Country Background

Egypt is located on the northeast corner of the African continent. It is bordered by Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, the Red Sea to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north.

Egypt has the largest, most densely settled population among the Arab countries. The total area of the country covers approximately one million square kilometres. However, much of the land is desert, and only 7.7 per cent of Egypt’s area is inhabited. The Egyptian government has a policy of land reclamation and fostering of new settlements in the desert. Despite these efforts, the majority of Egyptians live either in the Nile Delta located in the north of the country or in the narrow Nile Valley south of Cairo. Administratively, Egypt is divided into 27 governorates (see map below). The four Urban Governorates (Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, and Suez) have no rural population. Each of the other 23 governorates is subdivided into urban and rural areas.

Situation in Egypt

  • Egypt has the largest and most densely settled population in the MENA region, with a population of 98.8 million residing in the country[1] and growing at a pace of 2.6 percent per annum. 40 percent among them are children under the age of 18 and almost 1 in every 5 is an adolescent;
  • Egypt achieved important progress in child wellbeing and rights over the past two decades, including a strong reduction of child and maternal mortality, high rates of immunization coverage and almost universal access to basic education;

[1] Census 2017

  • With the largest part of the population residing in only 8% of the total land area and about 44% of them living in urban areas, the concentration of people within such a small proportion of the national land mass creates specific challenges for the Government of Egypt in its resource attribution decision-making;
  • As of 31 January 2018, UNHCR Egypt has registered 221,675 refugees and asylum seekers. 57% of them are from Syria while 43% are from 55 different countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and others.[1]

[1] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Monthly statistical Report, via