Egypt Egypt

Statistical Snapshot


Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab Region and ranks 14th globally with a population exceeding 100 million inhabitants in 2020. Almost two-thirds of the total population are below the age of 30 according to the latest available national data. Total land area in Egypt is 1 million square kilometres, mostly desert,[1] and population density is estimated at 103 inhabitants per km2 in 2020 up from 70 inhabitants per km2 in 2000.[2]


Egypt’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2018 is 0.7— which put the country at the lower range of the high human development category— positioning it at 116th out of 189 countries and territories. When adjusted for inequality, the country loses 30 percent of its HDI value largely due to inequality in education and income.[3]


Under an economic and financial program supported by the IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in 2016, Egypt has implemented a series of macro-economic and structural reforms that stabilized the economy,[4] spurred growth and improved the business climate for more active private sector participation. As per the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report, the regulatory improvements included simplifying the process of starting a business, improving the reliability of electricity supply through automated systems to monitor power outages, and introducing digital tax payments.[5]


Real GDP growth reached 5.6 percent in 2019,[1] up from 5.2 percent in 2018 and the highest rate in a decade. Growth is projected to be 2 percent in 2020. The recovery is largely driven by retail trade, tourism and gas and crude oil production.[6] Positioned as a strategic trade hub, Egypt is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and one of the leading dry natural gas producers in the region. According to the latest available data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), crude oil production accounts for around 30 million tons and natural gas production for 35 million tons. Egypt is an important transit route for oil and liquified natural gas (LNG) through the Suez Canal.[1] These latter revenues are likely to be severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Unemployment decreased to 8 percent in 2019, from 9.9 percent in 2018 and 11.8 percent in 2017[1], with a declining labor force participation rate reaching 46 percent in 2019 compared to 50 percent in 2014. Unemployment remains high for youth at around 30 percent, and particularly for young women at 38.3 percent.[7]


Inflation has been declining since the 35.3 percent peak in 2017,[5] reaching 9.2 percent by the end of 2019.[1] This is largely due to favorable base effects and moderating food inflation. The budget deficit improved to an estimated -8.3 percent of GDP in 2019 from -9.7 percent in 2018. This slight improvement is due to reduced energy subsidies— declining from 4.1 percent of GDP in 2016 to 1.9 percent in 2019 and projected at less than 1 percent in 2020—and to an increase in revenues collected from the value-added tax (VAT) and the income tax. The VAT was introduced in 2016 – replacing the sales tax as part of the set of conditions of the $12 billion IMF loan. In addition, while the debt size and composition remain challenging, government debt dropped to 90.5 percent of GDP in mid-2019, from 97.3 percent of GDP in mid-2018,[7] a decline that is mostly due to a decrease in the domestic debt, which accounts for 83.3 percent of Egypt’s GDP.[5]


The Egyptian pound has slightly appreciated against the US Dollar since touching its weakest level in December 2016, reaching EGP/$16 by end-December 2019.[7] Following the floating of the currency in November 2016, the Egyptian pound lost around 50 percent of its value against the dollar in one year. Moving to a freely floating currency, a key requirement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made more foreign reserves available. Tourism receipts increased, exports grew by annual average of 15-20 percent since 2016, gross international reserves tripled from their end-2016 level and the current account declined from 6 percent of GDP in 2016 to 2.6 percent in 2019.[4]


However, despite macroeconomic  improvements, living conditions remain challenging in Egypt. The share of the population living below the national poverty line increased from 27.8 in 2015 to 32.5 percent in 2018, with the highest poverty rates persisting in rural areas.[8] According to the WHO, government health expenditure in Egypt is 1.66 percent of GDP, less than one fifth the global 10 percent average. Consequently out-of-pocket health expenditures account for 60 percent of current health expenditure, compared to a much lower global average of 33 percent.[4]


To lessen the adverse effects of the economic reforms on the poor, the government put in place short-term mitigation measures to enhance the social protection nets for the poor and vulnerable by distributing food smart cards and cash transfer programs.[8] These programs replaced the  generalized consumer subsidies for energy and food by more poverty and human development targeted programs.[9] Recently, the government has announced stimulus policies in the $6.13billion package (EGP 100 billion, 1.8 percent of GDP) to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.[10]


In parallel with phasing out energy subsidies, Egypt has been investing in renewables. The govenment in 2015 launched the 1,460 MW Benban solar power facility in Aswan Governorate, Africa’s largest solar park. It will allow Egypt to increase the share of electricity provided by renewables from a meagre amount to 20 percent by 2022 and 42 percent by 2035.[11]

This overview was last updated in April 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2020].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2020. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2020].      
[3] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). HDI Database. April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 23 April 2020].
[4] International Monetary Fund (IMF). April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[5] The World Bank. 2020. Doing Business 2020: Comparing Business Regulation in 190 Economies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 April 2020].
[6] Central Bank of Egypt. 2018. Annual report 2017-2018. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
[7] International Labor Organization. Country Profiles. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 23 April 2020].
[8] The World Bank. 2020. Egypt overview [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2020].
[9] Al-Ahram Weekly. 2019. Decent life. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 4 January 2019].
[10] World Health Organization (WHO). April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 23 April 2020].
[11] Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE). 2019. Arab Future Energy Index (AFEX) Renewable Energy 2019 [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed on 23 April 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • 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. The Egyptian population is young with almost 77% of its population below 30 years.

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