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Political status
Egypt, which has been a republic since 1953, is an Islamic state with a presidential regime.
The president is elected for a six year term of office by referendum, having been proposed by the People's Assembly, and he holds most of the executive power.
He is assisted by a Prime Minister.
The present president is General Mohammed Hosni Moubarak.
He has been in power since the 14th October 1981.
The Prime Minister is Mr Atef Ebeid since the 5th October 1999.

Egypt plays a major geo-political role in the Middle East, due to the fact that it controls the Sinai peninsula and the Suez Canal, which is the shortest route between the Indian Ocean and the Meditarranean, and is next to Israel.

The official name of the country is Jumhuriyat Misral-Arabiyah. The capital is Cairo.

The country is divided into 26 administrative regions :
Al Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Al Buhayrah, Al Fayyum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah, Al Isma'iliyah,
Al Jizah, Al Minufiyah, Al Minya, Al Qahirah, Al Qalyubiyah, Al Wadi al Jadid, Ash Sharqiyah, As Suways, Aswan, Asyu't, Bani Suwayf, Bur Sa'id, Dumyat, Janub Sina, Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh, Qina, Shamal Sina, Suhaj.

Internal politics
The judiciary system is based on English civil law, Islamic law and the Napoleonic code. Judiciary decisions are revised by the Supreme Court and the State Council, which check the validity of administrative decisions.The voting age is 18, voting is universal and obligatory.

Executive power
The Egyptian government is led by President Mohammed Hosni Moubarak, sworn in office on 14th October 1981, 8 days after President Anwar Al Sadat was assassinated.
The Cabinet is organized by the President.

Legislative power
The People's Assembly (Majilis al Cha'b) is made up of 454 members, 444 of whom are elected for five years by general election, and 10 who are appointed by the President for a five year term of office.
30 seats are reserved for women. Half of the representatives must be workers or farmers.
The Council (Majilis al-Shura) is made up of 264 members, two thirds of whom are elected and one third appointed by the President.

Judiciary power
Judiciary power is represented by the Supreme Court.

Political parties
National Democratic Party
New Wafd Party
Socialist Labour Party
National Progressive Party
Socialist Liberal Party
Democratic Unionist Party
Umma Party
Misr al Fatah Party
Democratic Nasserist Party
NB : A political party can only be formed with the government's approval.

Historical outline
A few historical dates :

1856 : Beginning of the building of the Suez Canal
1948 : Conflicts with the new State of Israel
1951 : Unilateral termination of the 1936 treaty with England.
Farouk is appointed to the thrones of Egypt and Sudan
1952 : King Farouk is dethroned following a revolution of young officers
1953 : General Neguib is appointed Head of State by the 'free officers'
June 1953 : Egypt becomes an independent Republic
1954 : Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser dissolves the government and takes power
1956 : Nasser is elected President by referendum.
The Suez Canal is nationalized.
1958-1961 : Egypt and Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic
The Assouan Dam is built, financed by the USSR.
5-10th June 1967 : The Six Day War against Israel.
1970 : Death of Nasser, President Sadat takes power.
1971 : New attempt to unite Egypt, Libya and Syria.
6-22nd Oct. 1973 : The Yom Kippour war against Israel.
1974 : Infitah, Egypt sides with the western powers
Nov. 1977 : President Sadat visits Israel.
1978 : Start of peace negotiations with Israel
6th Oct. 1981 : Assassination of President Sadat, he is replaced by M. Moubarak
1982 : The Sinaï is given back to Egypt by Israel.
6th Oct. 1987 : Re-election of President Moubarak.
6th Dec. 1990 : Legislative elections won by M. Moubarak.
1993 : Attacks against the authorities and tourists.
26th June 1995 : An Islamist attack against M. Moubarak.
Legislative elections, the President's party wins a clear majority
Geographical situation
Egypt is situated on the north eastern edge of Africa (Sinai), between Sudan (with 1273 kms of shared borders), Israel (255 kms), Palestine (11 kms) and Libya (1150 kms). The Red Sea is on the east and the Mediterranean is on the north (2450 kms of coastline).
The total surface area of the country is 1,001,440 square kms (1.8 times the size of France).

The country is an immense desert, cut down the middle by the Nile. The Nile valley and delta, which are vastly overcrowded (approx. 1200 inhabitants per square km) only covers 5% of the territory.
The Nile measures 6671 kms and crosses 1500 kms of Egyptian territory. It is navigable.

The Mediterranean coastline stretches for 1000 kms. The Suez Canal links the longest river in the world to the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Vegetation grows on the lands bordering the Nile and around the dams of Assiout, Assouan, Esna and Zifta. The Assouan dam produces 10 billion kWh a year but is a source of problems : there is no longer enough silt in lower Egypt, bilharzia is spreading and so are rodents.

In the Arabian desert there are the Etbai Mts, which climb to an altitude of over 1500 m and up to 2000 m (2187m for Sheyb, 2641m the Jabal Karina). There are numerous oasis (called oueds).

The capital is Cairo, with 8,920,000 inhabitants and other main towns are Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.

