al-Jumhuriya Misr al-‘Arabiya
Area: 1,001,449 sq. km.
Neighbouring countries: Libya to the West, Sudan to the South, Israel and the Palestinian Territories to the East
Capital City: Cairo
Other Cities: Alexandria, Giza, Shubra El-Kheima, Port Said
Ethnic groups: Egyptians (84%), Sudanese (6%), Bedouin Arabs (2%), Others (8%)
Languages: Arab (official), Egyptian Arabic dialect, English and French
Currency: Egyptian pound
Member of: EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Arab League, OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference), AU (African Union), UN, WTO (World Trade Organization) and associate member of EU.
(De Agostini, Jan. 2008)
A British Protectorate as from 1822, Egypt becomes a formally independent monarchy on the 18th February 1922. The Republic is proclaimed on the 18th June 1953, and today Egypt is a presidential Republic.
The Constitution states that “Islam is the State Religion and the principles of the Islamic League constitute the principal source of legislation”(art. 2). But in art. 46, it is written that the State guarantees freedom of faith and freedom of worship”.
The population is about 77 million (UN Statistics 2008). The Christians (mainly Coptic Orthodox) are about 10%. The Catholics are about 0.25%. (Sources: Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2008 and Dossier of the French Episcopal Conference on the Synod for the Middle East)
Relations with the Holy See
Egypt has diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Apostolic Nuncio is Mgr. Louis Fitzgerald, tit. archbishop of Nepte (15th Feb. 2006).
BENEDICT XVI TO THE BISHOPS OF CELRA – CONFERENCE OF LATIN BISHOPS OF THE ARAB REGION: Nevertheless, it is essential to give firm support and encouragement to those who choose to remain faithful to their homeland in order to prevent it from becoming an archaeological site deprived of ecclesial life
BENEDICT XVI TO THE AMBASSADOR OF EGYPT, ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF HIS CREDENTIALS: Egypt has always been known as a land of hospitality for many refugees, Muslims and Christians, who have sought security and peace in its territory. May this noble tradition continue for the good of all!