General Information

 

Geography

Egypt’s geography is unique. The country lies on the north-eastern edge of the African continent. 96% of Egypt is desert, desert and desert again, covered with minimal vegetation. Only about 4% of the total land area is for people usable and inhabitable. This area we find along the Mediterranean coast of Alexandria up to Cairo, in the complete Nile Delta and all along the fertile Nile up to Lake Nasser on the border with Sudan. Without the Nile, the fertile lifeline that runs through to the country from north to south, Egypt would be a country where the Sahara was ubiquitous, and where the dry desert climate would be severely restricted the existing habitat.

The Mediterranean Sea forms the northern border of Egypt and brings colder weather to the coastal city of Alexandria. The city is therefore an attractive destination for residents of Cairo, who want to spend time on the coast. The eastern border is in large part formed by the Red Sea and with the mountainous Sinai Peninsula Egypt is bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip. The peninsula makes up by that a bridge between Asia and Africa. To the south, the deserts of Egypt quietly roll into the deserts of Sudan. To the west, the Great Western Desert forms an almost seamless wilderness through Libya and beyond.

The lowest point of Egypt we find in the Libyan Desert, namely in the Qattara Depression, 134 meters below sea level. The highest point is located on St. Catherine Mountain on the Sinai Peninsula with an altitude of 2642 m. Together with the Moses Mountain (2285 m) we have here the two highest peaks in Egypt. In the Red Sea arose in the course of evolution some of the richest coral reefs.

The Suez Canal is the busy shipping lane in the country. For centuries, however, it was the River Nile, plied by felucca that provided the main conduit for trade along the country’s length. Air traffic, trains and roads are now competing with each other for that distinction, but the Nile is still the beating heart and thus has an important economic and cultural position in the country.

The Nile perfuses the Delta north of Cairo, supporting 90% of the population in a flood land of cotton and rice-growing crops. The river’s potency has been reduced since the building of the Aswan High Dam. Positive side of the Aswan High Dam is that it has provided the country with a safe and reliable electricity supply. And it has had the side effect of keeping the crocodiles out.

Total area   :   1,001,450 square km, including the Sinai.

Land area   :   995,450 square km

Water area :   6,000 square km

The land borders which Egypt shares with other countries are of 2665 km in total and comprises of: Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1115 km and Sudan 1273 km. The coastline is 2450 km long, which includes the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba, though any indentions which are suitable as harbours, are confined to the Delta.


Economy

Egypt has one of the most diverse economies in North-Africa and the Middle-East with the various sectors employing the following amounts of people: agriculture 32%; industry 17%; services 39%; and tourism 12%.

Natural resources

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

Agricultures products

Cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep and goats.

Industries

Textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metals and light manufactures.

Export commodities

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

Import commodities

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

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