Vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Language: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
Muslim (mostly Sunni) 90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%
Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. Egypt's economy was highly centralized during the rule of former President Gamal Abdel NASSER but opened up considerably under former Presidents Anwar EL-SADAT and Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK.
Despite the relatively high levels of economic growth in recent years, living conditions for the average Egyptian remained poor and contributed to public discontent. After unrest erupted in January 2011, the Egyptian Government backtracked on economic reforms, drastically increasing social spending to address public dissatisfaction, but political uncertainty at the same time caused economic growth to slow significantly, reducing the government's revenues.
Arab Republic of Egypt
US assistance has long played a central role in Egypt’s economic and military development, and in furthering the strategic partnership. After the military seized power in 2013, however, the US withheld significant military equipment and aid and cancelled its joint military exercise. The US is deeply concerned about the worsening climate for freedom of assembly and peaceful expression in Egypt.
GEO-POLITICAL IMPORTANCE (1:18)
After the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt for some 30 years, from 1981 until the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.