Economic statistics

(in percentage)


economic growth






short term interest rate


public balance/GDP


current balance/GDP


exports in billions of dollars


imports in billions of dollars


total external debt in billions of dollars


of which the short term debt =


charges on the debt/exports (%)


(source OCDE)

General information

GNP 1999

92.25 billion $

GNP per capita

1480 dollars

Purchasing power parity (PPP)

3500 dollars

GNP growth 1990-1997

+2,8% per capita per annum

Households with PPP +$3000 per annum

810,000 = 6%

Households with PPP + $15000 per annum

1,760,000 = 13%

Households with PPP -$5000 per annum

1,890,000 = 14%

Aid 1998

4.112 billion $

Foreign investment 1998

1.076 billion $

Growth of investment 1990-97

+2,5% per annum

Tourism revenue 1999

4.2 billion $

Country risk

Moderately high

The economy took an important step forward in the 70s and 80s, but in 1986 the drop in the world price of petrol and the rise in the national debt obliged Egypt to start negotiating for economic aid. Since 1991 the government has made a lot of progress in its administrative reforms (the liberalizing of the exchange rates and interest rates) and its programme of structural changes has contributed towards improving conditions for economic growth. Egypt's role as regional mediator puts it in a privileged position, ensuring political and financial support from the western powers.

In 2001 the economic growth has managed to stay at 5%, thanks largely to the revival in the tourist industry. The terrorist attacks have stopped and the tourist revenue has increased (+50% in 1999), a necessary income for the country.

The near-balance in public finances is one of the most remarkable results of the structural changes plan which has been managed with the help of the IMF. If the debt ratios reflect a moderate increase in the external debt, the financial situation remains comfortable and the risk of non-payment remains low. Unfortunantly the public sector still predominates the economy and the weight of the administration slows down reforms. (In the port of Alexandria, the biggest port in the country, you need no less than thirty signatures to get merchandise through the customs.) Important privatizations are expected in 2001, amongst which the sale of 20% of the capital of Egypt Telecom.

The country is going through a cash shortage. To deal with it, the president has asked the State to reimburse its debts in order to inject 7.5 billion dollars into the economy. Over one year the Egyptian reserves have gone down by 25% and the public debt, which stands at 4 billion dollars, equivalent to 40% of the GDP, soaks up most of the cash. Egyptian banks have hardly any funds left.

The country has diversified sources of foreign currency : the biggest one is money sent in by Egyptians abroad : 5 billion dollars, then comes tourism : 4.2 billion, thirdly the Suez Canal which brings in 1.9 billion and in fourth place petrol with 1.5 billion.

There is less and less public investment, the private sector is expected to deal with new infrastructural investments in several sectors : energy, transport, provision and treatment of water. The new Prime Minister has announced tax reforms and the continuation of privatizations, but the weight of the administration discourages both private and foreign investment. In spite of that, the private sector participates to an equivalent of 70% of the GDP.

The strong demographic growth is a source of worry for President Moubarak : 1.2 million more people every year add to the 62 million already concentrated on the 5% strip of agricultural territory around the Nile. Opposition movements feed on the large social inequalities. With a GNP per capita of 1480 dollars a year, Egypt is a fairly poor country. The 3% yearly growth in the labour force (600,00 people) makes it nearly impossible to decrease the unemployment figure, which is very high, at least 20%, although the official figure is 10.8%.

The country imports a lot of equipment and machines, foodstuff, fertilizer, wooden articles and consumer goods. Its main partners are the European Union (41.5%), the United States (15.7%), Japan (5.4%), North Africa and the Middle East (6.6%).

Only 4% of the land is farmed, this is due to the fact that the only land which is regularly watered is in the Nile delta. 98% of the country's water is supplied by the Assouan dam.

The country cannot afford to import the foodstuffs necessary to feed its constantly growing population.

Agriculture - Fishing - Forestry
(millions of tons, head, and m3 for wood)







sugar cane




















The agricultural sector employs 36% of the working force and contributes 18% of the GNP. 18,000 hectares of new land are created every year, but the urban growth covers 13,000 hectares a year. In 1962, to win over the support of the small-scale farmers and to weaken the landed property owners, Nasser imposed a low rental price on agricultural lands and gave farmers' children a right of possession which was nearly hereditary. This law was revised in 1997, since then rents have tripled and families occupying the land can be expelled with only a year's notice : 87 people have died, nearly 800 have been arrested and there are now 420,000 landless peasants. At present the government doesn't have any available land to allocate to them - it is counting on the Tochka canal project (200 kms) to make 25% of the country suitable for cultivation. It will mean the total creation of a second delta in the southern part of the country. Egypt will then have the most power pump in the world : it will pump 25 million cubic meters of water from Lake Nasser to irrigate 225,000 hectares.

The urgent environmental questions are :
- the loss of arable land due to both urbanization and the advancing desert
- the large amount of salt in the soil below the Assouan dam
- the water pollution due to pesticides and industrial waste

- the lack of drinking water in the areas away from the Nile.
Natural resources are petrol, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, lime, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead and zinc. The only minerals exploited are phosphates and iron.
Industry contributes 25.9% of the GDP and mining 6.4%

The Nile delta contains important natural gas reserves (the government expects to make from 1.5 to 3 billion dollars a year from them). There is a project being studied to build a pipeline along the coast to Turkey. The crossing of Israelian territory is presently under discussion.
The first Egyptian natural liquid gas processing factory could be set up in 2004 with English financing.

