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Egypt

Basic Information

Area: 980,869 km²

Calling code: +20

Population: 75,042,000

Official Language: Arabic

Time zone: EET (UTC+2), Local time: 05:47

Overview

Located in the northeastern corner of Africa and bordered by Libya to the west, Sudan to south, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, Egypt has shorelines to the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the Red Sea to the east. The majority of populated areas are found close to the fertile land of the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta. Modern Egypt consists of 26 Governorates (administrative divisions) with Al-Qahirah (Cairo) being the capital. Cairo and its surrounding region has been a centre of human habitation and civilisation for over 5½ thousand years, with a rich history that still fascinates and enthrals millions of people around the globe. The modern city of Cairo is the capital of Egypt and is located close to the beginning of the Nile Delta, having been founded in 641 AD after an Arabic invasion. The ancient capital of Egypt, Memphis, is around 20 kilometres south of Cairo, and the Sphinx and pyramids at Giza are less than a kilometre from the southwestern suburbs. The Cairo metropolitan population is close to 16 million, putting it within the top ten most populated metropolitan areas in the world.

Economy

According to the CIA World Factbook, the country’s economy is based on agriculture 14.7%, industry 35.5% and services 49.8% (2006 est.), with a GDP per capita of $4,200. Within Egypt, Cairo is the principal centre for industry and commerce as well a being the countries administrative hub. The production of foodstuffs, aircraft and vehicles, textiles and metals are just a few of the many industries contributing to the city’s income. Tourism for many years has been an important part of Cairo’s economy, and despite a number of terrorist attacks and bombings, it is still one of the cornerstones of the economy.

In an address at a luncheon in May 2007, held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid indicated that “Investment in industry rose from $5.6 billion in 2004 to $12.7 billion in 2005 and $16.4 billion in 2006”.

As with many cities around the world, Cairo includes economic Free Zones close to the city; however, one such zone is unusual for an Islamic country - the Egyptian Media Production City (EMPC). Located about 20 kilometres south west of the city centre, the EMPC covers around two million square metres, with a further million square metres put aside for later expansion. At the EMPC are some of most up-to-date media production facilities in the world, as well as conference and entertainment facilities and hotels. The EMPC has many incentives available to encourage investors regardless of nationality.

Standard Of Living

According to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office “the crime rate in Egypt is low but you should take sensible precautions”.

Most of those who travel to Egypt as tourists do so to see the treasures of the country’s ancient past. A testament to the fascination people have with Egyptology was in 1972, at the Tutankhamun Exhibition at the British Museum in London. The exhibition attracted nearly two million visitors, many of who queued for four or five hours to get in.

The Mercer Human Resource consulting 2007 Quality of Life Survey ranks Cairo in joint 129th position out of 215 cities world wide, with a score of 71.2. New York is the median for the index, in 48th place (100) Zurich is in 1st place (108.1). It should also noted that the Mercer Human Resource Consulting Cost of Living Survey 2006 ranks Cairo in 93rd position out of 144 cities world wide, with a score of 85. New York is the median for the index, is in joint 10th place with Oslo (100) Moscow is in 1st place (123.9).

Infrastructure

Much as with many other aspects of Egypt, most of the country’s infrastructure is located close to the Nile and its Delta. The country has a second major waterway in the Suez Canal. The canal connects Port Said and Mediterranean Sea in the north to Suez and the Red Sea in the south, covering over 160 kilometres.

Situated around 15 kilometres west of the city centre, Cairo International Airport is one of Africa’s busiest airports, dealing with in the region of 10 million passengers per year. The airport connects Cairo to most of Europe, Africa, the Middle and Far East and some destinations in continental North America. Currently the only connection into the city is by road, with a bus ride to down town costing 35 Egyptian Pounds (under five euros).

Once in the city travel is mainly by road; however, Cairo does have a metro system, currently the only metro in Africa, comprising of 51 stations on two lines. The first of the two lines opened in 1987, followed in the 1990’s by a second line. A third line which will extend to the airport has been planned, and a further three lines are proposed for completion by 2022. Cairo is also the main focal point for the Egyptian railway network, which for the most part covers the Nile Delta region and lines eastwards; to the south, a single route with a few branch lines follows the River Nile to Aswan High Dam, over 1,200 kilometres to the south.

Workforce

According to the 2006 census carried out by the Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt has a total workforce of just under 22 million from a population of just over 72.5 million, with an unemployment rate of 9.31%.

The standard of higher education in Cairo ensures that the city and Egypt as a whole are supplied with a steady flow of skilled and motivated workers. Apart from its own world-class universities and colleges, Cairo and the surrounding region is also home to a number of institutions of higher education from such countries as America, Britain, Canada and Germany.
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