Egypt Country Report
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's second term will likely prioritise the reduction of Egypt's dependency on Gulf aid, restoring investor confidence, and minimising government spending on subsidies, as well as reducing the threat of jihadist terrorism. Reductions in state subsidies and increased energy prices mean that contractors are likely to find it difficult to compete with military companies in the construction, industrial manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. The government is likely to attempt to develop Egypt as a regional energy hub over the next five years. A country-wide counter-terrorism operation launched in February 2018 has significantly reduced the frequency of jihadist IED and shooting attacks in urban centres, including Cairo, but shooting attacks on security forcesare likely to continue in North Sinai.
For investors, political uncertainty has been replaced by a fear of monopolisation of industrial sectors by the military and security services as the main cause of operational paralysis. Ongoing operating 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.
The risk of jihadist attacks targeting security and foreign targets to be very high during 2018, driven by the Islamic State's attempts to expand its operational capabilities beyond the Sinai. This is likely to decrease in the one-year outlook if the state can maintain the costs of an extended counter-terrorism campaign. 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.
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. Egypt's military would be seriously overstretched if it attempted a counter-insurgency campaign in Libya while maintaining military operations in Sinai.
The Muslim Brotherhood has largely lost the ability to mobilise large numbers and organise large anti-government demonstrations. Nevertheless, opposition protests will probably recur occasionally, especially around sensitive political events like the anniversary of the 3 July coup, but will be confronted by disproportionate numbers of security forces deploying 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 street protests from non-Islamist segments of the population.
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).
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.
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.
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