On the other hand the petrol industry seems to be declining : production has gone down and the last interesting discovery was 20 years ago. Petrol still represents 40% of the export revenue but the projects only concern off-shore drilling.

The main industries are textiles, foodstuffs, tourism, chemical products, building, cement and metals.
The manufacturing industry, which is quite diversified, suffers from a lack of infrastructures for exportation, particularly agricultural products with a high added value. Cairo airport, in the hope of reducing losses has decided to install a cold room for storage. Also, a container terminal is being built near Port Said, which will have a capacity of 700,000 units a year. At the moment Egypt only exports 20% of its manufactured goods but is looking for new outlets. At present 44% of its exports go to the European Union but bilateral agreements have been signed with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan and the main objective is to create an Arabian Common Market in 2008.

The developement of transportation means has also been encouraged : the second part of the Cairo underground has just been completed (2 million people use it every day), a new 38 km highway connects the town centre to the new town called the '6th October' which has been installed in the middle of the desert.

Egypt has an important energy production, it has a surplus of over 30 million TOE per year. However the petrol crisis considerably affected its exports. Industry is still 70% state-owned. The electricity production was 57.656 billion kwh in 1997, with a per capita consumption of 611 kwh.

Other sectors
The privatization of foodstuff industries has resulted in a rise of 15% in equipment importation for this sector (250 million dollars).
Pasta production covers 80% of the demand. Meat and fish processing is developing, although still in an artisanal way, mostly around Cairo.

The developing sectors are equipment and intermediary goods, the material industry, the textile and foodstuff sectors, and also cosmetics, home decoration and furniture. The continual valuation in the exchange rate has progressively worn away Egypt's price competitiveness.

Tourism went down slightly in the last quarter of 2000 due to the regional tension caused by the Palestine-Israel confrontation. For the moment it is mainly Israeli tourists who have stopped visiting Egypt (150,000 a year), but a continuation of the violence could seriously affect the Nile valley.

The government's objectives are to increase the receptive capacities and the infrastructures and to develope transport.


The 1998 law n°8 guarantees the transfer and the repatriation of capital and offers national and international investors tax rebates which accumulate over the years, with the choice of installation in the new industrial towns and those of the high and medium Nile valley.

France is well represented in Egypt : the underground in Cairo is one of the most prestigious contracts that the French won.
Some French companies have been set up in the north east of Cairo, in "10th of Ramadan", a modern city where tax rebates and land prices have attracted investors.
Schneider has been producing and assembling electrical apparatus and equipment there for 10 years, dealing particularly with medium and very high tension machines. The factory employs 340 people, treats 600 tons of sheet metal and produces 1400 electrical boards per year.
There are 62 million inhabitants in Egypt, the population density is 62 inhabitants per square kilometer.
47% live in towns.
0-14 year olds : 35.89%
15-64% : 59.67%
65 years and over : 4.43%
Life expectancy is 66.54 years.

Level of developement :
demographic growth 1997 - 2015 : +1.5%
energy consumption per capita TOE : 0.64
Population without drinking water : 13%
population without sanitary installations : 12%
n° of doctors per 1000 inhabitants : 1.8
telephone lines per 1000 inhabitants : 56
mobile phones per 1000 inhabitants : 1
private cars per 1000 inhabitants : 23
n° of computers per 1000 inhabitants : 7.3
adult illiteracy : 47%
secondary schooling/age group : 75.3%
graduates/age group : 23%

Ethnic composition :
The various ethnic groups are made up of the oriental Hamitic group, (Egyptians, Bedouins, Berbers), which make up 99% of the population, Greeks, Nubians, Armenians and Europeans (Italians and French).

The official language is Arabic, but English and French are spoken. 53% of the adult population can read and write.
94.1% of the population are Muslim, mostly Sunnites. Christian Copts number about 7 million. Other religions practiced are Roman Catholic, Orthodox Maronites, Greek Orthodox, Protestants and Jewish.
Weights, measures
and voltages

The metric system is used.
Electrical current : 220 V., plugs are the European kind.
The currency is the Egyptian pound, made up of 100 piastres.

1FF = 0.5 £ (approx). 1 $ US = 3.4 £
1 euro = 3.5165 £
1 £ = 1.97 FF

Credit cards are not very widely accepted. They can mainly be used in international hotels and to obtain cash in a bank. It is advisable to change money little by little, in small notes.

The Egyptian pound is linked to the dollar.
The bank rate is the official one, but foreign currency is difficult to obtain, the central Bank injects dollars onto the market if the situation becomes extreme.
Transferring and repatriating capital is authorized.

