Map of Egypt

Geography and population

Egypt lies in the north-eastern corner of the African continent, with a total area of about 1 million km. It is bordered in the north by the Mediterranean Sea, in the east by Israel and the Red Sea, on the south by Sudan and in the west by Libya.

In 1993, the total cultivated land was estimated to be 3.24 million ha, or 3.2% of the total area. About 2.86 million ha, or 88 % of the total cultivated area, consisted of annual crops and 0.38 million ha consisted of permanent crops.

Total population is about 62.9 million (1995), of which 55% is rural, with annual demographic growth estimated at 2.1 %. Average population density is 63 inhabitants/km, but ranges from 2 inhabitants/km over 96% of the total area, to 1 492 inhabitants/km in the Nile Valley and Delta. This area, where population density is among the highest in the world, represents only 4% of the total area. In 1992, agriculture accounted for 17% of Egypt's GDP and provided employment to 38% of the labour force.

Climate and water resources


The mean annual rainfall is estimated at 18 mm. It ranges from 0 mm in the desert to 200 mm in the northern coastal region. In many districts rain may fall in large quantity only once in two or three years. During summer, temperatures are extremely high, reaching 38C to 43C with extremes of 49C in the southern and western deserts. The Mediterranean coast has cooler conditions with 32C as a maximum.

Surface water resources

The Nile river is the main source of water for Egypt. Under the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between Egypt and Sudan, Egypt's share is 55.5 km/year. The 1959 Agreement was based on the average flow of the Nile during the 1900-1959 period, which was 84 km/year at Aswan. Average annual evaporation and other losses from the High Dam lake were estimated to be 10 km /year, leaving a net usable annual flow of 74 km/year, of which 18.5 km/year was allocated to Sudan and 55.5 km/year to Egypt. Internal surface water resources are estimated at 0.5 km/year. This brings the total (actual) surface water resources to 56.0 km/year.

Groundwater resources

The volume of groundwater entering the country from Libya is estimated at I km/year. Internal renewable groundwater resources are estimated at 1.3 km /year. This brings the total renewable groundwater resources to 2.3 km/year. The main source of internal recharge is percolation from irrigation water, and its quality depends mainly on the quality of the irrigation water. In the northern part of the Delta, groundwater becomes brackish to saline due to sea water intrusion. About half of the Delta contains brackish to saline groundwater. The Nubian Sandstone aquifer, located under the Western Desert and extending to Libya, Sudan and Chad, contains important non-renewable fresh groundwater resources, already developed in the oasis of the new valley. Large irrigation schemes pumping water from the Nubian aquifer are under development in the southwestern part of the country (Al Aweinat).

Ecological zones

The map below shows the ecological zones, as shown on the FAO global map of ecological zones produced as part of the FRA 2000. Please refer to FRA Working Paper 20 for further information on the Global Ecological Zone map.

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