Land area: 997,739 sq km
Mostly desert; only 3% is arable land – along the banks and delta of the Nile River and around the Western Desert oases.
Official language: Arabic
Egypt is often known by the world for its ancient pyramids and the Biblical story of the deliverance of the Israelites. Egypt remains the most populous country in the Arab world and holds great regional and global influence. Egypt was no exception to the effects of the Arab Spring of 2011, leading to the ousting of then President Hosni Mubarak. In addition to the water crisis, forced labour and sex trafficking leave street children especially vulnerable.
Following the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) led an insurgency, bringing widespread terror and the tragic deaths of thousands. Political unrest has inhibited the nation from addressing economic problems, corruption, and strained resources (water crisis).
Most economic activity takes place in the highly fertile Nile Valley. Despite sporadic terrorist attacks, the vital tourism industry has rebounded, but economic growth continues to lag, and Cairo has become more dependent on aid from Saudi Arabia and international financial institutions.
Poverty rate: 33% of Egypt’s 99M people were classified as poor in 2018, up from 28% in 2015. 60% of Egyptians are “either poor or vulnerable”.