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Egypt Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Protests against the drop in living standards and accusations of corruption around Sisi began in September 2019, but are unlikely to continue into 2020. The Egyptian constitution was amended by referendum in April 2019. The amendments extended President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's second term to six years and allow him to stand for a final, third term, meaning he is highly likely to be in office until 2030. In addition, the amendments subsume the judiciary under the executive and increase the formal role of the military within state institutions.Likely priorities for Sisi will include attempting to restore investor confidence in the private sector, particularly manufacturing, banking privatisation, and hydrocarbon exploration and production, and minimising government spending on subsidies. GDP growth is projected to increase from 5.3% currently to 5.5% in fiscal year 2019/20, reflecting positive developments in the energy and manufacturing sectors. The risk of payment delays to government contractors and foreign energy firms has declined in the one-year outlook as Egypt's foreign-currency reserves have improved and exceeded pre-revolution levels. Statements from Sisi about improving private-sector participation in the economy are unlikely to be realised and contractors are likely to find it difficult to compete with military-owned companies for contracts in the construction, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Sisi sidelined opponents from the military before the 2018 presidential election, and this has almost certainly discouraged future meaningful opposition figures from emerging from the armed forces. Reshuffling of senior positions within the military and intelligence services reduces the likelihood of a coup being attempted, and even more so of one being successful.Successful attacks against security forces and civilians in north Sinai have decreased in frequency, and this is likely to continue while military operations remain ongoing; attacks are unlikely to pose significant threat to south Sinai. Attacks in the Western Desert are likely to target state representatives and security forces.
Last update: November 29, 2019

Operational Outlook

For investors, political uncertainty has been replaced by the increasingly dominant position of military-backed companies within the economy. Military companies are largely tax exempt and have access to cheap labour though conscription. Ongoing operational risks include high levels of bureaucracy, exacerbated by an overstaffed public sector in which appointments to posts are not based on merit; and a high degree of union militancy that will probably be manifested in strikes over pay disputes. Risks of payment delays to government contractors and foreign energy firms are reducing in the one-year outlook as Egypt's foreign-currency reserves improve.

Last update: November 19, 2019

Terrorism

Very high

The risk of jihadist attacks targeting security and foreign targets is likely to be very high in 2019, driven by the Islamic State's attempts to expand its operational capabilities beyond the Sinai. In North Sinai, the army's increased deployment of troops has reduced the frequency of Islamic State attacks since February 2018. South Sinai governorate likely remains an aspirational target. The risk of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on Christian minorities and security forces is greatest in Greater Cairo, the Nile Delta, and Suez Canal cities.

Last update: August 31, 2019

Crime

Crime rates rose after the January 2011 uprising due to law enforcement forces leaving the streets, the disarray of the police force, the increased availability of firearms because of political and security turmoil and the smuggling of weapons from Libya, mass prison breaks during the 2011 uprising, and anxiety over the country's future. Crime rates have levelled off from 2014 as police visibility has increased and military control was re-established. The publicly reviled State Security Agency was dissolved in March 2011 because of its reputation for committing human rights abuses. However, it was quickly replaced with the National Security Agency, which retains more than half of the previous agency's staff, and has preserved tactics and practices similar to those of its predecessor.

Sensible precautions to guard against opportunistic crime should be taken in urban areas and on some desert roads, including the Cairo-Alexandria highway and west of Cairo. Despite legislation imposing harsher punishment to sexual harassment, women may be subject to unwanted attention or verbal harassment if travelling alone. Reports suggest that sexual assaults and incidents of harassment against women have increased since 2011. The death penalty is the maximum sentence for smuggling illegal drugs, including marijuana and hashish. Fines and imprisonment are common even for small-scale seizures.

Last update: December 4, 2019

War Risks

President Sisi is highly likely to maintain the Mubarak-era position of good relations and counter-terrorism co-operation with Israel, in large part with the objective of containing the Sinai insurgency and increasing economic integration with Israel and accommodating Gulf monarchies. Accordingly, Egypt is extremely unlikely to unilaterally cancel the 1979 Camp David peace treaty, and a war with Israel is very unlikely during Sisi's tenure. Egypt will also probably continue providing military assistance to the Tobruk-based Libyan government against the Islamic State and the internationally recognised government in Tripoli. Egypt's military would be overstretched if it attempted a counter-insurgency campaign in Libya while maintaining military operations in Sinai.

Last update: August 31, 2019

Social Stability

High

The Muslim Brotherhood has largely lost the ability to organise large anti-government demonstrations. Nevertheless, opposition protests will probably recur occasionally, especially around political events like the anniversary of the 3 July coup and the 14 August Rabaa massacre, but are almost certain to be dispersed by security forces deploying non-lethal riot control measures. Protests by non-Islamist youth, leftists, and the urban working class tend to be small and quickly dispersed by security forces. High levels of protest fatigue and economic struggles appear to have reduced the likelihood of labour activism and protests from non-Islamist segments of the population.

Last update: November 16, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines required to enter the country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Egypt. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

The road mortality rate is high. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 12,000 people die in car accidents in Egypt every year. This is partly due to the poor condition of the roads, poor driving habits, and antiquated vehicles. The overall safety of the country's train network is also unreliable. In early February 2016, a train derailment near Beni Suef injured more than 60 people.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Egypt's climate is Mediterranean along the Alexandria coast, semi-arid around Cairo, and fully arid in the south. The ideal time to visit the country is in the autumn (from late September until late November) when temperatures start to cool in Europe and Egypt is still bathed in a mild heat (temperatures fluctuate between 25°C and 35°C from north to south). Winters (mid-December through February) are better for those who dislike temperatures over 30°C but tend to be cloudy. During this season, it is best to pack a good jacket if travelling to Cairo as there is very little indoor heating in Egypt. Spring (March-April) comes relatively late and passes quickly; it is also the windy season when the Khamsin (a hot and sandy wind) passes over the country two or three times. Summer is often scorching; you will have to adapt as the locals do, beginning your day early in the morning and taking a long break at midday.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +20
Police: 122
Fire Dept.: 122
Ambulance: 122

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019