Egypt is the most populous country among Arab countries with a population of 91.5 million in 2015, growing at an annual rate of 2%. The population is dense around the Nile basin with a global population density of 92 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2015 up from 69 inhabitants per square kilometer in 2000.[1] The Egyptian population is young with almost 77% of its population below 30 years.[4]

Life expectancy at birth reached 71 years in Egypt, with fertility rate averaging 3.5 births in 2014, in line with the Arab region’s averages.[3] The maternal mortality has halved in 16 years, decreasing from 63 per 100,000 to 33 per 100,000 in 2015.[2] 

In 2014, according to the most recent survey data that were publicly available for Egypt’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), 4.2% of the population, that is around 3.4 million people, were multi-dimensionally poor while an additional 5.6% - making more than 4.5 million people - lived near multidimensional poverty.[6] 

Egypt’s adult literacy rate has increased from 71.4% in 2005 up to 75.8% in 2015, compared to an average of 78.5% in the Arab countries in 2014. [7] The gross enrollment rate for primary education leveled at 103.9% in 2014 with a Gender Parity Index (GPI) of 1.0, while the tertiary enrollment rate varied between 27% and 32% between 2001 and 2014, reaching its peak at 32% in 2014, with a slightly increasing GPI from 0.8 in 2001 to 0.9 in 2014 and compared to an average of 28.9% for Arab countries in 2014.[7]

Egypt is a lower-middle-income country[8] with an estimated GDP of Int$ 938 billion in 2015 (Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices), and slightly more than Int$ 10,690 GNI per capita (Purchasing Power Parity).[2] Following the onset of the Egyptian revolution as of January 2011, the GDP growth rate (constant 2005 prices) has been slow at around 2%, but the economy began to recover in 2015 with a GDP growth rate of 4.2%.[9] Egypt's main economic activities have revolved around the mining (extraction of crude oil) and manufacturing sectors with a gross value added share at 16.5% and 15.7% of GDP in 2014, respectively.[10] The political unrest in Egypt has left the country with burdensome economic challenges. Inflation leveled at 11.6% in 2015,[3] cash deficit at 12.2% of GDP in 2014,[10] and the public debt at 90% of GDP in 2015.[9] In an effort to curb fiscal deficit, the government has started lifting the fuel subsidy, raising prices by 40-80% in 2014, and have adopted measures to raise tax revenues and enhance investment.[11] 

In 2014, Egypt recorded a trade deficit of 328 billion Egyptian Pound. The country recorded a negative trade balance with the Arab countries, reaching 4 billion Egyptian Pound.[3] Trade reached 39% of GDP in 2014, while exports and imports of goods and services amounted to 15% and 24% of GDP, respectively.[2]

Egypt’s exports are dominated by fuel and mining products that represent together 47% of Egypt’s total exports,[3] while food and manufactured products are Egypt’s major imports, amounting to 21% and 57% of merchandise, respectively, in 2014;[2] noting that Egypt's main trading partner is the European Union, amounting to 22.9% of Egypt's trade volume in 2013 and ranking first both as Egypt's leading import and export partner.[4]

Trade policy reform in Egypt is a complex phenomenon that started in the 1990s and continued in the 2000s as it became more open on unilateral, regional, and multilateral levels. A move toward diversification of Egypt’s main trading partners was observed in the 1990s, at a time when the Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) were signed with African, Arab and European countries. Domestic and foreign incentives to engage in such PTAs were driven by economic interests and marked political will. Since 2000, in parallel with trade liberalization, a substantial progress has taken place in the institutional setup designed to support exports and exporters. Rules, regulations, and organizations dealing with export procedures have improved, including the adoption of an export promotion strategy, creating a new mechanism for export subsidies, and streamlining customs procedures.[5] 

Unemployment remains an important challenge facing Egypt for more than two decades now, it is both supply and demand driven. Official statistics indicate that out of 27.9 million people in the labor force, around 3.6 million people are unemployed, leading to an unemployment rate of 13% by the end of 2014, which is 4 percentage points higher than the pre-January 25, 2011 rate of about 9% back in 2010.[3] This rate is especially high among university students and graduates at 20%[3] in 2014, and also among youth at 35.5% in 2015.[13]

Women labor force participation rate compared to men, 22.8% compared to 76.1% in 2015 respectively, exhibits the endless challenges and obstacles that Egyptian women face in labor market.[13] Furthermore, the unemployment rate of women at 24% is higher than that of men at 9.6% back in 2014,[3] and particularly among youth, leveling at 59% for women and 27.2% for men in 2015.[13]

Egypt is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and one of the leading dry natural gas producers in the region. The country also serves as an important transit route through the Suez Canal for oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). In addition, Egypt is one of the biggest oil and natural gas consumers in the region, with crude oil consumption leveled at 149 million barrels in 2012 and natural gas consumption at 1,861.8 billion cubic feet in 2013.[12]

Egypt’s crude oil production declined from 280 million barrels in 2000 to 175 million barrels in 2014. On the other hand, natural gas production increased from 646.3 billion cubic feet in 2000 to 2,140 billion cubic feet in 2012, but decreased again by 5% to 2,034 billion cubic feet in 2013. [12] Due to restricted foreign investments, natural gas discoveries projects in the deep-water Mediterranean Sea and in other areas are still undeveloped; however and in recent years, the Egyptian government has signed new deals with foreign investors.


This overview has been drafted by the ADP team based on most available data as of 30 September 2016. 


  1. World Population Prospects, Population Division, United Nations
  2. World Development Indicators, The World Bank
  3. Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) 
  4. The European Commission, Trade, Countries and Region, Egypt 
  5. Ghoneim Ahmed F. (2002), “Institutional Reform to promote Exports: Egypt and the EU”, in Handoussa, Heba and Noha El-Mikawy (eds), Institutional Reform and Economic Development in Egypt: Which Institutions and Why, Bonn: Center for Development Research, Bonn University. Republished by the American University in Cairo (AUC).
  6. UNDP Human Development Report 2015
  7. UNESCO Institute for Statistics
  8. The World Bank
  9. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  10. ADP team computations based on figures extracted from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS)
  11. International Monetary Fund (IMF), Feb 2015, IMF Country Report No. 15/33
  12. International Energy Statistics, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
  13. KILM, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Egypt Statistical Snapshot 2016
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