 Main towns
Cairo :
Cairo is the capital of Egypt, a cultural centre and the African town with the highest population. It has also become the biggest town in the Middle East. There is an amazing mixture of lifestyles in Cairo and a never ending bustle. The minarets, citadels and church bell towers dating back to the first epochs of Christianity, dominate the city where everything spreads out around them. In the "Mother of the World", thus named by the inhabitants of the town, the poorest part of the population have taken refuge in the cemetery. Thousands of people "squat" in the abandonned tombs. The city of the dead has become the city of the living to the point where the government has had to recognize these 'residences' and install electricity!
In town you have to visit the big popular Khan el-Khalili souk. Hidden behind the El Azhar mosque are the houses of Zeina Khatoum and Harawi, which have been splendidly restored by the French Compagnons. There is no way you can miss the Egyptian museum . Built under the leadership of Gaston Maspera and inaugurated in 1902, it exhibits, amongst so many other marvels, the treasure of Tutankhamon. It is impossible to leave the "light of the Orient" without paying hommage to the sole survivor of the 7 wonders of the world : the pyramid of Cheops, flanked by its sisters Khephren and Mykerinos and just behind the Sphinx, whose head on a lion's body has been turned to the rising sun for five thousand years.

Alexandria :
It is Egypt's biggest port and an major Mediterranean sea resort,called the "pearl of the Mediterranean". Alexandria's 30 kms of golden sand can be enjoyed in its pleasant climate all year long.
Among the many monuments to see in the town are the Al Montazah Palace which has been reconverted into a hotel, the Quayet Bai Fortress and the Greek and Roman museum which contains 40,000 articles, some of them dating from the 3rd century BC.

Assouan :
In ancient times, it was called Syena, from the pink granite : Syenite. Assouan with its pleasant climate is a perfect spot for a winter stay.

Luxor :
Luxor is the Arabic name of Thebes, the town of a hundred doors.
Ancient capital of Egypt until 750 BC, Luxor displays its grandiose vestiges of the past and the unique beauty of its landscapes.

There is a slight climatic variation between the north and the south of Egypt with big temperature changes between the day and the night in the desert regions.

There is a windy season in the spring, between March and April. The Khamesin is a strong local wind.

Winter is short, and the temperatures mild. The sea temperature only falls to about 17°C from January to March.

Summer is extremely hot, especially in the north, the south is torrid, but the dryness of the air is harder to stand than the actual heat. The sea temperature during August goes over 26°.

Autumn and winter are the most pleasant seasons for a visit.

Temperature averages (max/min)


Sea temperatures
(monthly average)

Red Sea

Mosquitoes (during the summer), serpents and scorpions (in the desert during the summer), parasites in the Nile and the canals.

Working in the country

There are 36 million people in the country's labour force.
36% of them are employed in the government, public works companies and the armed forces, 34% work in agriculture and the private sector and factories employ 20%

Some 2,500,000 Egyptians are expatriated (mainly in Saudi Arabia and in other Arab states in the Gulf), and the country lacks qualified personnel.

The language :
It is advisable to take Arab (or at least English) lessons or improve your level. The possibility of finding a good job will depend on how well you speak the language.
There are several language institutes in France which can quickly bring you up to a decent level.

Formalities to be completed if you are working for a French company :
If your employer is a French or international company you don't have to worry about formalities.
Usually the administrative services deal with all the formalities concerning the expatriate staff.
Unless you are the only representative of your company in the country (sales representative, or in charge of a liaising office ...), in this case you will have to deal with the formalities yourself.

Preparing for your departure and looking for a job :
You can start searching for information by writing to French associations established in the country, economic expansion services, commercial services of foreign banks in France and French banks abroad.

The French consulate usually has a service dealing with jobs and training, student grants and reinsertion in France, and they can put you in touch with local enterprises who are willing to accept French personnel.

 (See also in the Practical Guide for the Expatriate).

The French Chamber of Commerce also offers information about the job market, the most dynamic sectors of the economy, and edits a bulletin for French companies and local members.
You could publish a job application in this bulletin.

The Trade Commission in Cairo, or the CFCE in Paris can furnish you with a list of French companies established in Egypt.

Documents about the country are usually available in the cultural service of the Egyptian Embassy in Paris.

You can however prepare your trip in a more precise manner by making a personal appointment with the Franco-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce in order to complete your information and get professional advice.

While you are hunting for information you could contact companies directly by sending a spontaneous candidacy proposing your services.

The international departments of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry often have information about the country available. Directories and useful dossiers from the country can be helpful in getting information on sectors of activity and the local economic life.

Where to find job offers :
In the French press :
Le Monde, Le France Soir, Figaro, Moniteur du Bâtiment, ... for French companies sending people abroad.

In the local press :
Al Ahram, Akhbar Al-Yom, Le Journal d’Egypte, Al-Mussawar, etc...

In the international press, in nearly all the bigger dailies there exists a page or a selection of job offers (The European, The Guardian, Vacature, Coriere della Sera, The Geneva Tribunal ..)

Leading recruitment bureaus in Europe, and interim companies sometimes offer international jobs.

There are several data banks specializing in job offers abroad on Internet which are easily accessible.

Writing your CV and covering letter :

Your dossier is a determining element towards being recruited, it is the first step towards obtaining an interview.

