The Arab Republic of Egypt is situated in the north-east corner of Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea between Libya in the west and the Gaza Strip in the east. Its total coastline is 2,450 km including that along the Red Sea. The land area includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula and there are also borders with Israel and Sudan. It is a large country with a land area of 1,001,450 km2 and an estimated population of over 76 million.
The climate is desert with hot, dry summers and moderate winters. The mean average rainfall over most of the country is less than 100 mm. The terrain is a vast desert plateau interrupted by the Nile valley and delta and the land elevation varies from just below sea level to the highest point Mount Catherine at 2,629 m. The highest peaks are east of the Nile and the land west of the Nile is generally featureless, largely made up of vast expanses of serir and sand desert, dotted with scattered oases. There are a number of natural hazards including periodic droughts, frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides, dust storms, sandstorms and a hot, driving windstorm called khamsin which occurs in spring.
Egypt is positioned strategically when viewed from a geopolitical standpoint. It controls the Sinai Peninsula which is the only land bridge between Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere; it controls the Suez Canal, an important sea link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; and its size and juxtaposition to Israel establish its major role in the Middle East.
The official language is Arabic although English and French are widely understood More details can be found at CIA Factbook and BAHA el DIN, S.M. 2001.