Egypt lies in the northern corner of Africa. It is bounded by the international frontiers of the Mediterranean Sea in the North, the Red Sea in the East, Libya in the west and Sudan in the south.
Area : The total area of Egypt is 1.2 million Km2
Topography : Egypt is geographically divided into four main divisions:
1- The Nile Valley and Delta (approx. 33,000 Km2)
It extends from the North Valley to the Mediterranean Sea and is divided into Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, extending from Wadi Halfa to the south of Cairo and from North Cairo to the Mediterranean Sea. The River Nile in the north is divided into two branches, Damietta and Rachid embracing the highly fertile agricultural lands of the Delta.
2- The Western Desert (approx. 680,000 Km2)
Extends from the Nile Valley in the East to the Libyan borders in the west, and from the Mediterranean in the north to the Egyptian southern boarders.
It is divided into:
- The Northern Section: it includes the coastal plain, the northern plateau and the Great Depression, the Natroun Valley and Baharia Oasis.
- The Southern Section: it includes Farafra, Kharga, Dakhla, and El-Owainat in the far south.
3- The Eastern Desert (approx. 325,000 Km2 )
It extends from the Nile Valley in the West to the Red Sea, Suez gulf, and Suez Canal in the East, and from Lake Manzala on the Mediterranean in the North to Egypt's southern borders with Sudan in the south. The Eastern Desert is marked with the Eastern Mountains that range along the Red Sea with peaks that rise to about 3000 feet above the sea level. This desert is a store of Egyptian natural resources including various ores such as gold, coal, and oil.
4- Sinai Peninsula (approx. 61,000 Km2 )
Sinai has a triangular shape having its base at the Mediterranean in the North and its apex in the South at Ras Mohammed, the Gulf of Aqaba to the East and the Gulf of Suez and Suez Canal to the west. It is topographically divided into three main sections:
- The southern section: it involves extremely tough terrain that is composed of high-rise granite mountains. Mount Catherine rises about 2640 meters above sea level, thus making it the highest mountaintop in Egypt.
- The Central section: it comprises the area bounded by the Mediterranean to the North.
- Al-Teeh plateau to the south: it is a plain area having abundant water resources derived from rainwater flowing from southern heights to the central plateau.
The Egyptian climate is influenced by the factors of location, topography, and general system for pressure and water surfaces. These aspects affect Egypt's climate dividing it into several regions. Egypt lies in the dry equatorial region except its northern areas located within the moderate warm region with a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean region. It is warm and dry in the summer and moderate with limited rainfall increasing at the coast in winter.
Water Resources : Egypt depends on three main sources; the River Nile water, rain fall and floods in addition to ground water.
Mineral & Oil Resources : Egypt is endowed with a fortune of important metals such as phosphates, raw iron and oil.
Language : Arabic is the formal language. English, the first foreign language, along with French, are used in business activities.
Egypt has offered humanity the oldest political system ever. Along the River Nile’s bank, the first central, unified state in the world was formed. Egypt had the precedence in creating the life of a whole nation through the formation of organizational frameworks that had an important role in maintaining the values of democracy and freedom. Egypt’s permanent constitution (issued in September 1971and later amended on May 22 1980) regulates the State’s political system and determines general authorities and reference terms. The Egyptian constitution hereby enforces the pillars of the democratic, parliamentary system, stresses the supremacy of the law and the independence of judicial authorities based on the basic fundamentals of Islamic Sharia’a (Islamic laws) and Arabic as the official language of Egypt. The Egyptian political system entails six authorities: legislative, executive, judiciary, press, political parties, local administration and civil society organizations.
First: Legislative Authorities:
1- The People’s Assembly (Parliament): The People’s Assembly exercises the legislative power and approves the State’s general policy. The assembly’s current term involves 454 members, 10 of whom are appointed by the Egyptian President. The elected members to The People’s Assembly must be at least 350 members. At least half of the Assembly’s members must belong to workers and peasants. The duration of the People’s Assembly term is five years starting from the date of its first meeting. Elections for the renewal of the Assembly shall take place within the sixty days preceding the termination of its term. During the latest parliamentary elections in October/November 2004, Egypt has applied judicial supervision on all polling stations throughout the three stages of the elections. The People’s Assembly carries out its legislative and supervisory missions through 18 committees which are: Constitutional and Legislative, Planning and Budgeting, Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Arab Affairs, Defense and National Security, Suggestions and Complaint, Man Power, Industry and Energy, Agriculture and Irrigation, Education and Scientific Research, Religious, Social and Waqfs (Endowments), Culture, Media and Tourism, Health and Environment Affairs, Transport and Communication, Housing, Public Utilities and Construction, Local Government and Public Organization and Youth Committees.
The Central Auditing Agency (CAA), as an independent public corporate body ensuring control over governmental funds and those of other public bodies, assists The People’s Assembly in financial monitoring at both the legal and auditing levels.
2- The Shura Council (Consultative Assembly): The Shura Council is entitled to study and propose whatever it sees can maintain the national unity and social peace and protect basic constituents of the community. The current Shura Council is composed of 264 members. The term of membership is six years. 50% of the members are to be re-elected or re-appointed after 3 years. Latest elections were undertaken in June 2004 under complete judicial supervision.
Second: Executive Authority:
The President of Egypt undertakes the executive authority in his capacity as the person ensuring the sovereignty of the Egyptian people, respect for the law and Constitution as well as the protection of national unity. The presidential term lasts for six years starting from the date of announcing the referendum results. The President may be re-elected for other terms. The public-policy making process is being undertaken and its implementation supervised by the President cooperatively with the Cabinet of Ministers. The President is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Head of both the Supreme Police Council and the National Defense Council.
2- The Government:
The Egyptian Government, represented by Cabinet of Ministers, is the highest administrative and executive body managing the State's affairs including: - Directing, coordinating and monitoring the performance of ministries and public authorities - Drafting public budget and state plan - Concluding and granting loans based on the presidential laws and decrees, the government, in conjunction with the President, lays down the State's public policy and supervises its implementation. The government also works on the implementation of laws, maintaining national security and protecting citizens' rights and interests. The Central Authority for Public Mobilization and Statistics and the Central Authority for Organization and Administration are bodies assisting the government.
Third: Judicial Authority:
The Egyptian constitution stipulates that the judiciary is an independent body that courts undertake; and judges, who are also independent, issue verdicts based on the law. No authority, whatsoever, is allowed to interfere in judicial affairs. The judicial authority is composed of a diversity of courts (partial, primary, courts of appeal and cassation), administrative judiciary (state-council) and the Supreme Constitutional Court. The Egyptian judiciary plays a key role in monitoring the constitutionality of laws and interpreting their provisions. Moreover, it also effectively helps enforce democracy in Egypt through having an important role in forming political parties, protecting this way the rights, freedom and values of the Egyptian society and people.
The Egyptian press is an independent popular authority. It assumes its mission according to the provisions of the law and the Constitution, guaranteeing the freedom of press and prohibiting press censorship.
The Supreme Press Council. It is an independent entity headed by the Shura Council Speaker. It administers the press affairs in such a way as to secure its freedom and independence within the framework of the law. The Egyptian press comprises state-owned papers published by national press institutions and independent papers published by political parties and nominal public or private persons.
Fifth: Political parties:
As of June 1977 when the political parties law of the establishment and organization of political parties in Egypt was issued, the number of Egyptian political parties increased from five parties in 1977 to 24 parties, currently exercising their political rights freely and within a comprehensive legal and political framework.
Sixth: Local Administration:
Egypt is divided into 29 governorates, each of which comprises a number of administrative units, cities and villages.