The CV should be very clear, typewritten, detailled, preferably written in the language of the country and it should be accompanied by a handwritten covering letter.
Certain countries do not accord much importance to handwriting, but it is advisable to write the letter by hand whichever country it is addressed to.

If the company is French or the subsidiary of a French company, the CV and the covering letter should still be written in the language of the country.

Don't forget to attach a recent photo, preferably one where you are smiling.

Your CV should be detailled, and have the addresses and phone numbers of ex-employers on it so that the company can easily verify the main points of your candidacy.
This can save you from sending a pile of photocopies and documents with it. You can always present these documents later during an interview if necessary.

If you are thinking of sending a false CV, you should know that a study from the Florian Mantione Institute shows that 45% of the employers check up on CVs, that 34% of the candidates are eliminated during this verification and that 60% of the verifications are made with the previous employer.
Whatever your reasons for 'adapting' your CV to suit the ad, be warned that it won't help you during the interview and could even cause you prejudice.

The questions to ask yourself before an expatriation :

What exactly is the job?
What is the length of the contract?
Is it for the whole family or with bachelor conditions?
What kind of life will you have locally?
Have you thought about when you get back, how you will manage financially to fit in again?
Do you have the necessaries qualities to be an expatriate?

Qualities you need to succeed :
emotional stability (so you can react quickly in any situation)
autonomy (you can make decisions on your own in any circumstance)
being mobile and being available for your job, being able to relocate quickly
being good at meeting people (don't forget that the expatriate is also an ambassador for his country whether in his professional or his social life.
being adaptable (you can easily adapt to different cultures, climates and life styles. )
being able to accept and understand different cultures and cultural differences
tolerance and respect of other people's way of life and way of living should be a natural part of your character.

Your family and recruiting :
Your partner should have the same ambitions as you. It is often an important factor in choosing an expatriate.
In fact some recruitment bureaus or big firms when they are recruiting, specially for long term projects, insist on having an interview with the wife to check that there are no problems in the couple which could get worse abroad and maybe disturb the mission.
Companies often propose that the whole family goes together so that a good family balance is kept.

During the recruiting :
Punctuality and precision are appreciated everywhere. Be on time for your appointments.
Be well dressed for your interview, whatever kind of job you are trying for. Your appearance will weigh with the interviewer.
First interviews are often very short but can last several hours if your candidacy is interesting, depending on the post offered, and if you have to do any psychotechnical (graphological analysis) or aptitude tests.
Be careful not to appear pretentious about your know-how and don't exaggerate your professional competence.
Don't forget that nowadays the job market is a chronic problem nearly all over the world, so take an interview appointment seriously, jobs are not easy to come by.
Emphasize your real competence, your ease of adaption, your mobility, your ability to work in a team, your readiness to pool your experience.

The company and the expatriate :
A lot of countries abroad like to have, and to show that they have, expatriates on their staff.
International personnel often bring in experience and knowledge which can be very advantageous for a company.

Salaries - Salary requirements :
If the candidate doesn't know the prospective country, it isn't always easy to negotiate a salary, especially if the amount has already been mentionned on the ad.
However, there is nothing to stop you from showing your previous salary and from discussing the salary offered. The recruiting agent or the employer may appreciate knowing what for you is the minimum.
It is often difficult to compare salaries with European ones.
The standard of living that you find abroad is not always similar to the one you know in Europe and sometimes if the salary is much higher you will find that the cost of living is also.
This is one of the reasons, and there are several, including social security conditions, why it is better to go abroad with a European company.
French companies sending people overseas budget for differences in the cost of living.
They can reassure the expatriate that his purchasing power will at least be the same as in France.
The 'basic French salary' can be paid either in France or abroad, it is usually a choice, and an allowance is paid for living expenses (accomodation, food,...)
This compensation is based on the cost of living in the country.

(see the page in the expatriate guide)
If you are employed locally you will have to pay taxes in the country.
If you have an international contract your salary can be negotiated free of taxes.
In some countries income tax is deducted at source by the company.

Accomodation - company car - other fringe benefits :
It is nearly impossible to negotiate for a company house if you are employed locally. Getting a car depends on your job and your level in the company.
In a local company it will be very difficult to negotiate a paid return ticket to France every year.
There again, if you are an expatriate working for a French company you will get fringe benefits, a house, car, travel allowance, return flights to France ...
Usually international contracts give 15 days leave in France every 3 months.

Working conditions :
These are the local ones with all the attenuating advantages and disadvantages if you are working for a local company.
The expatriate is often considered as an immigrant and has to deal himself with the local formalities.
On the administrative side the expatriate does not have to worry about the formalities concerning the police, customs, immigration, income tax, visa or consular declaration.
French or European companies abroad always have an administrative department which completes all the formalities for its personnel and deals with any problems which could arise.
Foreign companies remain subject to the laws of the country.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of your return. You need a visa, you can get it either at the Egyptian consulate in Paris (25 euros in cash, 2 photos) or at the airport in Cairo.
You can renew your visa in the main towns in the central police stations or at the Ministry of the Interior in Cairo. (an identity photo + 12 Egyptian pounds).

