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Egypt

Egypt

Summary

Civilization in Egypt has historically centered around the Nile river. Modern populations continue to depend on the river for agriculture and clean water, putting strain on local water systems and exacerbating issues with water scarcity. The country is marked by violent power transfers and rampant human rights abuses.1 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html

Demographics

Nationality
Egyptian
Population
85,294,388 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Egypt Subcases

Click and view Egypt subcases and learn more about our Egypt

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Pollution is the biggest environmental issue facing Egypt and its water supply. Industrial runoff, agricultural runoff, and sewage are routinely deposited in the Nile River. Egypt is densely populated, waste storage is limited, and water treatment plants are scarce. Air pollution has increased in the past decade due to the significant population increase. In Cairo today, the average citizen inhales 20 times more than the acceptable level of air pollution daily.1 Along with the increased pollution, Egypt has to reform its environmental policies to help mitigate the negative effects that are caused by climate change and a rapidly expanding population.6

Family

The rapidly expanding population and dramatic increase in birth rate are the leading current family issues. With the increased burden on the economy and overextension of limited resources, the rising population is a major issue in Egypt. The Egyptian government, as of 2017, has developed a family planning program, with aims to significantly lower birth rates. This program is geared towards families in rural areas, who often see large families as a source of economic strength, or abstain from birth control for religious reasons. 1 42.3% of women use contraceptives.2

Human Rights

Human rights abuses are exacerbated by internal turmoil and periods of military rule. Other abuses include police violence, impunity, restriction on freedom of expression, association, religion, and limitations on the rights of women.1 In 2013, Egypt instituted a number of restrictive laws that have established heavy punishments for anyone speaking out against the government.2 In 2016, there were 912 victims of enforced disappearance by the Egyptian police force. Many political protesters are thrown in jail and are often taken to trial without any legal representation or evidence being presented.3

Education

One of the Millennium Development Goals that Egypt still has to meet is universal primary education. The enrollment rate in primary schools is quite high, with 94% of boys and 91% of girls enrolled. Upper Egypt, where poverty rates are much higher, continues to underperform in enrollment. In some areas, such as the Sohag region, enrollment is as low as 75-77%.1 The largest challenge facing Egypt is a rapidly expanding population and limited educational resources to meet their increasing needs. The Egyptian government has granted education access to Syrian refugees, adding more students to an already overstressed education system. Teachers cannot provide adequate instruction for large class sizes with inconsistent school funding.2

Poverty

As of 2017, poverty in rural Upper Egypt was at 57 percent, while poverty in urban Lower Egypt was 10 percent.1 Food insecurity is the biggest issue facing Egyptians. The lack of clean water, rising unemployment and birth rates are also causes of humanitarian issues.2 About 73% of the population receives food ration cards.3 The majority of the poor in Egypt are small-scale farmers, landless laborers, unemployed youth, and women. Alternatives to the agricultural employment are limited due to inadequate marketing infrastructure.4

Religion

90% of the population identifies as Muslim, predominantly Sunni Muslim. The majority of non-Muslims are Christians.1 The government is responsible for the creation of a hostile and intolerant environment towards citizens who are not Muslim. Additionally, the advancement of radical Islamic groups, particularly the Islamic State, has resulted in Christians facing severe persecution.2 The government does not allow Muslim citizens to enjoy their religious freedom; they’re forced to practice in a culture of suppression.3

Clean Water

Egypt has long suffered from water scarcity, uneven water distribution, inefficient irrigation systems, and misused water resources. The country is dependent on rainfall to supplement scarce water supplies, rendering it vulnerable in times of low rainfall.1 The majority of the population in Egypt lives near the Nile Valley.2 The rapidly growing population further strains Egypt’s limited resources. In addition, many of Egypt’s communities rely on water delivery and sanitation systems that are outdated and unhygienic.3 The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization stated that water scarcity is one of the most critical food security issues facing North African countries, including Egypt.4

Economy

Egypt’s economy expanded rapidly during the Presidency of Hosni Mubarak (1981-2011) in order to attract foreign investment.1-2 However, the next President, Morsi, halted economic growth in favor of social programs and was ousted soon after. The considerable lack of rule of law and uneven reforms have hindered economic growth.3 Economic stagnation and high levels of poverty have taken hold of the country.The instability in the country discourages foreign investments, as there is little confidence that economic ventures will be sustainable. However, the government has pledged to reduce joblessness to 10 percent over the next several years, focusing on economic reform. As of 2017, Egypt’s unemployment rate had fallen under 12 percent for the first time since the political uprising of 2011.4

Government

Egyptian government is plagued in all levels by corruption, as well as the police forces. The rule of law is not upheld throughout the country and the judicial system is subject to political influence. The Egyptian government has undergone serious transitions since 2012. In the midst of all of the political turmoil and instability in major cities, tourism and foreign investments have suffered1, the investment climate in Egypt has endured serious upheavals, and many international businesses have withdrawn. Government affairs are nearly inseparable from demands of extortion, bribery, and instability.2

Health

The life expectancy in Egypt is 69 years for males and 73 years for females. 1 The infant mortality rate is 19 deaths per 1,000 live births.2 Egypt has made significant progress towards achieving its Millennium Development Goals and creating mandatory immunization programs.3 Health initiatives, like a national program to combat tuberculosis, are provided at no cost to Egyptians.4 Still, Egyptian healthcare is often low quality, offering minimal care to patients.5

Children

Egypt’s improving economic and social indicators have succeeded in increasing the amount of protections that are afforded to children. Child poverty is a key challenge currently facing Egypt. Between 2000 and 2015, the percentage of the Egyptian population living below the poverty line rose to 27.8%.1 Egyptian children face almost daily violence.2 Many schools still view corporal punishment as an acceptable option. Around 93% of children say that they have experienced violence in their homes and at school.3

Animals

Egypt lies at the intersection of several zoogeographical regions, reflecting the country’s diverse variety of animals.1 These rare environmental conditions have led to the flourishing of over 350 types of birds and 190 variations of fish. Egypt’s wild animal species also include jackals, gazelles, and cobras. Common domestic animals are buffalo, camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats. Many animals found in ancient Egyptian artwork, including hippopotamuses, giraffes, and ostriches, can no longer be found in Egypt.2 Crocodiles remain only south of the Asw?n High Dam.3

Egypt

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