Egypt is an independent republic with a democratic government which lies to the north of Sudan and forms part of the North African Region.
The capital city is Cairo. Other major cities are Al Fayyum and Asyut and the ports of Alexandria and Port Said. The official language is Arabic and official correspondence should be in this language although English and French are widely used in business and commerce.
Egypt has a mixed economy with active manufacturing and tourism sectors. It has a stock exchange at Cairo. The local currency is the Egyptian pound (LE). (US$ / LE – current exchange rate).
The Egyptian oil and gas industries are key to the economy of the country. The upstream oil industry in particular is a major source of foreign exchange. The downstream oil industry is also well-developed. There are eight oil refineries in Egypt and another under construction. More recently, the gas industry has experienced growth and holds potential for the future of Egypt’s economy. In addition to its oil and gas industries, Egypt has an active chemicals industry, as well as being one of the larger markets in the African lubricants industry.
Although dwarfed by its oil industry, Egypt’s mining industry remains a key sub-sector in the country’s economy with considerable potential for development. Agriculture is an important sector of the Egyptian economy, accounting for one fifth of the county’s output. Cotton, vegetables, fruit and cereals are Egypt’s main crops. The fishing industry is also an important source of foreign exchange.
Textiles and food products are produced by the manufacturing sector of Egypt’s economy. Efforts are being made by the Food Industries Chamber to increase and improve the production and packaging of food products in order to balance imports and exports. Cement is also manufactured and will be used as part of Egypt’s construction and housing plans. Tourism also plays an important role in Egypt’s economy. However, since the killing of a group of foreign tourists in 1997, this industry has faced difficulties.
The Egyptian government implemented an IMF program from 1991 until 1996, in order to stabilise the economy. The economy has improved and there is potential for future growth. The government plans to implement structural reforms such as deregulation, trade liberalization and privatization. Privatization will probably affect telecommunications and other utilities. High unemployment rates may pose a problem for Egypt’s economy.
The international time zone for Egypt is GMT +2. The international dialling code for Egypt is +20. Numerous foreign airlines fly to Egypt which has international airports at Cairo, Alexandria and Nuzhah. All nationals require visas in order to visit Egypt. In most cases, visas valid for one month are obtained at the port of entry.
Malaria (regional), hepatitis A, cholera, typhoid fever and schistosomiasis may be contracted while travelling in Egypt. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation.Visitors to Egypt over one year of age, are required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate if they have come from infected areas. Travellers should be aware that advance payment for medical services may be required. Prescription medicines and prescriptions should be carried in their original containers. Vaccinations should be obtained before entering Egypt.