No vaccine is obligatory, but we recommend that you get vaccinated against hepatitis B and follow an anti-malaria treatment. Nivaquine still works in Egypt.
Avoid drinking tap water and getting sun stroke. Don't bathe in the Nile, there is bilharzia.

International transport

Egyptair, Air France, TWA do regular flights from Paris and Marseilles.
The distance Paris - Cairo is 3210 kms.
The flight last about 4h 30mn.

Air France :
2 Midan Talaat Harb
Tel (2) 743 300

Maritime transport :
It is possible to get to Egypt by sea with the 'Adriatica' company from either Italy or Greece.
Boats go to Alexandria from Italy, with stopovers in Piraeus and Heraklion, it takes 4 days.

Internal transport :

Plane :
I hour flight between Cairo and Assouan (899 kms).

Railways :
The network stretches over 4895 kms.
The main lines are : the line down the Nile valley (Cairo - Assouan, 4 trains a day), the Canal line (Cairo - Port Said), the Delta line (Cairo - Alexandria), the Mediterranean line (Alexandria-Mersa-Matrouh). There are three classes.

Maritime transport :
Internal waterways total 3500 kms, counting the Nile, Lake Nasser, the Alexandria-Cairo passage and several smaller canals in the delta. The Suez Canal is 193 kms long.

There are 420 ships in the navy.
The three main ports are Alexandria, Port Said and Port Suez.
The other ports are Al Ghurdaqah, Aswan, Asyut, Bur Safajah, Damietta, Marsa Matruh.

River cruises : 200 boats with from 20 to 105 cabins, some are extremely luxurious.

Getting around in Cairo :
There is an underground which is very useful.
Taxi fares are divided by the number of passengers. You can rent a taxi for the day (approx 100 FF for 2 people).
There is a good bus service and between the towns, the train is very cheap, but the service on the whole is very slow.

Time differences

In winter, GMT + 1 hour. In summer the time is the same as in France

The bigger towns (Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia Suez and Tanta) are connected by coaxial cables and relay micro wave stations.

Internationally the system works with 2 satellites, INTELSAT and ARABSAT and a land station INMARSAT, there are 5 underwater coaxial cables with micro wave stations to Libya, Israel, Jordan and Sudan.

To phone Egypt from France : Dial 00 20 + the town code + the local number (6 figures)
Cairo : 2, Assouan : 97

To phone France from Egypt : dial 00 33 + the 9 numbers of your correspondent

(See addresses in the Useful Addresses column) :

« Al Ahram », a daily, 600,000 copies
« Akhabar Al-Yom », a daily
« Le Journal d’Egypte », a daily 10,000 copies
« Al-Mussawar ».

The country has 91 airports, of which 3 are international : Cairo, Alexandria and Assouan. 11 airports have more than 3 kms of tarmac landing strips.
The national airline company is Egyptair.

In Cairo the airport is Heliopolis, which is 23 kms from the centre.
The Assouan airport is 22 kms to the south of the town in the desert.
The Louxor airport is 15 minutes from the centre of town.

Always negotiate your taxi fare before you start out.

Car rental
Avis has several offices in Egypt :
Alexandria : Cecil Hotel 202 483 7173
Cairo : airport 202 265 2429,
Nile Hilton Hotel 202578 0321,
Meridien Hotel 202362 1717,
Meridien Heliopolis : 202290 5055
Hurghada : 202 065 447400
Sharm el Sheih : Sonestra Hotel 202 62 600979

All Avis cars are completely equipped, have done less than 15,000 kms and have an average age of 3 months. The vehicles are carefully prepared and checked between each rental using a procedure containing 7 obligatory control points.
The cars are rented with a full tank.
Renting from Avis automatically means that the car passengers, renter and/or driver are covered by a third party insurance as well as an insurance covering repatriation and the immobilization of the vehicule in case of an accident.

You can reserve a car :
- from your travel agent
- from the international reservation centre at 0 820 05 05 05
- or from any Avis agency
Avis has an interactive network worldwide, a client can reserve a car instantly from anywhere in the world.

We recommend that you pay your rental using your accredited Avis card or with another credit card accepted by Avis : American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners.
Through a simple free membership system, Avis gives identity and/or payment cards, which are a real help for a rapid and efficient service.

REASSURING : No on-line payment, you can pay Avis directly at the agency when you return the car
RAPID : Avis has the quickest car rental reservation service on the web
ECONOMICAL : The cheapest rates on the market are available on the Avis microsite
COMPLETE : You can rent a car anywhere in the world.
The Avis network : 5000 agencies in 172 countries, is now on-line!
EFFICIENT : Find your town (you don't have to fill in the country), enter the date and click on estimate
PRACTICAL : You only have to fill in 4 boxes and you will receive an e-mail confirming the reservation.
You can even rent a vehicle at the last minute just round the corner or ... on the other side of the world.



El Alamein
Sidi Abdel Rahman El Dabaa
Centre North Coast, Al Alamein.
Tel : (20/3) 492 1228, Fax (20/3) 807250.
Opposite the Mediterranean, 127 kms from Alexandria. Airport El Nouzha.


Helnan Palestine
Montaza Palace, Alexandria.
Tel (20/3) 547 3500
Fax (20/3) 547 3378.

