• 73.5

    Life Expectancy at Birth (years)

  • 6.4

    Mean Years of Schooling

  • 0.59

    Gender Inequality Index

  • 72%

    Adult Literacy Rate (ages 15 and older)

  • 54.1%

    Youth Unemployment (ages 15-24)

  • 26.7%

    Internet users

About Egypt

Where is Egypt?

Picture of the countryside in Egypt with the Pyramids in the background

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in the North-Eastern and South-Western corners of Africa and Asia respectively. It is bounded to the North by the Mediterranean Sea, from the East by Palestine and Israel, from the South by Sudan, and from the West by Libya. Egypt’s borders run about 1,085 km from North to South and about 1,255 km from east to west encompassing an almost square-shaped total area of about 1 million square kilometres. Egypt is divided into four major zones: the Nile Valley and Delta, the Western Desert, the Eastern Desert, and the Sinai Peninsula. The Nile Valley and the Delta occupy about 33,000 square kilometres, which account to less than 4% of the total area. The Western Desert occupies an area of about 671,000 square kilometres, the Eastern Desert occupies about a quarter of the total area of Egypt at 225,000 square kilometres, and The Sinai Peninsula occupies about 61,000 square kilometres. Egypt's total population is estimated at 84 million, with an annual population growth rate of 2% (2010-2015). Administratively, Egypt is divided into 27 Governorates, each headed by a Governor. Within their districts, local government units establish and manage all public utilities, provide services, and designate industrial areas. Local popular councils are elected bodies that work closely with local government administrative units at various levels. Economic Profile Egypt’s economy mainly relies on four sources of income: tourism, remittances from Egyptians working abroad, revenues from the Suez Canal and oil.

At this point in Egypt's History...

Boat sails carrying Millennium Development Goals logos from the Sailing the Nile project

Egypt has witnessed a prolonged struggle for democracy that was at its highest intensity during the period of January 25 2011 when massive young and determined activists took to the streets of Cairo and other major cities and sustained a continuous largely peaceful demonstrations for a period of 18 days, until President Mubarak stepped down and a new political phase in the country’s history began. Since then, dramatic and continuously changing political, economic and social dynamics provide Egypt and its development partners with new development opportunities and challenges.  Along with the rest of the UN development system, UNDP is responding to the new needs Egyptian citizens face as they work to build a new Egypt that fulfils their demands for “bread, freedom and social justice”.  At the same time, UNDP remains engaged on a wide range of development issues that have been on the country’s agenda for some time and which require sustained attention.

Challenges Facing Egypt

Egypt's growing population which, according some estimates, may exceed 100 million people by 2020 continues to place a burden on limited resources. Although Egypt is doing well in improving certain social and economic indicators and a recent report concluded that the country is potentially on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, progress still needs to be made in many other areas.


Poverty Challenges include persistence in poverty (reaching 25.5% in 2012) despite relatively consistent economic growth, reflecting large disparities and inequitable growth; jobless growth with unemployment standing at around 12.4%, 90% of which are youth; unemployment was recorded was four times higher among women; shrinking public sector; inefficient safety net programmes unable to target the poor; and the Digital Divide: a globally competitive ICT sector needed to generate long-term employment aiming at equitably benefiting underprivileged Egyptians.


Governance Challenges include issues that had been previously identified that have perhaps amplified following the January 25th revolution. These include: Poor accountability, weak political parties, low citizen participation in political life, marginal role for representative civil society participation in, and monitoring outcomes of, Development, low trust of citizens in Government, especially the police, weak citizen’s voice in setting development priorities, women's position in public and political life, Human rights practices in some state institutions.


Environment Challenges include air pollution resulting in smog episodes; water scarcity and lack of quality sanitation systems and water pollution where only 70% of the urban population have sanitation and as low as 4 % in rural Egypt; climate change risks including water resources, coastal zones and agriculture; land and coastal zone management; solid waste management; loss of biodiversity; and depleting oil and gas resources.

Country flag
Country map
84 million
Area (in sq. km)
Area (in sq. mi)
Poverty rate
22% of population below national poverty line (2002-2012)
Per capita income
US$ 5,547 (GDP)
Human Development Index

Sources: UNDP Human Development Report 2013