Egypt occupies an area of 0.390 million square miles, making it among the largest countries in the Middle East region. The country is also among the most populous in the region, with its population being estimated to be over 94.7 million people; the largest of any country in North Africa and the Middle East. Cairo is the Arab nation’s largest city, having a population of over 20 million people and is also Egypt’s capital city. A dominant physical feature in Egypt that has defined the country’s history for thousands of years is the Nile River, the longest in the world (alongside the Amazon). A former British colony, Egypt gained independence in February 1922. The country was temporarily part of the short-lived United Arab Republic in 1958.
Egypt is a Country
Only regions that are universally recognized as countries are allowed to be members of major international organizations and, therefore, being a country, Egypt is eligible for membership to international organizations. As an example, Egypt is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the African Collaboration League, and the World Trade Organization, all of which are respected global organizations. The country has even produced a Secretary General of the UN who served between 1991 and 1996. Egypt’s position in international relations also supports that it is a country. Egypt is recognized as an essential strategic partner by all the world’s major economies including the United States, Russia, and China.
The fact that Egypt is a country is not contested. However, the most fundamental question concerning Egypt is whether it is an African or an Asian country. Egypt is officially recognized as one of the world’s few transcontinental countries which include other countries such as Turkey and Russia. As the name alludes, transcontinental countries are those whose respective territories straddle over two different continents. The Suez Canal represents the border that limits the continents of Africa and Asia. However, Egypt’s territory lies on both sides of the canal, stretching from northwest Africa to southwest Asia. To add to the confusion, Egypt is officially known as the ‘Arab Republic of Egypt’ which is an indication of its close ties to the Arab world. Despite considering itself as an Arab country, Egypt has membership in numerous African intergovernmental organizations including the African Union. In contrast, Egypt is not a member of a single Asian intergovernmental organization. The country’s cultural history closely resembles African history.
The current Constitution of Egypt was adopted in January 2014. The supreme law defines Egypt as a unitary semi-presidential republic having both a President and Prime Minister. The Constitution has the President as the head of state while the Prime Minister is recognized as the head of government. The legislative arm of the government is the House of Representatives which is comprised of elected members. The legislature is notable for being the oldest continuous legislative tradition in the Middle East, with the first assembly being created in 1866. The law of Egypt is defined by Islamic Law, also known as sharia law. The country’s judicial system is primarily based on Islamic jurisprudence.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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