Egypt is generally considered a part of the Mashreq. Its capital Cairo is its most populous city. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 27 governorates that are further divided into 232 regions. Regions contain altogether 25,665 towns and villages.

In land area Egypt is about twice the size of Spain with its population concentrated along the fertile Nile Delta and Mediterranean coast. Cairo houses the permanent Headquarters of the Arab League and the League’s Secretary has traditionally been Egyptian. Egypt has diplomatic relations with Israel.


Egypt’s economy is one of the most developed and diversified in the Middle East. Agriculture (cotton, corn, sugarcane, fruit and vegetables, fodder, and rice), industry (textiles and clothing, chemicals, steel, consumer electronics and home appliances) and services (tourism) represent almost equal rates in national production.


Population (2015): 91,508,084
Population (2000): 68,334,905

Largest cities (inhabitants):

  • Cairo (2006 census: 7,902,085, 2016 estimates: 9,440,374)
  • Alexandria (2006 census: 4,123,869, 2016 estimates: 4,901,910)
  • Giza (2006 census 3,021,542)
  • Shubra El-Kheima (2006 census: 1,025,569)
  • Port Said (2006 census: 570,603, 2016 estimates 678,564)
Annual population growth (2015): 2.1%
Annual population growth (2000): 1.8%

Water and waste

99.4% of the population has access to proper water sources and 94.7% to proper sanitation (Worldbank, 2015). In 2012 Egypt generated 21 million tons of municipal solid waste (per person 0.7 - 1.0 kg/day in urban areas and 0.4 - 0.5 kg/day in rural areas). The amount of waste is growing by 2% annually. Waste collection coverage in urban areas varies from 50 to 65%, while in rural areas this figure is between 0% to 30%. The final destination of collected waste is generally open-dumping (80-88%) and landfilling (7%), while around 10-15% is being recycled (GIZ, 2014 – Country report on Solid Waste Management in Egypt).

Energy and Climate

Egypt’s energy consumption in the road transport sector in 2013 (IEA, 2013) amounted to 26.9% of its final energy consumption (IEA 2000: 30.4%), whereas energy consumption per capita in 2013 amounted to 815 kg of oil equivalent (in 2000: 594 kg). Electricity consumption amounted to 1,697.5 kWh per capita in 2013 against 984.1 kWh in the year 2000.

According to World Bank figures CO2 emissions in Egypt were 2.6 metric tons per capita in 2011 against 2.1 metric tons in 2000. Like in other countries under this project CO2 emissions in Egypt mainly stem from the burning of fossil fuels and the manufacture of cement, including those produced during consumption of solid, liquid, and gas fuels and gas flaring.

Policies and strategies

  • Policy Directives of the Ministry of Environment
  • National Environmental Action Plan 2002-2017
  • National Strategy for Municipal Solid Waste
  • Wastewater Management Programme
  • National Strategy for Cleaner Production
  • State Industrial Environmental Development Programmes
  • Public Business Sector Programme
  • Environmentally Friendly Industrial Cities Programme
  • Free Investment and Private Industrial Economic Zones Programme
  • Governorates Industrial Activity Programme
  • National Action Plan in the frame of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Mediterranean from land-based pollution sources (UNEP/MAP)
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
  • National Energy Strategy 2030
  • Industrial Development Strategy
  • Supreme Council Resolution on Renewable Energy
  • Climate Change National Action Plan
  • National Energy Efficiency Strategy
  • Strategy for Improving National Transport and Urban Traffic

Bottle-necks and developments

Most important environmental bottle-necks in Egypt include environmental degradation of the coastline due to intense urbanisation and a lack of sewage systems and effective on-site disposal, causing discharge of untreated or partly treated urban and industrial effluents to the Mediterranean via the Nile delta area. Other major problems are inadequate solid waste management in summer resorts and uncontrolled dump sites for solid waste and a lack of sanitary landfills. Egypt is endowed with abundant wind energy resources and solar capacities are planned to extend with further solar thermal and photovoltaic power plant projects.

ENP Progress Report 2011

The implementation of the ambitious transport reform programme (with € 80 million EU budget support) suffered further delays, notably in the road and rail sectors.

The Supreme Energy Council decided to update the Egyptian Energy Strategy–2030 in the light of the new situation in the country. The ENPI Neighbourhood Investment Facility co-financed several projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Egypt is encouraged to engage in the new carbon market mechanism to be developed under UNFCCC, as well as to fully implement the Cancun and Durban agreements.

The Water Sector Reform Programme will receive 120 million in EU sector policy support.


  • Law on Protection of the Environment
  • Law on Sanitary Drainage
  • Law on General Cleanliness and Sanitation
  • Law on Public Water Resources for Drinking and Domestic Use
  • Law for treating ponds and marshes
  • Law on discharge of wastewater into the River Nile and other waterways
  • Law on Irrigation, Water Distribution, Groundwater Management in the Nile Valley and Delta
  • Decree on the discharge of wastewater into public sewers
  • Law on the use, import, handling and preparation of potential carcinogenic pesticides
  • Law on measures in case of marine disasters
  • Decree on disposal of waste in regional waters, ports and waterways
  • Law protecting the sea from oil pollution
  • Law on collection and disposal of solid wastes
  • Decree providing specifications for dump sites
  • Law on Handling and Management of Hazardous Waste
  • Draft New Electricity Law
  • Law on Planning of Human Settlements
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