Basic facts about Egypt   2012-01-17 14:14:54            

Egypt lies in the northeastern corner of the African continent, with an extension across the Gulf of Suez into the Sinai Peninsula in southwestern Asia. On its northern coasts is the Mediterranean Sea and on its eastern coasts the Red Sea.

Egypt covers an area of about one million square km, with about 96 percent desert. It has 29 governorates (provinces) and a population of around 78 million. Cairo, the capital, has more than seven million people. Most of its people are Muslims. Coptic Christians account for about 10 percent.

With one of the world's longest civilizations, Egypt boasts huge numbers of splendid historic relics and antiques, such as pyramids, the Sphinx, obelisks and mummies.

The National Democratic Party, led by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has ruled the country for about three decades. The banned Muslim Brotherhood is the biggest opposition group.

 The Nile River, the world's longest, has a 1,532-km-stretch in Egypt. The river provides water for more than 95 percent of the country's population.

Egypt, which abounds in petroleum, natural gas, phosphates and iron ore, has become one of the world's important producers and exporters of natural gas. The volume of proven natural gas reserves has reached 78.1 trillion cubic feet and the oil reserves about 4.4 billion barrels.

The 195-km Suez Canal, which connects directly the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, reaped 4.54 billion U.S. dollars in the 2009-2010 financial year. In the first ten months this year, its revenue was 3.9 billion U.S. dollars, up 11.4 percent year-on-year.

The country's gross domestic product has maintained relatively fast growth over the past few years. Affected by the global financial crisis, its growth rate fell to 4.7 percent in the 2008-2009 financial year from 7.2 percent in the previous one. In the 2009-2010 financial year, the grow rate was 5.3 percent. The National Democratic Party has pledged to realize an average annual growth of above seven percent in the next five years.

Egypt also features high inflation and unemployment rates in recent years. In 2009, the inflation was 11.8 percent and unemployment about 9.5 percent.

Tourism revenue and remittances of Egyptian nationals working abroad are one of the major sources of Egypt's income. In the 2009-2010 financial year, its tourism revenue hit 11.6 billion U.S. dollars and the remittances 9.75 billion U.S. dollars.


The People's Assembly, or the lower house of the parliament, is composed primarily of elected members and exercises the legislative power of Egypt, and approve the overall policy of the State, the public plan of economic and social development and the overall budget of the State. It is also responsible for supervising the government.

Every five years, members of the People's Assembly are elected in popular ballots under a complex system of proportional representation. The President himself appoints 10 members. Ahmed Fathi Sorour is the Speaker of the People's Assembly since 1990.

In Sunday's election, 508 seats are being contested, and the next parliament will have 64 more seats than before that are reserved specifically for women candidates based on a new law passed last year.

The People's Assembly is dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which won 311 of the 444 elected seats in 2005. The chief of all 19 committees of the assembly are NDP members.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest opposition group and secured 88 seats in 2005. All its members run as independents because the Islamic group was officially banned since 1954.

Editor: Mo Hong'e
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