Pullman Ceci
Saad Zaghloul Square
Tel (20/3) 807 055
Fax (20/3) 807 250

Ramada Renaissance
544 El Geish St, Sidi Bishr
Tel (20/3) 866 111
Fax (20/3) 431 1690.

Sheraton Montazah
Corniche Rd, Montazah
Tel (20/3) 548 0550
Fax (20/3) 540 1331.

Hotel Normandy
Sahria Gama and din Yassin
Ranleh station


Hotel Nefertari,
Tel 97 40 05 08 fax 97 40 05 10


Elephantine Island
PO Box 62
Tel (20/97) 323 455 Fax (20/97) 323 485.

Pullman Cataract
Abtal El Tahrir St
Tel (20/97) 323 222 Fax (20/97) 323 510.


Ste Catherine Hôtel

Sphynx Hôtel

Everest Hôtel

El Salam Hôtel


Ste Catherine Monastery


Flamenco Hotel
2 El Gezaira El Wosta Street
Zamalek, Cairo
Tel (20/2) 340 0815 Fax (20/2) 340 0819.

Cairo Meridien Hotels
Corniche El Nil Garden City
Roda Island
PO Box 2288
Cairo, :
Tel (20/2) 362 1717 Fax (20/2) 362 1927.


Alfi Bey restaurant.
Felfela Garden Restaurant.

The Panorama.
Haman Restaurant.

Amoun, next to the Souk.
Abu Hagger.
El Houda.

Medinet Abou
Restaurant Maratonga.

 Your suitcase
Take very light clothing with a sweater for the evenings and the air conditionning.
Women should avoid wearing short skirts, low cut blouses or shorts. Take along rather wide trousers and long sleeved shirts to avoid being bitten by mosquitos or getting sunburn. A hat and suncream are necessary.

In the monasteries it is forbidden to wear short sleeves.

To visit the tombs don't forget to bring along a torch (and spare batteries).
Ecole Champollion, Alexandria
Lycée français du Caire, Cairo
Alexandria University, Hadara, Alexandria
American University, Cairo
Ministry of Higher Education, Cairo
Ain Shams University,Cairo
Cairo University, Cairo.
International centre of agriculture, Caire.
Regional centre of adult education (ASFEC), Menoufia.
(See the addresses in Useful Addresses.).

Shopping in the Souks :
Objects in copper, in silver, painting on papyrus, carpets, jewelry, embroidery, turquoises, lapis-lazuli, articles in leather, snakeskin and crocodile, antiques, spices, coral, khol ...

You are expected to haggle both in the souks and the boutiques.
You can expect to be pestered by both beggars and children when you walk in town.

Egyptian cooking is oriental. Some regional dishes :
grilled fish from the Red Sea, stuffed pigeons, chawarmas, kofta, kebabs, foul made with brown broad beans and lentils, meloukhia, a clear chicken soup with herbs, fattha, a salad with lamb and curds, shish tawok, a chicken with spices, giant prawns from Alexandria.

Desserts: baklawa, kataif, sweets made with semolina, honey cakes, raisins, almonds, dates

Drinks : sweet Turkish coffee - infusion of red flowers, karkadé - wine


National day is the 23rd July 1952, which is the anniversary of the revolution. The constitution was established on 11th September 1971.

The flag is 3 horizontal strips, red, white and black with the national emblem in the middle : the seal on a golden eagle facing a scroll with the country's name written in Arabic.

Public holidays
1st January : New Year's Day
1st May : Labour Day
25th April : Anniversary of the liberation of the Sinai
18th June : anniversary of the Republique
23rd July : Revolution Day
6th October : Army Day
23rd December : Victory Day

Also celebrated, depending on the lunar calendar:
Korité (end of Ramadan)
Tabaski (sheep celebration)
Tamxarit (a Muslim religious day)

Other religious celebrations which are not public holidays :
The Magal at Touba (which is the Mecca of the Mourides)
The Gamou (pilgrimage to Mecca of the Tdjanes, to the north of Thiès)
The Christian pilgrimage to Popenguine (Monday of Pentecost)

Tips or bakchich
In the hotels and restaurants, you can tip as you wish.
On cruises it is normal to tip $3 a day per person.

To visit the tombs don't forget to bring along a torch.
You will find the following banks in Egypt :

EFG Hermes, 55 Charles de Gaulle St, Giza, Egypt.
National Bank of Egypt, Tower 1187, Corniche El Nile, Cairo.
Misr Exterior Bank, Cairo Plaza Building, Cornich El Nil.

Guide du Routard
Lonely Planet Egypt/Sudan.
Marco Polo maps from the National Geographical Institute

French Trade Commission notes available in Paris, at the Librairie du Commerce International, 345 FF

-Normes, réglementation et assurance qualité en Egypte (Feb. 1996, 50 pages).
-L'industrie du ciment en Egypte (Oct. 1996, 23 pages).
-L'industrie des engrais chimiques en Egypte (Oct. 1996, 20 pages).
-Le marché des parfums et cosmétiques en Egypte (Oct. 1996, 35 pages).

Free notes on individual sectors (in French)
- Alexandrie : aperçu sur l'économie de la seconde ville d'Egypte (Feb. 96).
- La consommation des ménages (Feb. 96).
- Le régime et la protection des investissements en Egypte (Mar. 96).
- Le marché du bois de sciage (April 1996).
- Le Secteur du papier et du carton (May1996).
- Le marché des piscines (June 1996).
- Le marché égyptien des eaux minérales (June 1996).
- Le contrat d'agence commerciale (June1996).
- Le secteur avicole en Egypte (June 1996).
- La filière maïs en Egypte July 1996).
- La restauration rapide en Egypte (July1996).
- Le secteur médical (Aug. 1996).
- Le marché automobile (Sept. 1996).
- Le marché du meuble (Sept. 1996).
- Les zones franches en Egypte (Oct. 96).
- Le marché de l'outillage (Oct. 96).
- L'élevage bovin en Egypte (Oct. 96).
- Le marché du poisson importé en Egypte (Oct. 96).
- Le marché des produits laitiers en Egypte (Oct. 96).
- Le développement du machinisme agricole en Egypte (Oct. 96).
- Le marché de la poudre de lai et du butteroil (Oct. 96).

Egypt offers an entire palette of sites to visit and colourful things to do. With its marvelous climate and its friendly people, Egypt still charms with its 70 centuries of culture and history. Travelling in Egypt necessitates a certain patience and indulgence, as the structures are not always as organized as in Europe. In fact it is better to travel via a known travel agent and avoid losing time in this country where the bakchich is the rule and the regulations are sometimes not very clear.

To visit:
Cairo museum, the Pharaohs' treasures.
The Museum of Coptic Art
The Mosque of Sultan Hassan
The Pyramids of Gizah.
The Pyramids of Saqqarah. The pyramid built by King Djoser is built in 6 graduations. The statue of Djoser near the Pyramid
The statue de Ramses II at Memphis
The fortress of Trajan
The citadelle of Saladin from the Ayyubide era
The town of Fcotat, the first capital of Islam
Elephantine island (mausoleum of the Aga Khan, Kitchener's Island), sail in a felucca.
Abu Simbel and Philae.
The Nilometer on Rodah island, end of the IXth century
Luxor ...

The Oasis 
Lost in a sea of sand, sprinkled with little islands, the oasis are typical of Egypt and you have to see them: - the Siwa oasis, a sacred place dedicated to the god Amon
- Farafra "the white", mineral statues sculpted by the wind in the sand
- Kharga, with its warm water used for treating rheumatism
- El Fayorem, inhabited since prehistoric times

Cruises on the Nile
The Nile is the longest river in the world. Over a period of three thousand years people built temples and tombs along its banks, developed writing, agriculture, discovered geometry and arithmetic. A cruise on the Nile between Luxor and Assouan is both a trip through time via the monuments of ancient Egypt, and also a discovery of fascinating landscapes.

The desert
Since the time of Moses, the people of the Mediterranean owe a part of their origins and their religion to the Sinai desert. In the north the desert is edged with dunes, the coast is a forest of palm trees and tamarisk, the interior is made up of ochre chalk cliffs in the middle of arid plains.

The Red Sea
This region has become legendary for divers. The underwater fauna and flora are the most extraordinary in the world, particularly the variety of corals. It is friendly, well organized and there is good diving material available, all set up in a perfect tourist infrastructure.
Excursions : discover the sea beds with a sub-marine, safari in a 4-wheel drive in the desert or the mountains, visit a Bedouin camp, take a camel ride, a boat ride to Giftun island...

Sharm el Sheikh
Situated on the southernmost point of the Sinai peninsula, this town has become a fashionable sea resort. Hotels, restaurants, handicraft boutiques are grouped together at the foot of the Sinai mountains.
Excursions : safaris in a 4-wheel drive crossing the wadi and the coloured canyon, the St Catherine monastery, climb Mt Moses, ride a camel in the mountains where the Bedouins live, take a boat to Bas Mohamed, a natural park on the south point of the Sinai...

The temple of Amon-Râ
Karnak, the biggest pillared temple in the world (134 columns). An alley way of sphinxes leads up to the monumental entry of the temple
The colosses of Memnon, 20m high statues which represent the pharaoh
Valley of the Queens : 80 tombs from 1300 to 100 BC
Valley of the Kings : tombs of Ramses I,II,III, Tutankhamon, etc
The sacred town of Denderah, with its 3 sanctuaries
The town of Abydes, dedicated to the cult of Osiris

Abu Simbel, on the banks of Lake Nasser is the temple of Ramses II, next to it is the temple of Hathor, dedicated to his wife Nefertari
Kalabsha, the ancient city of Talmis
Philae, a temple dedicated to Isis, rebuilt on the island of Agilkia after the flooding of the valley.

Sports : Golf, tennis, squash, diving

Dinner in old Cairo followed by a medieval Mamelouk show
Dance of whirling dervishes in the El Ghuri palace in Cairo
Dance of Arab pure-blood horses
Son et lumière in the temples of Philae, in Karnak, or a classical music concert.

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