Egypt Country Report
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi faces a range of political challenges, including reducing Egypt's dependency on Gulf aid, restoring investor confidence despite an Islamist insurgency, and cutting government spending through subsidy reform while avoiding mass economically motivated unrest. Reductions in state subsidies and increased energy prices mean that contractors are likely to find it increasingly difficult to compete in sectors in which the military also has economic interests, including construction, industrial manufacturing, and agriculture. Islamist-backed IED and shooting attacks are likely in urban centres, including Cairo, against key sectors such as tourism, energy, and the security forces; a three-front insurgency in the Western Desert, Nile Delta, and Sinai Peninsula isthe main security threat in 2018.
For investors, political uncertainty has been replaced with a fear of monopolisation by the security services as the main cause of paralysis. Ongoing operating risks include payment delays to government contractors and foreign energy firms as a result of Egypt's straitened finances and dependency on Gulf aid; 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 is likely to be manifested in strikes over pay disputes.
We judge the risk of jihadist attacks targeting security and foreign targets to be high through 2018, driven by the Islamic State’s expansion of its operational capabilities beyond the Sinai, and other nationalist Islamist groups in the Nile Delta cities. In North Sinai, the army has been unable to defeat the insurgency of the local Islamic State-affiliated group, which is likely to expand attacks in central Sinai, but South Sinai governorate likely remains an aspirational target. The risk of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on commercial and infrastructure targets, 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 aim 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 is also likely to continue providing military assistance to the Tobruk-based Libyan government against the Islamic State. Egypt's militarywould be seriously overstretched if it attempted a counter-insurgency campaign in Libya while maintaining military operations in Sinai and, increasingly, west of Suez.
The Muslim Brotherhood has largely lost the ability to mobilise large numbers and organise large anti-government demonstrations. Nevertheless, opposition protests are likely to recur occasionally, especially around sensitive political events, 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. 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, despite the economic austerity and reform measures enacted by the government in 2016–17.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. All arrivals from Sudan are required to possess either a vaccination certificate or a location certificate issued by a Sudanese official centre stating that they have not been in Sudan south of 15°N within the previous 6 days.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz