 1882, except for a brief period of French rule under Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1805, Mohammed Ali, commander of an Albanian contingent of Ottoman troops, was appointed Pasha, founding the dynasty that ruled Egypt until his great-great grandson, Farouk I, was overthrown in 1952. Mohammed Ali the Great ruled Egypt until 1848, writing the first chapter in the modern history of Egypt. The growth of modern urban Cairo began in the reign of Ismail (1863-79). Eager to Westernize the capital, he ordered the construction of a European-style city to the west of the medieval core. The Suez Canal was completed in his reign in 1869, and its completion was celebrated by many events, including the commissioning of Verdi’s “Aida” for the new opera house and the building of great palaces such as the Omar Khayyam (originally constructed to entertain the French Empress Eugenie, which is now the central section of the Cairo Marriott Hotel).

In 1882, British expeditionary forces crushed a revolt against the Ottoman rulers, marking the beginning of British occupation and the virtual inclusion of Egypt within the British Empire. In deference to growing nationalism, the U.K. unilaterally declared Egyptian independence in 1922. British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt’s political life and fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms.

In the pre-1952 revolution period, three political forces competed with one another: the Wafd, a broadly based nationalist political organization strongly opposed to British influence; King Fuad, whom the British had installed during World War II; and the British themselves, who were determined to maintain control over the Canal. Other political forces emerging in this period included the communist party (1925) and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928), which eventually became a potent political and religious force.

During World War II, British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied operations throughout the region. British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow after the war. On July 22-23, 1952, a group of disaffected army officers (the “free officers”) led by Lt.

Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt’s poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, they abrogated the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on June 19, 1953. Nasser evolved into a charismatic leader, not only of Egypt, but the Arab world, promoting and implementing “Arab socialism.” He nationalized Egypt’s economy.

Nasser helped establish the Non-Aligned Movement of developing countries in September 1961, and continued to be a leading force in the movement until his death in 1970. When the United States held up military sales in reaction to Egyptian neutrality vis-à-vis Moscow, Nasser concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia in September 1955. When the U.S. and the World Bank withdrew their offer to help finance the Aswan High Dam in mid-1956, Nasser nationalized the privately owned Suez Canal Company. The crisis that followed, exacerbated by growing tensions with Israel over guerrilla attacks from Gaza and Israeli reprisals, resulted in the invasion of Egypt that October by France, Britain, and Israel. Nasser’s domestic policies were arbitrary and frequently oppressive, yet generally popular. All opposition was stamped out, and opponents of the regime frequently were imprisoned without trial. Nasser’s foreign and military policies helped provoke the Israeli attack of June 1967 that virtually destroyed Egypt’s armed forces along with those of Jordan and Syria. Israel also occupied the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Nasser, nonetheless, was revered by the masses in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world until his death in 1970.

After Nasser’s death, another of the original “free officers,” Vice President Anwar el-Sadat, was elected President. In 1971, Sadat concluded a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union, but a year later, ordered Soviet advisers to leave. In 1973, he launched the October war with Israel, in which Egypt’s armed forces achieved initial successes but were defeated in Israeli counterattacks.

Camp David and the Peace Process

In a momentous change from the Nasser era, President Sadat shifted Egypt from a policy of confrontation with Israel to one of peaceful accommodation through negotiations. Following the Sinai Disengagement Agreements of 1974 and 1975, Sadat created a fresh opening for progress by his dramatic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. This led to President Jimmy Carter’s invitation to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to join him in trilateral negotiations at Camp David.

The outcome was the historic Camp David accords, signed by Egypt and Israel and witnessed by the U.S. on September 17, 1978. The accords led to the March 26, 1979, signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, by which Egypt regained control of the Sinai in May 1982. Throughout this period, U.S.-Egyptian relations steadily improved, but Sadat’s willingness to break ranks by making peace with Israel earned him the enmity of most other Arab states.

Domestic Change

Sadat introduced greater political freedom and a new economic policy, the most important aspect of which was the infitah or “open door.” This relaxed government controls over the economy and encouraged private, including foreign, investment. Sadat dismantled much of the existing political machine and brought to trial a number of former government officials accused of criminal excesses during the Nasser era.

Liberalization also included the reinstitution of due process and the legal banning of torture. Sadat tried to expand participation in the political process in the mid-1970s but later abandoned this effort. In the last years of his life, Egypt was racked by violence arising from discontent with Sadat’s rule and sectarian tensions, and it experienced a renewed measure of repression.

From Sadat to Mubarak

On October 6, 1981, Islamic extremists assassinated President Sadat. Hosni Mubarak, Vice President since 1975 and air force commander during the October 1973 war, was elected President later that month. He was subsequently confirmed by popular referendum for four more 6-year terms, most recently in September 2005. Mubarak has maintained Egypt’s commitment to the Camp David peace process, while at the same time re-establishing Egypt’s position as an Arab leader. Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League in 1989. Egypt also has played a moderating role in such international fora as the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Since 1991, Mubarak has overseen a domestic economic reform program to reduce the size of the public sector and expand the role of the private sector. There has been less progress in political reform. The November 2000 People’s Assembly elections saw 34 members of the opposition win seats in the 454-seat assembly, facing a clear majority of 388 ultimately affiliated with the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). Opposition parties continue to face various difficulties in mounting credible electoral challenges to the NDP. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, remains an illegal organization and is not recognized as a political party (current Egyptian law prohibits the formation of political parties based on religion). Members are known publicly and openly speak their views, although they do not explicitly identify themselves as members of the organization. Members of the Brotherhood have been elected to the People’s Assembly and local councils as independents, and most recently scored a major victory in 2005 parliamentary elections, winning 20% of the seats, thus forming the largest opposition group.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

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.

The November 2000 elections were generally considered to have been more transparent and better executed than past elections, because of universal judicial monitoring of polling stations. On the other hand, opposition parties continue to lodge credible complaints about electoral manipulation by the government. There are significant restrictions on the political process and freedom of expression for non-governmental organizations, including professional syndicates and organizations promoting respect for human rights.

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. Egypt’s judicial system is based on European (primarily French) legal concepts and methods. Under the Mubarak government, the courts have demonstrated increasing independence, and the principles of due process and judicial review have gained greater respect. The legal code is derived largely from the Napoleonic Code. Marriage and personal status (family law) are primarily based on the religious law of the individual concerned, which for most Egyptians is Islamic Law (Sharia).

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/17/2007

President: Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK

Prime Minister: Ahmed Mohamed NAZIF

Min. of Agriculture & Land Reclamation: Amin ABAZA

Min. of Awqaf (Religious Affairs): Mahmoud Hamdy ZAQZOUQ

Min. of Civil Aviation: Ahmed SHAFIQ

Min. of Communications & Information Technology: Tarek KAMEL

Min. of Culture: Farouq HOSNI

Min. of Defense: Mohamed Hussein TANTAWI, Fd. Mar.

Min. of Education: Yousri El-GAMAL

Min. of Electricity & Energy: Hassan Ahmed YOUNIS

Min. of Finance: Youssef BOUTROSGHALI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Ahmed Ali ABOUL GHEIT

Min. of Foreign Trade & Industry: Rachid Mohamed RACHID

Min. of Health & Population: Hatem ElGABALI

Min. of Higher Education: Hani HILAL

Min. of Housing, Utilities, & Urban Communities: Ahmed El-MAGHRABI

Min. of Information: Anas El-FIQQI

Min. of Interior: Habib El-ADLY

Min. of International Cooperation: Fayza ABOUL NAGA

Min. of Investment: Mahmoud MOHIELDIN

Min. of Irrigation & Water Resources: Mahmoud ABU ZEID

Min. of Justice: Mamdouh MAREI

Min. of Legal Affairs & Parliamentary Councils: Moufed Mahmoud SHEHAB

Min. of Local Development: Abdel Salam al-MAHGOUB

Min. of Manpower & Immigration: Aisha ABDEL HADI

Min. of Military Production: Mohamed Hussein TANTAWI, Fd. Mar.

Min. of Petroleum: Sameh FAHMY

Min. of Planning: Osman Mohammed OSMAN

Min. of Public Business Sector: Mokhtar KHATTAB

Min. of Social Security: Ali MOSELHI

Min. of Tourism: Mohamed Zoheir GARANA

Min. of Transport: Mohamed Lotfi MANSOUR

Min. of State for Administrative Development: Ahmed DARWISH

Min. of State for Economic Development: Osman Mohammed OSMAN

Min. of State for Environment Affairs: Maged GEORGE

Min. of State for Local Development: Abdel-Rahim SHEHATA

Min. of State for Military Production: Sayed MESHAL

Min. of State for Scientific Research: Hani HILAL

Governor, Central Bank: Farouk Abdel Baky El-OKDA

Ambassador to the US: Nabil FAHMY

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Maged ABDEL FATTAH

Egypt maintains an embassy in the United States at 3521 International Court N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008 (tel. 202-895-5400). The Washington consulate has the same address (tel. 202-966-6342). The Egyptian Mission to the United Nations is located at 304 East 44th Street, New York, N.Y. (tel. 212-305-0300). Egyptian consulates general are located at: 1110 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y., 10022 (tel. 212-759-7120); 1990 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 2180, Houston, TX, 77056 (tel. 713-961-4915); 500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1900, Chicago, IL, 60611 (tel. 312-828-9162); and 3001 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94115 (tel. 415-346-9700).

NATIONAL SECURITY

Egypt’s armed forces, among the largest in the region, include the army, air defense, air force, and navy. The armed forces inventory includes equipment from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, and China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt. To bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states. Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner of the United States.

ECONOMY

With the installation of the 2004 Egyptian parliament, the Government of Egypt began a new reform movement, following a stalled economic reform program begun in 1991, but moribund since the mid-1990s. In the past year, the cabinet economic team has simplified and reduced tariffs and taxes, improved the transparency of the national budget, revived stalled privatizations of public enterprises and implemented economic legislation designed to foster private sector-driven economic growth and improve Egypt’s competitiveness. Despite these achievements, the economy is still hampered by government intervention, substantial subsidies for food, housing, and energy, and bloated public sector payrolls. Moreover, the public sector still controls most heavy industry.

In sectoral terms, agriculture is mainly in private hands, and has been largely deregulated, with the exception of cotton and sugar production. Construction, non-financial services, and domestic marketing are also largely private. The Egyptian economy, however, relies heavily on tourism, oil and gas exports, and Suez Canal revenues, much of which is controlled by the public sector and is also vulnerable to outside factors. The tourism sector suffered tremendously following a terrorist attack in Luxor in October 1997. The tourism sector feared a repeat of the downturn in tourist numbers when terrorists attacked resorts in the Sinai Peninsula in 2004 and 2005. So far, however, the sector has not suffered as greatly as expected.

The U.S. has a large assistance program in Egypt and provides funding for a variety of programs in addition to some cash transfers. A portion of U.S. assistance to Egypt under the 2003 Iraq war supplemental appropriations was provided in the form of bond guarantees, which were contingent upon Egyptian compliance with a series of economic conditions. Egypt met the conditions and in September 2005 issued $1.25 billion in 10-year bonds that were fully guaranteed by the United States. To support the Middle East peace process through regional economic integration, the United States permits products to be imported from Egypt without tariffs if they have been produced in Qualified Industrial Zones and 11.7% of the inputs of these products originate from Israel.

Agriculture

Approximately one-third of Egyptian labor is engaged directly in farming, and many others work in the processing or trading of agricultural products. Nearly all of Egypt’s agricultural production takes place in some 2.5 million hectares (6 million acres) of fertile soil in the Nile Valley and Delta. Some desert lands are being developed for agriculture, including the ambitious Toshka project in Upper Egypt, but some other fertile lands in the Nile Valley and Delta are being lost to urbanization and erosion.

Warm weather and plentiful water permit several crops a year. Further improvement is possible, but land is worked intensively and yields are high. Cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane, sugar beets, onions, and beans are the principal crops. Increasingly, a few modern operations are producing fruits, vegetables and flowers, in addition to cotton, for export. While the desert hosts some large, modern farms, more common traditional farms occupy one acre each, typically in a canal-irrigated area along the banks of the Nile. Many small farmers also have cows, water buffaloes, and chicken, although larger modern farms are becoming more important.

The United States is a major supplier of wheat, corn, and soybean products to Egypt, almost all through commercial sales. Egypt is, in fact, traditionally the U.S.’s largest market for wheat sales. U.S. agricultural sales to Egypt average $1 billion annually. U.S. food assistance programs to Egypt ended in 1992 as Egypt became more prosperous. Egypt continues to receive modest food assistance through the World Food Program and from France.

“Egypt,” wrote the Greek historian Herodotus 25 centuries ago, “is the gift of the Nile.” The land’s seemingly inexhaustible resources of water and soil carried by this mighty river created in the Nile Valley and Delta the world’s most extensive oasis. Without the Nile, Egypt would be little more than a desert wasteland.

The river carves a narrow, cultivated floodplain, never more than 20 kilometers wide, as it travels northward toward Cairo from Lake Nasser on the Sudanese border, behind the Aswan High Dam. Just north of Cairo, the Nile spreads out over what was once a broad estuary that has been filled by riverine deposits to form a fertile delta about 250 kilometers wide (150 mi.) at the seaward base and about 160 kilometers (96 mi.) from south to north.

Before the construction of dams on the Nile, particularly the Aswan High Dam (started in 1952, completed in 1970), the fertility of the Nile Valley was sustained by the water flow and the silt deposited by the annual flood. Sediment is now obstructed by the Aswan High Dam and retained in Lake Nasser. The interruption of yearly, natural fertilization and the increasing salinity of the soil has been a manageable problem resulting from the dam. The benefits remain impressive: more intensive farming on millions of acres of land made possible by improved irrigation, prevention of flood damage, and the generation of billions of low-cost kilowatt hours of electricity.

The Western Desert accounts for about two-thirds of the country’s land area. For the most part, it is a massive sandy plateau marked by seven major depressions. One of these, Fayoum, was connected about 3,600 years ago to the Nile by canals. Today, it is an important irrigated agricultural area.

Natural Resources

In addition to the agricultural capacity of the Nile Valley and Delta, Egypt’s natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, and iron ore. Crude oil is found primarily in the Gulf of Suez and in the Western Desert. Natural gas is found mainly in the Nile Delta, off the Mediterranean seashore, and in the Western Desert. Oil and gas accounts for approximately 12% of GDP. Export of petroleum and related products (including bunker and aviation sales) amounted to $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2003-04.

Crude oil production has been in decline for several years, from a high of more than 920,000 barrels per day (BPD) in 1995 to less than 662,000 BPD as of April 2006. To minimize the growing domestic demand of petroleum products, currently estimated at 25 million metric tons per year, Egypt is encouraging the production of natural gas. Over a 5-year period, production of natural gas increased by approximately 75% to reach about 3.3 billion cubic feet per day (BCFD) by the end of FY 2003/04. Currently, gas accounts for almost 50% of all hydrocarbon usage in Egypt.

Over the last 22 years, more than 230 oil and gas exploration agreements have been signed and multinational oil companies spent more than $27 billion in exploration companions. As of September 2003, crude oil reserves were estimated at 2.8 billion barrels, and proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 62 trillion cubic feet (TCF) with probable additional reserves totaling another 40-60 TCF. Texas-based Apache Oil Company is the largest American investor in Egypt, with a total investment of more than $2.8 billion since 1996.

Egypt’s excess of natural gas will more than meet its domestic demand for many years to come. The Ministry of Petroleum has determined that expanding the Egyptian petrochemical industry and increasing exports of natural gas as its most significant strategic objectives. As of September 2005, three liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains had been in operation. The first is in Damietta on the eastern side of the Delta and started exporting in early 2005. It is headed by the Spanish electric utility, Union Fenosa. The second LNG project is located at Idku on the western side of the Delta and started exporting in 2005. The first train started in April 2005, and the second in September. British Gas (BG) Group and the Malaysian state oil company Petronas are the major investors. Another project that will utilize gas for export and domestic consumption is the Mediterranean Gas Complex in Port Said where the Italian company AGIP and BP are the main shareholders. This facility will have a total cost of about $315 million and went on line in late 2004.

Egypt and Jordan established the Eastern Gas Company to export natural gas to Jordan, and then later to Syria and Lebanon. In summer 2003 Egypt began exporting gas to Jordan via a new pipeline from El Arish on Egypt’s north Sinai cost to Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba, and then underwater to the Jordanian city of Aqaba. Gas exports to Jordan generated gross revenues of approximately $60 million in 2003/04 and are currently reaching $85-100 million.

Transport and Communication

Transportation facilities in Egypt are centered in Cairo and largely follow the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation’s 4,800-kilometer (2,800-mi.) railway network runs from Alexandria to Aswan. The well-maintained road network has expanded rapidly to over 21,000 miles, covering the Nile Valley and Delta, Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, the Sinai, and the Western oases.

Egypt Air provides reliable domestic air service to major tourist destinations from its Cairo hub, in addition to overseas routes. The Nile River system (about 1,600 km. or 1,000 mi.) and the principal canals (1,600 km.) are important locally for transportation. The Suez Canal is a major waterway of international commerce and navigation, linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Major ports are Alexandria, Port Said, and Damietta on the Mediterranean, and Suez and Safraga on the Red Sea.

Egypt has long been the cultural and informational center of the Arab world, and Cairo is the region’s largest publishing and broadcasting center. There are eight daily newspapers with a total circulation of more than 2 million, and a number of monthly newspapers, magazines, and journals. The majority of political parties have their own newspapers, and these papers conduct a lively, often highly partisan, debate on public issues.

Egyptian ground-broadcast television (ETV) is government controlled and depends heavily on commercial revenue. ETV sells its specially produced programs and soap operas to the entire Arab world. In addition to Egyptian programming, the Middle East Broadcast Company, a Saudi television station transmitting from London (MBC), Arab Radio and Television (ART), Al-Jazeera television, and other Gulf stations as well as Western networks such as CNN and BBC, provide access to more international programs to Egyptians who own satellite receivers.

ETV has two main channels, six regional channels, and three satellite channels. Of the two main channels, Channel I uses mainly Arabic, while Channel II is dedicated to foreigners and more cultured viewers, broadcasting news in English and French as well as Arabic.

Egyptian Satellite channels broadcast to the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. East Coast. In April 1998, Egypt launched its own satellite known as NileSat 101. Seven specialized channels cover news, culture, sports, education, entertainment, health, and drama. A second, digital satellite, Nilesat 102, was launched in August 2000. Many of its channels are rented to other stations.

Three new private satellite-based TV stations were launched in November 2001, marking a great change in Egyptian government policy. Dream TV 1 and 2 produce cultural programming, broadcast contemporary video clips and films featuring Arab and international actors, as well as soap operas; another private station focuses on business and general news. Both private channels transmit on NileSat. Radio in Egypt almost all government controlled, using 44 short-wave frequencies, 18 medium-wave stations, and four FM stations. There are seven regional radio stations covering the country. Egyptian Radio transmits 60 hours daily overseas in 33 languages and three hundred hours daily within Egypt. In 2000, Radio Cairo introduced new specialized (thematic) channels on its FM station. So far, they include news, music, and sports. Radio enjoys more freedom than TV in its news programs, talk shows and analysis.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Geography, population, history, military strength, and diplomatic expertise give Egypt extensive political influence in the Middle East and within the Non-Aligned Movement as a whole. Cairo has been a crossroads of Arab commerce and culture for millennia, and its intellectual and Islamic institutions are at the center of the region’s social and cultural development.

The Arab League headquarters is in Cairo, and the Secretary General of the League is traditionally an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa is the present Secretary General of the Arab League. President Mubarak has often chaired the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity). Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.

Egypt is a key partner in the search for peace in the Middle East and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sadat’s groundbreaking trip to Israel in 1977, the 1978 Camp David Accords, and the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty represented a fundamental shift in the politics of the region—from a strategy of confrontation to one of peace as a strategic choice. Egypt was subsequently ostracized by other Arab states and ejected from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989. Egypt played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, which, under U.S. and Russian sponsorship, brought together all parties in the region to discuss Middle East peace. This support has continued to the present, with President Mubarak often intervening personally to promote peace negotiations. In 1996, he hosted the Sharm El-Sheikh “Summit of the Peacemakers” attended by President Clinton and other world leaders. In 2000, he hosted two summits at Sharm El-Sheikh and one at Taba in an effort to resume the Camp David negotiations suspended in July of 2000, and in June 2003, Mubarak hosted President Bush for another summit on the Middle East peace process. Throughout mid–2004, Egypt worked closely with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to facilitate stability following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, which occurred in August and September of 2005. Prior to this Egypt and Israel reached an agreement that allowed Egypt to deploy additional forces along the Philadelphi Corridor in an attempt to control the border and prevent the smuggling of weapons.

Egypt played a key role during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis. President Mubarak helped assemble the international coalition and deployed 35,000 Egyptian troops against Iraq to liberate Kuwait. The Egyptian contingent was the third-largest in the coalition forces, after the U.S. and U.K. In the aftermath of the Gulf war, Egypt signed the Damascus declaration with Syria and the Gulf states to strengthen Gulf security. Egypt continues to contribute regularly to UN peacekeeping missions, most recently in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. In August 2004, Egypt was actively engaged in seeking a solution to the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, including the dispatch of military monitors. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Egypt, which has itself been the target of terrorist attacks, has been a key supporter of the U.S. war against terrorists and terrorist organizations such as Osama bin Ladin and al-Qaeda, and actively supported the Iraqi Governing Council, as well as the subsequent government of Prime Minister Allawi. In July 2005, terrorists attacked the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh. In the same month, Egypt’s envoy to Iraq was assassinated.

U.S.-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Egypt enjoy a strong and friendly relationship based on shared mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, revitalizing the Egyptian economy and strengthening trade relations, and promoting regional security. Over the years, Egypt and the United States have worked together assiduously to expand Middle East peace negotiations, hosting talks, negotiations, and the Middle East and North Africa Economic (MENA) Conference. Multinational exercises, U.S. assistance to Egypt’s military modernization program, and Egypt’s role as a contributor to various UN peacekeeping operations continually reinforce the U.S.-Egyptian military relationship.

An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979. U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided over $25 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt between 1975 and 2002. A shift in assistance from infrastructure, health, food supply, and agriculture toward market-based economic development, good governance, and training programs is reflected in the motto, “From Aid to Trade.” The Commodity Import Program, through which USAID provides hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to enable the Egyptian private sector to import U.S. goods, remains one of the largest and most popular USAID programs. Since 2003, U.S. assistance is also focusing more on economic reform, education, civil society, and other programs supported by the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

U.S. military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and strengthen regional security and stability. Under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs, the U.S. has provided F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M-60A3 and M1A1 tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, antiaircraft missile batteries, aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment.

The U.S. and Egypt also participate in combined military exercises, including deployments of U.S. troops to Egypt. Every other year, Egypt hosts Operation Bright Star, a multilateral military exercise with the U.S., and the largest military exercise in the region. Units of the U.S. 6th Fleet are regular visitors to Egyptian ports.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

CAIRO (E) Address: 8 Kamal El Din Salah St., Garden City, Cairo.; APO/FPO: Unit 64900, APO, AE 09839; Phone: (20) (2) 797-3300; Fax: (20) (2) 797-3200; INMARSAT Tel: (683) 142-919; Workweek: SUN-THU--0800-1630; Website: www.usembassy.egnet.net.

AMB:Francis J. Ricciardone
AMB OMS:Anissa Hanson
DCM/CHG:Stuart E. Jones
DCM OMS:Mona Blaibel
CG:Richard Hermann
POL/ECO:William Stewart
CON:David Potter
MGT:Raymond Maxwell, Acting
AFSA:Anne Wennerstrom
AGR:Peter Kurz
AID:Kenneth Ellis
APHIS:Dr. Linda Logan-Henfrey
DAO:Ted Seel
DEA:Donald Barnes
EEO:Anissa Hanson
FCS:Amer Kayani
FMO:Anne Wennerstrom
GSO:Kevin Blackstone
ICASS Chair:Stephen F. Smith
IMO:James Vanderpool
IPO:James Williams
IRS:Kathy J. Beck (resident in Paris)
ISO:Kenneth Hill
ISSO:Joanne Davenport
LEGATT:Nael Sabha
PAO:Haynes Mahoney
RSO:Stephen F. Smith

Last Updated: 1/26/2007

ALEXANDRIA (BO) Address: 3 Pharaana Street; APO/FPO: Unit 64900, Box X, APO, AE 09839-4900;

Phone: (20) (3) 486-1009; Fax: (20) (3) 487-3811; Workweek: SUN-THU, 8:00am-4:30pm; Website: www.usembassy.egnet.net.

PO:Justin Siberell

Last Updated: 8/13/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : December 6, 2006

Country Description: Egypt is a republic with a developing economy. It has extensive facilities for tourists.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and visa are required. Travelers can obtain a renewable, 30-day tourist visa on arrival at Cairo International Airport for a $15 fee, payable in U.S. dollars. Visitors arriving overland and/or those previously experiencing difficulty with their visa status in Egypt should obtain a visa prior to arrival. Travelers arriving from Israel at the Taba border crossing without an Egyptian visa may be granted a 14-day visa valid for travel within Sinai only. Military personnel arriving on commercial flights are not exempt from passport and visa requirements. Foreigners can acquire a work permit from the Ministry of Manpower and Training to work in Egypt, and accordingly are authorized residency in the country. Work permits must be obtained through the employer. Foreigners are generally not allowed to change residency status from non-working to working status while in the country. Proof of yellow fever immunization is required if arriving from an infected area. Evidence of an AIDS test is required for everyone staying over 30 days. Visit the Embassy of Egypt web site http://www.egyptembassy.us or the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website http://www.mfa.gov.eg for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: Egypt suffered a series of deadly terrorist attacks in or near tourist sites in late 2004, 2005, and 2006 – often coinciding with major local holidays. Americans should be especially vigilant in crowded tourist areas in the Sinai, practice good personal security measures, and be alert to their surroundings. A heavy security presence is apparent to travelers throughout the country. Americans are encouraged to contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for the most up-to-date security information.

Since October 2004, three major coordinated terrorist bombings targeting the Sinai Peninsula’s tourist infrastructure caused many deaths and hundreds of injuries, mostly to Egyptian nationals. U.S. citizens do not appear to have been targeted in any of these incidents, but many non-Egyptian tourists, including Americans, have been killed or injured in these attacks.

Most recently, three explosions in the town of Dahab in April 2006 killed over 20 people and wounded at least 80 additional people, including five U.S. citizens. In July 2005, massive explosions in Sharm el Sheikh killed over 60 people, including one American. In October 2004, three bombs detonated in Taba and two nearby tourist camps, killing 34 people, including one American. Evidence of instability in the Sinai has also been reflected in random attacks on vehicles transiting the interior and two bomb attacks on Multinational Force Observers near the Rafah border crossing in August 2005 and April 2006. While the Egyptian Government took effective measures against the perpetrators of the 2004 and 2005 attacks, the April 2006 bombings reflect a persistent, indigenous threat of terror activities in the Sinai.

Travelers seeking to cross the Egyptian-Gaza border at Rafah are likely to encounter difficulty. The border is frequently closed and re-openings are frequently announced on short notice. Travelers wishing to cross this border should contact the American Consulate General in Jerusalem for more information on the current status of the border crossing. Travelers should also refer to the Israel, West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning before traveling to Gaza. U.S. citizens who still plan to visit the Sinai in spite of the persistent threat of terrorist attacks should exercise great caution. As anywhere, travelers may gain a measure of safety by remaining particularly alert to their surroundings, by avoiding crowded tourist areas, and by visiting destination resorts and hotels with significant physical setback and security procedures.

In addition to the Sinai attacks, there were three terror attacks on crowded tourist destinations in Cairo in April 2005. In one, a lone suicide bomber killed three foreigners, including an American, at Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili Market. Three Americans were seriously injured in this incident.

Prior to the October 2004 attack, there had been no terrorist incidents involving tourists in Egypt since the mid 1990s. There have also been instances of instability and public disorder in some other areas of Egypt, most notably in the Nile Valley governorates of Assiut and Sohag, located between Cairo and Luxor. These governorates, along with the adjacent governorates of Minya and Qena, have been areas of extremist activity in the past. U.S. Embassy personnel traveling to these areas (apart from Luxor and adjacent tourist destinations) require advance approval. Egyptian authorities also restrict the travel of foreigners in these governorates. American citizens planning to travel in these areas should contact the Embassy prior to travel.

Public demonstrations occasionally take place in areas such as Tahrir Square in Cairo and in the vicinity of universities and mosques following the Friday noon prayers. Similar incidents often occur at the Azhar mosque across from the Khan El Khalili Bazaar. These demonstrations are frequently accompanied by a heavy security presence. Roads in the vicinity are often closed. Americans should remain attuned to readily available English language media outlets and avoid all public demonstrations.

Travelers to Egypt’s frontiers, including the borders with Libya, Sudan, and Israel and parts of the Sinai off the main, paved roads, must obtain permission from the Travel Permits Department of the Ministry of the Interior, located at the corner of Sheikh Rihan and Nubar Streets in downtown Cairo.

In addition, travelers should be aware that land mines have caused many casualties, including deaths of Americans, in Egypt. All travelers should check with local authorities before embarking on off-road travel. Known minefields are not reliably marked by signs, but are sometimes enclosed by barbed wire. After heavy rains, which can cause flooding and the consequent shifting of land mines, travelers should take care driving through build-ups of sand on roadways. Though mines are found in other parts of Egypt, the highest concentrations are in World War II battlefields along the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, the Eastern Desert between Cairo and the Suez Canal, and much of the Sinai Peninsula. Travelers are urged to be especially prudent in these areas.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement and the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, can be found. Consular information is also available via the Internet on the U.S. Embassy Cairo’s website http://cairo.usembassy.gov.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). A recording of the most recent Embassy message to American citizens in Egypt concerning security can be heard on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s number, 011-2-02-797-3000.

Crime: The crime rate in Egypt is low. While incidents of violence are rare, purse-snatching, pick-pocketing and petty theft does occur. Travelers are strongly cautioned not to leave valuables such as cash, jewelry, and electronic items unsecured in hotel rooms or unattended in public places. Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy consular staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Consular officials can assist you to identify appropriate resources.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: There are many Western-trained medical professionals in Egypt. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo can provide a list of local hospitals and English-speaking physicians. Medical facilities are adequate for non-emergency matters, particularly in tourist areas. Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Facilities outside Cairo, Alexandria, and Sharm El Sheikh fall short of U.S. standards. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship’s doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain qualification. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and they are nonexistent at most other ports-of-call.

Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. Persons who swim in the Nile or its canals, walk barefoot in stagnant water, or drink untreated water are at risk of exposure to bacterial and other infections and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia).

It is generally safe to eat properly-prepared, thoroughly cooked meat and vegetables in tourist hotels, on Nile cruise boats, and in tourist restaurants. Eating uncooked vegetables should be avoided. Tap water is not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Avian Influenza: The WHO and Egyptian authorities have confirmed human cases of the H5NI strain of avian influenza, commonly known as the “bird flu” in Egypt. As of November 2006, Egypt had fifteen confirmed human cases of Avian Influenza, resulting in seven deaths. Travelers to Egypt and other countries affected by the virus are cautioned to avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. In addition, the CDC and WHO recommend eating only fully cooked poultry and eggs. For the most current information and links on avian influenza see the State Department’s Avian Influenza Fact Sheet and visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo at: http://cairo.usembassy.gov.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Egypt is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Egypt, a country with one of the highest incidences of road fatalities per miles driven in the world, is a challenge. Even seasoned residents of Cairo must use extraordinary care and situational awareness to navigate the hectic streets of the capital. Traffic rules appear to be routinely ignored by impatient drivers. Any visiting Americans thinking about driving in Cairo should carefully consider the options, take the utmost precautions, and drive defensively. Drivers should be prepared for unlit vehicles at night, few if any road markings, vehicles traveling at high rates of speed, vehicles traveling the wrong way on one-way streets, divided highways, and connecting ramps, pedestrians constantly dodging in and out of traffic and a variety of animals. Most traffic lights in Cairo appear not to function, but rather are staffed by policemen who use subtle finger movements to indicate which cars may move. Pedestrians should also exercise extreme caution when traversing roadways, especially in high-volume/high-velocity streets like Cairo’s Corniche, which follows the east bank of the Nile River. Motorists in Egypt should be especially cautious during the rare winter rains, which can cause extremely slippery road surfaces or localized flooding.

Public mini- and microbuses are not safe; the Embassy strongly recommends that its personnel not use them. In 2006, there were two serious accidents involving international tourist buses on highways outside of Cairo in which a number of foreign tourists were killed. Intercity roads are generally in good condition, but unmarked surfaces, stray animals, and disabled vehicles without lights or reflectors are among the many hazards that can be encountered on highways, especially after dark.

Embassy personnel in Egypt are prohibited from traveling outside Cairo on official business after sunset. In addition, some roads, especially in the Sinai and southeastern part of the country, are off-limits to foreigners. Traffic warning signs should be respected.

Trains are usually a safe means of transportation in Egypt. In 2006, there were several accidents involving the collision of third class passenger trains in the Delta area in which a number of Egyptian nationals were killed or injured.

Visit the website of Egypt’s national tourist office and national authority for road safety at www.egypttourism.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Egypt’s air carrier operations. For more information, visit the web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: There are restrictions on photographing military personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal. Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially-sensitive structures, such as embassies, other public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices. Visitors should also refrain from taking photographs of any uniformed personnel.

In addition to being subject to all Egyptian laws, U.S. citizens who also possess Egyptian citizenship may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Egyptian citizens. The Government of Egypt considers all children born to Egyptian fathers to be Egyptian citizens. Americans married to Egyptians do not need their spouse’s permission to depart Egypt as long as they have a valid Egyptian visa. Dual nationals residing in Egypt for extended periods require proof of Egyptian citizenship, such as a family I.D. card. Male dual nationals who have not completed military service are not generally required to enlist in the armed forces. However, they must obtain an exemption certificate through the Ministry of Defense Draft Office before they can leave Egypt. Individuals who may be affected can inquire at an Egyptian consulate abroad before traveling to Egypt. Dual Egyptian-American nationals may enter and leave Egypt on their U.S. passports. Persons with dual nationality who travel to Egypt on their Egyptian passports are normally treated as Egyptian citizens by the local government. The ability to provide U.S. consular assistance to those traveling on Egyptian passports is extremely limited.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Egyptian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Egypt are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Egypt are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Egypt. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street, Garden City, Cairo, telephone (20) 2 797-2301. Business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The latest Embassy warden message can be heard on (20) 2 797-3000. For emergencies after-hours, U.S. citizens may reach the Embassy duty officer via (20) 2 797-3300. The Consular Section American Citizens Services unit fax number is (20) 2 797-3602.

The mailing address from the United States is: Consular Section, Unit 64900, Box 15, APO AE 09839-4900. Within Egypt or from a third country, it is 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo. The Consular Section’s email address is [email protected] Consular information is available via the Internet on the Embassy website http://egypt.usembassy.gov. Visa-related inquiries should be directed by email to [email protected]

Once a month, American Citizens Services are available at the American Center, 3 Pharana Street, Azarita, Alexandria from 11:00 a.m.—2:00 p.m. Please check the Embassy web site for a schedule of upcoming dates. Every five to ten weeks, American Citizens Services are available at the Cairo American College, Maadi. Please check the Embassy web site for dates and details of available services.

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EGYPT

This article covers the history of Egypt to the present day, including the broadly defined periods of (1) Prehistory (2) Pharaonic Egypt, (3) Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine Egypt, (4) Medieval Egypt and (5) Modern Egypt.

THE LAND

A short account of the geography and natural resources of Egypt is preceded here by an explanation of the various names that have been used to designate this land.

Names. The name Egypt is derived, through the Latin Aegyptus, from the Greek Aιγυπτος, an inexact reproduction of the Egyptian term Hi (t)-Ka-Ptah [Temple of the soul of (the god) Ptah], which was one of the ancient designations for the capital city Memphis (biblical Noph). In Pharaonic times Egyptians called their country "The Two Lands" (from the natural division into Upper and Lower Egypt) and "The Black Land" (from the color of the fertile soil of the Nile Valley in contrast to the "red" land of the surrounding desert). In the Hebrew Bible Egypt is called misraim, of uncertain derivation but related to the Akkadian name Misir (Musur) and the Arabic name Misr used for Egypt today.

Geography. In the harsh deserts and mountains of northeast Africa, Egypt is the only densely populated area. The Nile River flows north from the mountains of Ethiopia and through the Nubian Desert, where its two tributaries, the Blue and the White Nile, join at Khartoum in modern Sudan. To the west lies the Libyan Desert (see libya), with five habitable oases, and to the east, the Eastern Desert and the Sinai Peninsula (see sinai, mount). Prior to the construction of a series of dams at Aswan (ancient Syene) in the 20th century, the Nile's annual summer flood spread from north to south, fed by seasonal rains in Ethiopia. The river deposited fertile silt in the Nile Valley and the Delta and washed harmful salts from the soil, providing the conditions for settled life and bountiful agriculture.

Of the approximately 4,000 miles of the Nile's course, Egypt proper comprises some 600 miles of the lower (northern) part of the river and its widely fanned Delta, where two (in antiquity, seven) branches allow the Nile to flow into the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt's natural southern boundary at Aswan (Syene) is caused by a granite barrier crossing the river bed, creating rapids that make navigation impossible (the first Cataract, of six counted north to south). Egypt falls into two unequal parts, the narrow valley in the south (Upper Egypt) and the wide Delta in the north, which often opposed each other during the country's long history. The meeting point of these two regions is the natural place for a capital, which was Memphis in ancient times and is now Cairo. Important cities in Upper Egypt were Thebes (biblical

No-Amon, modern Luxor) and Syene (modern Aswan), where the Elephantine Island marked the southern frontier. Among the cities of the Delta, the eastern site of Tanis (biblical Soan, Zoan) flourished between 1500 and 1000 b.c. due to close contacts with Palestine. In 332 b.c., Alexander the Great founded a new capital at alexandria in the northwest Delta, providing Egypt with a coastal harbor.

Natural resources. Agriculture was and is the base of Egypt's economy. The primary ancient crops were emmer wheat and barley, as well as flax for linen. Along the riverbanks were papyrus plants, from which the writing material of ancient times was made (see papyrology). Today, cotton is the main crop and a valuable export; rice and vegetables are also grown. In ancient times, a series of canals and basins helped floodwaters reach as much arable land as possible. Because the Aswan High Dam holds back the flood and its rich silt, irrigation and chemical fertilizers now support agriculture.

Of the many animals domesticated for agriculture and husbandry, cattle were the most important; sheep played a lesser role than in Palestine. The horse was introduced c. 1650 b.c., but its use was restricted in ancient times. Donkeys were a primary resource for transport and travel, as they are today, and camels were used as well from the 5th century b.c. onwards.

The deserts hemming Egypt are rich in minerals, semiprecious stones and building stones such as limestone, sandstone, granite and porphyry. Copper deposits are found in the Eastern Desert and in Sinai, and gold veins in the Eastern and the Nubian Deserts. Wood for ships and buildings was imported from Lebanon to supplement sparse native trees. Bricks of sun-dried mud were the main building material; the Egyptian name for

these bricks, djebet, passed into Arabic and, via Spain, into Spanish and English as the word adobe.

PREHISTORY

Early humans passed through the Western Desert oases and the Nile Valley as early as the Lower Paleolithic Period, some 500,000 years ago. Over time, the climate changed and turned the swamp-like plains into deserts, and c. 10,000 b.c., pastoral settlements began to emerge along the river. Archeologists identify several cultures which flourished as a result of developed agriculture from c. 4500 b.c. onwards.

In the north, Merimda, el-Omari and Helwan were centers for a distinctive northern culture. In the Nile Valley at el-Badari, the Badarian culture is known from pit graves where fine pottery vessels and flaked stone tools were buried with the dead. The nearby site of Naqada has yielded important evidence for a culture which spread throughout Upper Egypt from c. 4000 to 3200 b.c. During this period, society became increasingly stratified as a small portion of the population consolidated its wealth and power. Grave goods include decorated pottery, terracotta figurines, vessels and weapons worked from hard stones, and tools and combs carved from hippopotamus ivory. Gold and semiprecious stones were used for jewelry. Animal-shaped palettes made of greywacke were used to grind pigments for cosmetics and paint. Decorative motifs like animals, human and divine figures, boats and hunting or battle scenes illustrate the development of religious and social structures. The import of pottery and raw materials like lapis (from Afghanistan) and cedar (from Lebanon) indicate active trade with Palestine and the Near East.

By about 3200 b.c., or a little after, the Naqada culture also saw the creation of the hieroglyphic writing system, perhaps to fill a need for better communication and written records in a more complex society. Such developments paved the way for a Pharaonic Egyptian state.

PHARAONIC EGYPT

After a general introduction, this period is treated under the following subdivisions: Protodynastic and Early Dynastic Period, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, Hyksos Age, New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period and Cushite Rule, and the Late Period.

General Introduction. Lists of kings (or pharaohs, from the Egyptian pr-aa, "Great House") were compiled for temple records in antiquity and are a major source for the Pharaonic history of Egypt. In the 3rd century b.c. the Egyptian priest Manetho used older king lists to write a history of Egypt in Greek for the new Ptolemaic rulers, and his work was quoted by other Greek and Latin historians such as Josephus. Manetho is responsible for dividing Egyptian history into 30 dynasties from the initial unification of the country to its conquest by Alexander the Great (332 b.c.), a model followed by modern scholars.

The chronology of Pharaonic Egypt is, for the most part, well established, although some uncertainties persist. A few astronomically fixed points provide a fairly certain framework for the third millennium b.c., and working back from these points the beginning of dynastic history in Egypt is estimated c. 3000 b.c.

Protodynastic and Early Dynastic Period (c. 32002575 B.C.). Modern scholars refer to the period of c. 3200 to 3000 b.c. as the Protodynastic Period because during these years, early rulers expanded their power and formed a unified Egyptian state. Some of these rulers are known by name from works of art, such as a ceremonial palette representing king Narmer. Narmer, who came from Upper Egypt, is generally credited with joining the north and south into one nation. On his palette, Narmer is shown defeating enemies associated with the Delta. The king was central to Egyptian religious and political thought because he was responsible for ensuring that maat, or cosmic order and justice, was maintained in the

universe. As the palette of Narmer shows, even at this early stage in Egyptian history, artists had adopted a canon, or style, of representation which would remain typical of all Egyptian art.

The sequence of numbered dynasties recorded by Manetho begins after the initial unification of Egypt. The first three dynasties (c. 30002575 b.c.) comprise the Early Dynastic Period, during which the kings strengthened the structure of Egyptian government. In the Third Dynasty (c. 2650 b.c.) Egypt reached an important point under the reign of Djoser, who built the first large-scale stone monument for his funerary complex at Saqqara, the cemetery of Memphis (biblical Noph). The center of the complex was a structure of seven graduated layers, the so-called Step Pyramid. Djoser was buried in chambers beneath the pyramid, and buildings around it provided a spiritual 'home' for the dead king where religious rituals ensured his eternal life.

Old Kingdom (c. 25752140 B.C.). The concentration of Egypt's social, material and artistic skill reached a new height in the Fourth Dynasty (c. 25752465). Royal funerary monuments were larger and centered around a true pyramid with straight sides. Kings Khufu (Cheops in Greek), Khafra (Chephren) and Menkaure (Mykerinos) built three pyramids at Giza, north of Saqqara.

Khufu's is the largest at 481 feet high, and each pyramid with its temples was enclosed by a wall and served by two temples housing statues of the king. Around this complex were the tombs of the king's relatives and nobles. Khafra, a son of Khufu, also built the Sphinx, an enormous figure of the king with a lion's body carved from natural rock. Images like the Sphinx show the dual nature of the king: he was a mortal carrying out a divine office and representing, on earth, the falcon god Horus, who was a king among the gods.

In the Fifth Dynasty (c. 24652320) kings also explicitly associated themselves with the sun god ra, whose cult was based at Heliopolis (biblical On) in modern Cairo. Kings built smaller pyramid complexes, probably because the larger projects of the Fourth Dynasty had been too expensive and difficult to complete. The number of nobles, or officials, administering the country expanded and many of their tombs are at Saqqara. In the Sixth Dynasty (c. 23202150), kings began to appoint officials to serve in provinces throughout Egypt, leading to decentralization of the government. Politically, the Sixth Dynasty was very active in Egypt and abroad. Copper and turquoise were mined in Sinai, and close commercial connections existed with byblos (Gebal); trading expeditions penetrated into Africa and sailed the Red Sea. Military campaigns in the western and eastern Delta expanded Egyptian territory. Despite such efforts, though, the devolution of power and the long reign (over 90 years) of King Pepi II hastened a collapse of political order.

The last two dynasties of the Old Kingdom (Dynasties 7 and 8, c. 21502130) were short-lived and gave way to a group of kings (Dynasties 9 and 10, c. 21302040) who were based at Heracleopolis in the Faiyum district and controlled only the northern half of Egypt. Scholars refer to this as the First Intermediate Period because Egypt was no longer united. In the south, local officials did not acknowledge the northern kings, instead governing the provinces (called nomes) in their own right. Over time the governors of Thebes (biblical No-amon) in Upper Egypt established Dynasty 11 and competed with the Heracleopolitan kings by gaining dominion over the south as far as the first Cataract.

Middle Kingdom (c. 20401640). Around 2040 b.c. the rulers of Thebes defeated the Heracleopolitan kings, took control of Lower Egypt and reunited Egypt under King Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11. This dynasty ended when an official, Amenemhet I (c. 19911962), claimed the kingship and founded Dynasty 12, which lasted until c. 1783 and became the classical age of Pharaonic Egypt. Powerful kings secured the dynastic succession by appointing the heir presumptive as coregent. Egypt annexed Nubia as far south as the second Cataract and built a system of fortresses there. An Egyptian settlement in Sinai worked the mines and included a temple dedicated to the important goddess Hathor. Egypt exercised a strong cultural influence over Palestine and offered political protection to local rulers in the region; ties with Byblos were particularly close. Throughout the Middle Kingdom, Asiatic peoples from Palestine settled in Egypt, especially in the eastern Delta. Close contacts also existed with crete, which brought goods and craftsmen to Egypt by boat.

The close of the Middle Kingdom is not well understood. Internal rivalries may have eroded the central government, and Dynasty 13 consisted of a sequence of short reigns. By c. 1640, Egypt had disintegrated into several small kingdoms, a time referred to as the Second Intermediate Period.

Hyksos Age. During the Second Intermediate Period (c. 16401550) the chief rivals in Egypt were a new group of kings at Thebes (Dynasty 17) and a series of kings of Asiatic origin who ruled from the Delta (Dynasties 15 and 16). The Delta kings were known as the Hyksos from the Egyptian term hekau-khasut (rulers of foreign lands), signifying their foreign origin. The Hyksos had probably lived in Egypt for some time, however, and they adopted many Egyptian cultural forms alongside their own. Their capital was at Avaris in the northeast Delta, with a palace and fortifications like those also found in Palestine and Syria. It was the Hyksos who introduced horses and chariot-based warfare to Egypt. They made few changes to the administration of Egypt, instead relying on the loyalty of officials in the north and central parts of the country.

New Kingdom (c. 15501070). Around 1550 b.c., a ruler of the Theban 17th Dynasty, Kamose, led a series of military campaigns against the Hyksos king, Apophis. Under Kamose's brother Ahmose, the Hyksos were defeated and Egypt was reunited at the start of a new dynasty. The 18th Dynasty was a time of unprecedented wealth, and rulers with powerful personalities created an Egyptian empire stretching east to Palestine and south to Nubia, control of which had been lost after the Middle Kingdom.

Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. One important ruler of the 18th Dynasty was Hatshepsut (c. 14731458), daughter of King Thutmose I and wife of Thutmose II. Hatshepsut was regent for her young stepson, Thutmose III (c. 14791425), but declared herself king in her own right, one of several women to do so in ancient Egypt. She built a magnificent funerary temple at Deir el-Bahri on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes and sent a large commercial expedition to the land of Punt, in modern Ethiopia.

After Hatshepsut's death (c. 1458), the fully grown Thutmose III took sole command of the throne and led an army against Palestine and Syria, where local rulers were rebelling against Egyptian supremacy. For several months Thutmose III besieged megiddo, and on another campaign, he defeated the king of Mitanni in southern Mesopotamia and crossed the Euphrates River, the only pharaoh ever to do so. Egypt did not integrate Syria and Palestine into its government or culture but oversaw these regions through the diplomatic efforts of local officials and garrison towns like Gaza.

Thutmose III also extended Egyptian control further south in Nubia, to the fourth Cataract. Unlike Egypt's Asiatic holdings, Nubia was actively colonized and administered by an Egyptian official, the viceroy of Cush [see ethiopians (cushites)]. Rich gold mines in the Nubian Desert were an important source of wealth for Egypt.

Amenhotep III. A later 18th Dynasty ruler, Amenhotep III (c. 13901353), ruled the Egyptian empire peacefully. He undertook many building projects, including Luxor Temple and the impressive Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple. Two colossal statues of Amenhotep III, called the Colossi of Memnon by the Greeks, mark the

site of his destroyed funerary complex near modern Luxor.

Akhnaton (Amenhotep IV). The son and successor of Amenhotep III ruled from c. 13531336 and introduced radical political and religious changes. Early in his reign, Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhnaton, meaning "spirit of the Aton (sun disc)," to reflect his loyalty to the cult of this solar deity. Akhnaton was opposed to the powerful priesthood of the Theban god Amun (or amon), who was the patron deity of 18th Dynasty kings. Instead, Akhnaton promulgated the Aton religion, which credited the sun disc as the only source of life and positioned the king as sole mediator between this all-powerful god and the people of Egypt. The Aton thus replaced both Amun (Amon) and the ancient sun god Re (Ra).

Although Akhnaton's loyalty to the Aton cult is often attributed to the king's religious conviction, there were political considerations as well: the Aton religion made the king central and unique, rather than a servant of the god, and broke the power of the priests. In the fifth year of his reign, Akhnaton emphasized this new political and religious reality by building a capital city at the previously uninhabited site of Akhet-Aton ("horizon of the Aton"), modern el-Amarna. He also introduced sweeping changes in religious ritual, with ceremonies for the

Aton conducted in the open air, and in art, where stylized physical forms were used to represent Akhnaton, his wife Nefertiti, and their six daughters in the streaming rays of the Aton disc. Officials and private individuals used images of the royal family to make devotions to the Aton.

The novelty of the Aton religion and its opposition to tradition doomed the reforms to failure. Egypt's foreign relations also suffered during Akhnaton's reign, as diplomatic correspondence from some Palestinian rulers (in the so-called Amarna Letters) attests. When Akhnaton died, a new king named Smenkhare, whom some scholars believe was Queen Nefertiti, ruled briefly, followed by a child named Tutankhaton, the son-in-law, and probably also son, of Akhnaton. Representatives of the suppressed Amun priesthood ensured that Tutankhaton renounced the Aton religion and changed his name to Tutankhamun in honor of the Theban god. Tutankhamun (c. 13321322) died around age 19 and is best known for the 1923 discovery of his tomb, the only royal burial found intact. The so-called "Amarna Age" came fully to an end when an army commander named Horemheb (c. 13191292) claimed the throne and extinguished every trace of the Aton cult, Akhnaton and the city of Akhet-Aton.

Dynasty 19. Horemheb was succeeded by another army commander, Ramses (Ramesses) I, who founded a new line of kings hailing from the northeast Delta. The kings of the 19th Dynasty based themselves there at Tanis (biblical Soan, Zoan), although they continued to build lavish tombs and temples at Thebes. The reestablishment of internal order in Egypt enabled the next king, Seti I (c. 12901279), to recapture Palestine. Seti I and his son, Ramses II (c. 12701213), both fought against the Hittite kingdom in Anatolia (in modern Turkey). The Hittite king, Muwatalli, was allied with the city-states of Carchemish, Aleppo and ugarit. Ramses II fought Muwatalli at the battle of Kadesh, but neither king emerged victorious. They declared a truce, cemented by a diplomatic marriage between Ramses II and a Hittite princess.

For the remainder of Ramses II's long reign Egypt was very prosperous; the king built extensively throughout Egypt and Nubia. Some scholars suggest that Ramses II was the biblical pharaoh confronted by Moses, and builder of the cities of Phithom (Pithom) and Rameses (Pi-Ramesses), but Egyptian sources cannot support this. It is interesting, however, that the only Egyptian reference to Israel occurs in a stele inscription of Ramses II's successor, Mer-ne-Ptah (c. 12131204). This stele demonstrates that a people called Israel lived in Palestine at that time, and it was set up to commemorate Mer-ne-Ptah's military victory over Libyans and Sea Peoples (a migratory group from the Near East) in the Delta.

Dynasty 20. The 19th Dynasty was unsettled due to internal problems and foreign attacks like those by the Sea Peoples. In the next dynasty, Ramses III (c. 11871156) successfully fought off Libyans and more Sea Peoples, among them the philistines. War depleted Egypt financially, and although several more kings named Ramses (through Ramses XI) complete the 20th Dynasty, central authority waned.

Third Intermediate Period and Cushite Rule. After the end of the 20th Dynasty, the priests of Amun at Thebes styled themselves as kings (Dynasty 21) and governed southern Egypt, c. 1075945. In the north, families originally of Libyan descent founded Dynasty 22 (c. 945715), ruling from the Delta. The first king of the dynasty was Shoshonk (biblical Sesac, Shishak) I, who took a large army into Palestine and sacked Jerusalem, mentioned in 1 Kings 14:2526 and 2 Chr. 12:29. His successors tried to appease Thebes and Upper Egypt but tensions remained, and in the 9th and early 8th centuries b.c., as many as four kings claimed to rule Egypt at once.

While a power vacuum existed in Egypt, Nubia governed itself independently as the kingdom of Cush (or Kush) under a line of rulers based at Napata near the fourth Cataract. One of these rulers, King Piye (c. 750715) swept through Egypt with his army, meeting little resistance, and then withdrew to Napata. Other ethnic Libyan kings reigned briefly as Dynasty 24, but after 715 b.c. the Cushites returned to Egypt under Piye's successor, Shabaqo. Shabaqo established Dynasty 25, made up of Cushite kings who ruled both their native land and all of Egypt.

The Cushites worshipped the Theban god Amon and had strong cultural ties to Egypt due to the long relationship between Egypt and Nubia. The might of the Assyrian Empire was a threat to Cushite rule, however, and the Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Asarhaddon both attacked

Egypt. Ashurbanipal invaded in 671 b.c., forcing King Taharqo (biblical Tharaca, Tirhaka 2 Kgs 19:9) to retreat to Napata, where he later died. Taharqo's successor, Tanutamun, re-entered Egypt but was immediately defeated by another Assyrian onslaught, during which Ashurbanipal, with the help of Egyptian vassals, subdued all of Egypt once again.

Late Period. The Assyrians governed the country by appointing Egyptians as vassal rulers. One of these vassals, Psamtek (Psammetichus) I (664610) of Sais in the Delta, broke free of Assyrian control and established himself as sole ruler of the country, founding Dynasty 26 (664525). He controlled Thebes by appointing his daughter, Nitocris, there as "divine votaress" of Amon. Psamtek I's success was due in part to the help of Greek (Ionian and Carian) mercenaries in his army, and as Assyria declined, Egypt's contacts with foreign countries grew. Greeks were given a free trading port at Naucratis in the Delta, and Psamtek I led troops to Palestine. Nechao (Necho) II (610595) continued these policies, campaigning unsuccessfully against the Chaldaeans under nebuchadnezzar (Nabuchodonosor) and defeating King Josiah of Juda. Subsequently, the Egyptian kings Apries (589570) and Amasis (570526) also struggled against the Chaldaeans but were thwarted by

the rise of the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great in the sixth century b.c.

In 525 b.c., the Persian emperor, Cambyses, pressed west and captured King Psamtek III (526525) at Pelusium in the eastern Delta. Egypt became part of the Persian Empire, run by an appointed official called the satrap; Manetho termed this period Dynasty 27. The emperor, darius i (522486), showed some interest in the country, but after his death Egyptian leaders began to wrest power away from Persia. The last three native dynasties (Dynasties 28, 29 and 30), each based in the Delta, attained Egyptian independence and saw a short-lived renaissance of native culture. In 341 b.c., however, Persia reestablished control of Egypt under the emperor Artaxerxes III (358338), succeeded by Darius III (338335).

Alexander the Great defeated Darius III at Issus in 333 b.c. and then turned to Egypt, where he was welcomed as liberator. He stayed less than a year, but in that time he was crowned as pharaoh. He founded a harbor on the northwest coast of the Delta, named Alexandria in his honor. In the division of Alexander's empire after his death in 332 b.c., Egypt was given to his general, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, who established himself as Ptolemy I Soter (305285), king of Egypt and founder of the house of the Ptolemies.

PTOLEMAIC, ROMAN AND BYZANTINE EGYPT

This section surveys Egypt's history as a Hellenistic monarchy and then as part of the Roman and Byzantine empires.

Ptolemaic Period (30530). The Ptolemaic rulers were Greeks who respected some of Egypt's social and religious traditions while fashioning a Hellenistic monarchy for themselves. Their capital at Alexandria became the greatest intellectual center of its time, with a library of approximately half a million scrolls.

Ptolemy III Euergetes I (246221) took an interest in Palestine and came into conflict there with the Seleucid Dynasty of Syria. The Syrian wars, combined with feuds among the Ptolemies and native rebellions in the south, weakened Ptolemaic authority. In 170 b.c., Rome intervened on behalf of the Ptolemies against the Seleucid king, antiochus iv epiphanes (175164), and as a result Egypt entered more and more into the orbit of the Roman Republic.

The contest between Pompey and Julius Caesar for sole rule over Rome decided Egypt's fate. The last Ptolemaic monarch was Cleopatra VII (5130), who allied herself first with Caesar and then, after his assassination at Rome in 44 b.c., with Mark Antony in an effort to preserve Egypt's independence. Conflict between Antony and Caesar's heir, Octavian (later Augustus), came to a head at the Battle of Actium off the northwest coast of Greece in 30 b.c. After Antony and Cleopatra's forces were defeated, the pair committed suicide and Octavian claimed Egypt for Rome.

Roman Empire (30 B.C.A.D. 395). Egypt became a Roman province and was the chief source of grain for the entire empire. Roman rule differed from the Ptolemaic system because the Romans imposed a stricter system of social stratification, privileging a Greek-speaking, city-based elite. Romans did not encourage native Egyptian language, although some Egyptian temples continued to be decorated with representations of Roman "pharaohs" until around a.d. 250. As early as the second century, Christianity began to spread in Egypt, with scholars like Clement and Origen based at Alexandria. Despite Roman attempts to suppress it, Christianity continued to grow, and c. 320 St. pachomius founded the first monastery, in Upper Egypt. monasticism flourished in Egypt as men and women left their homes for these desert settlements.

Byzantine Period. At the partition of the Roman Empire following the death of Emperor Theodosius in 395, Egypt became part of the Eastern Empire and shipped its grain to the capital, Byzantium (Constantinople, modern Istanbul), rather than Rome. Christianity was now the state religion, and under Abbot shenoute of atripe (Athribis), the Egyptian, or Coptic, Church thrived. Copts continued to adhere to the Monophysite doctrine after this belief in the one divine nature of Christ was condemned at the Fourth Ecumenical Council of chalcedon in 451, and Coptic Christianity became separated from mainstream Christianity in the Byzantine Empire.

Under Heraclius (610641) Byzantine power in the Near East declined, and Arab followers of the new Islamic religion began to filter throughout the region.

MEDIEVAL EGYPT

The following sections cover Egypt from the Arab conquest until 1798: Arab Rule, Fatimid Dynasty, Ayyubid Dynasty, The Mamelukes and Ottoman Egypt.

Arab Rule. In 640, eight years after the death of the prophet muammad, the army of Caliph Umar defeated Byzantine garrisons at Pelusium in the Delta and Fort Babylon (at modern Cairo), bringing Egypt into the Muslim world.

Early Arab rulers maintained much of the Byzantine administrative system and did not force conversions to Islam. The Arabs isolated themselves from the native population and founded a new capital called Fustat (at the site of Fort Babylon), which would grow into Old Cairo. Egypt was ruled by Arab and Turkish governors appointed by the ruling Umayyad caliphs in Damascus, and later the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad. Gradual Islamization of the country proceeded and most people adopted the Arabic language. In 868, Egypt became the fiefdom of a Turkish general whose stepson, Ahmad Ibn Tulun, went to Egypt and founded the Tulunid Dynasty (868905), which opposed the Abbasid government and helped Egypt's economy and culture flourish. Ibn Tulun's successors squandered their wealth and power, however, and several years of unrest ensued.

Fatimid Dynasty (9691171). The Fatimid state, based in North Africa, took control and ruled Egypt as an independent country, setting up its own dynasty at Cairo to rival the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad. The Fatimids were tolerant of Christians and Jews in their government, except for Caliph el-Hakim (9961021), who destroyed Christian churches throughout Fatimid territory, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The Fatimids followed Shī 'ite Islam (a more esoteric sect which had split off to honor Muammad's son-inlaw, Caliph Ali), although the majority of Egyptians were, and are, mainstream Sunni Muslims. In the 12th century, struggles within the Fatimid dynasty led to the intervention of Syrian troops, who were Sunni as well. In 1171, the Sunni general, Saladin, wrested control of Egypt and deposed the Fatimids.

Ayyubid Dynasty (11711250). Saladin established the Ayyubid dynasty, which restored Egypt to the eastern (Abbasid) caliphate. Under Saladin, Egypt prospered and Cairo became the center of the Arab world. During this period, the crusades touched on Egyptian soil. Damietta in the Delta was captured and occupied for three years (12181221) during the Fifth Crusade and again during the Sixth Crusade (1249), when louis ix of France was taken prisoner in Egypt. Saladin was tolerant of Christianity in Egypt and Palestine, and Egypt traded actively with Italian city-states. At the same time, the Ayyubid policy of granting family members control of different parts of the territory encouraged dissent and armed conflict.

The Mamelukes (12501517). Ayyubid sultans increasingly purchased Turkish slaves, called Mamelukes, to staff their armies, and in 1250 the Mamelukes took advantage of an Ayyubid feud to elect one of their own men as sultan, backed by Mameluke military strength. The Mameluke Dynasty saw Egypt at the pinnacle of its cultural, economic and political powers. Although the Mamelukes were not ethnically Arab and many did not speak Arabic literature, education and the arts. Mameluke territory in Egypt and Palestine offered a haven to Muslims fleeing Mongol invasions from the Far East, and in part because of this pressure, Christians and Jews were resented and at times persecuted. Conversion to Islam accelerated, and use of the Coptic language declined in favor of Arabic.

Ottoman Egypt (15171798). After confrontations between the Mamelukes and the Ottoman Empire over control of Palestine and Syria, the Ottomans defeated the Mamelukes in 1517. Egypt became a province governed from Istanbul (ancient Byzantium, Constantinople) by means of a viceroy, or pasha, in Cairo. Mamelukes still constituted a political and financial elite, identified by the title bey after their names, and in the late 18th century, Mamelukes tried to reassert power against their Ottoman rulers.

MODERN EGYPT

Egypt's history since the Napleonic invasion of 1798 is treated under these subdivisions: French Occupation, Muhammad Ali and his successors, British Occupation, The Kingdom of Egypt and the Arab Republic of Egypt.

French Occupation (17981805). In 1798, napoleon i Bonaparte captured Alexandria with a fleet that included his army as well as a corps of scholars and scientists (savants) interested in Egyptian history and culture. Napoleon claimed to be a friend of the Ottomans who would liberate Egypt from the Mameluke rebels. As the savants set about recording the art, architecture and natural world of Egypt, Napoleon faced the threat of British troops approaching from the Mediterranean and the Ottoman forces from the east. Napoleon slipped by the British and returned to France, leaving his troops behind to hold out against the British until 1801. British forces then withdrew from Egypt in 1803, leaving control of the country to the Ottomans once more.

Although of little military consequence, the French Occupation brought Egypt into close contact with Europe and opened the door for Europeans to study the Egyptian past, most notably through the discovery of the Rosetta Stonea trilingual Egyptian and Greek inscription which was surrendered to the Britishand the publication of the multi-volume Description de l'Égypte, which collected the savants' records of ancient and contemporary Egypt.

Muammad Ali (18051849) and his successors. Amid much debate, Muammad Ali was appointed pasha and set about establishing himself in a position of almost complete independence from the Ottomans. He restructured the Egyptian administration to break the power of the Mamelukes, effectively making himself chief landowner with an agricultural monopoly. Trade with Europe, especially the British and French, introduced some westernization and opened Egypt to European travelers and archaeologists.

During the reign of Ismail (18631879), a grandson of Muammad Ali, the French-designed Suez Canal was opened, making Egypt even more pivotal to Europe and the Ottomans. Ismail used the title Khedive to distinguish himself from other Ottoman viceroys, and he and his family continued to own most of Egypt's land. Egyptian army leaders and the educated elite, who had been exposed to European administrative ideals, increasingly opposed this autocracy. Under pressure from Britain and France, the Ottomans deposed Ismail in favor of his son, Tawfiq (18791892), which created an opening for further European involvement in Egyptian affairs.

British Occupation (18821922). In 1882, British forces occupied Egypt and made it an unofficial, or "veiled," protectorate of the British Empire. Nominally, the Ottoman sultan and the Khedive retained control of Egypt, but Britain installed advisors who oversaw the internal administration, under the direction of the British consul, Lord Cromer.

Khedive Tawfiq was succeeded by his son, Abbas Hilmi II (18921914), who at times openly criticized Cromer and General Kitchener, commander of the Egyptian army. In 1898 the army reconquered Sudan and added it to Britain's veiled protection, after which Tawfiq was more conciliatory to the British.

Meanwhile, a growing Egyptian nationalist movement, spearheaded by French-educated lawyer and journalist Mustafa Kamil (18741908), turned to the Ottomans for support. The Egyptian upper classes were dissatisfied with the extent and duration of British control, but Cromer did not sympathize with nationalist concerns. By the time Kitchener was appointed consul in 1911, several nationalist factions competed in opposition to the British and to Khedive Abbas Hilmi.

War against the Ottoman Empire was declared in 1914, and Britain made Egypt an official protectorate, deposing the Khedive and appointing his uncle, and later his uncle's brother, as sultan. Kitchener was replaced by a high commissioner, Sir Reginald Wingate, who instituted martial law and abolished the Egyptian assembly.

Two days after the Armistice was signed in November of 1918, an Egyptian delegation (called the Wafd ) led by nationalist politician Said Zaghlul approached Wingate to plead for Egypt's independence from Britain. When Wingate refused to meet the delegation, revolt broke out and Britain appointed a new commissioner, Lord Allenby, to reassert control. Zaghlul continued to press for independence, and Allenby, hoping to thwart the most radical nationalists, agreed, resulting in a declaration of independence on Feb. 28, 1922.

The Kingdom of Egypt (19221952). In March of 1922, the sultan became King Fuad I of Egypt at the head of a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament. However, political struggles continued between the British, the new king and the Wafd, which had become the major nationalist organization with a large popular following.

When World War II broke out in 1939, Egypt was obliged to offer Britain military assistance under the terms of a 1936 treaty, although King Farouk (19361952) was hostile to the British; heavy fighting took place in Egypt in 194243. Egypt's involvement on behalf of the Arab cause in Palestine (ending in defeat in the first Arab-Israel war of 194849) and the formation of the Arab League in 1945 led to further political disagreement with Britain and public demonstrations against the king.

A group of army officers, called the Free Officers, conspired in an armed coup on the night of July 2223, 1952. Led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the officers forced King Farouk to abdicate and leave the country.

Arab Republic of Egypt. Nasser and his associates abolished the 1923 constitution. In July of 1953, the Arab Republic of Egypt was declared (first as the United Arab Republic) and a new constitution was in place by 1956, with Nasser elected as the first president of Egypt.

Nasser (19561970). Nasser settled long-standing disputes with Britain over Sudan and the Suez Canal Zone, so that Sudan attained independence and British troops left Suez. Nasser's popular domestic policies were socialist in scope, placing Egyptian industry under state ownership, limiting private landownership and heavily subsidizing commodities like sugar and electricity. He suppressed opposition political organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.

In the postwar political climate, Egypt had an uneasy relationship with the West. In 1956, Nasser provoked a crisis by nationalizing the Suez Canal after the United States and Britain withdrew funding for the Aswan High Dam. With backing from the Soviet Union, the Dam was finally completed in 1968, to provide adequate electricity to Egypt's expanding population.

Antagonism towards the new state of Israel united Egypt and other Arab countries, from whom Israel feared attack. A second Arab-Israeli war in 195657 was instigated by the Suez Crisis and ended after American and Soviet intervention convinced Israel to withdraw from territory it had taken in Sinai, bordering the Canal Zone. In June of 1967, the third Arab-Israeli war (called the Six Day War) broke out when Israel launched pre-emptive strikes against Egypt and Jordan. Israeli forces reoccupied the Sinai Peninsula and captured territory in Jordan (the West Bank) and Syria (the Golan Heights).

Sadat (19701981). When Nasser died suddenly in September of 1970, vice-president Anwar Sadat succeeded him as president. Sadat inherited an economy struggling with budget deficits, chronic shortages and a military infrastructure nearly destroyed by Israel in the 1967 war.

In October of 1973, a fourth Arab-Israeli war (the October War, or Yom Kippur War) began when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. To solve the crisis, the United States restored diplomatic relations with Egypt and helped broker a settlement whereby Israel withdrew from Sinai and Egypt fully reopened the Suez Canal to international traffic. Egypt also acknowledged Israel's right to exist. This political victory placed Sadat in a strong position to turn to the West, rather than the Soviet Union, for financial aid. Subsidies and nationalization were curtailed and Western companies began to invest in Egypt, moves which stabilized the economy but were very unpopular. Sadat tried to appease Islamists by giving limited state backing to some religious laws and showing more lenience towards the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sadat also entered into peace negotiations with Israel, and in 1978 he met with the Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, and U.S. President James Carter at Camp David near Washington D.C. In March of 1979, Sadat and Begin signed a peace treaty, which brought American support but angered other Arab nations, who immediately excluded Egypt from the Arab League.

Controversial laws adopted in 1980 made it possible for the president to be elected indefinitely, and in September of 1981, members of many opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, were imprisoned. On Oct. 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated during a military parade when Islamist army officers opened fire on him.

Mubarak (1981present). Vice-president Hosni Mubarak survived the attack on Sadat and was immediately elected as the new president. Mubarak restored Egyptian relations with the Arab League in 1989 and has continued to open the Egyptian economy to the West. Mubarak has also used Egypt's pivotal but difficult position with regard to Israel to help further negotiations among moderate Israeli leaders, the Palestinians and other Arab countries, especially during crises like the 199192 Persian Gulf War. The activity of Islamist extremists in Egypt remains a serious problem. Coptic Christians in central Egypt have been targeted by radical Islamist militia, and in 1997, members of the outlawed Islamic Jihad group killed more than 60 tourists at Luxor in an attempt to damage the government's vital revenues from travel industry sources. Mubarak was elected to a fourth term as president in 1999.

Bibliography: j. baines and j. malek, Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt (2nd ed. New York 2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, ed. i. shaw (Oxford 2000). Egypt The World of the Pharaohs, ed. r. schulz and m. seidel, tr. p. manuelian (Cologne 1998). b. midant-reynes, The Prehistory of Egypt From the First Egyptians to the First Pharaohs (Oxford 2000). b. kemp, Ancient Egypt Anatomy of a Civilization (London and New York 1989). d. redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton 1992). a. bowman, Egypt After the Pharaohs (2nd ed. London 1996). The Cambridge History of Egypt, volume I: Islamic Egypt, 6401517 and volume II: Modern Egypt, from 1517 to the End of the Twentieth Century, ed. m. w. daly (Cambridge 1998).

[h. goedicke/

c. riggs]