7 Reasons Why Egypt Is Important

Egypt is probably one of the best-known countries in the world. Many people know Egypt for its ancient history of pharaohs, pyramids and sphinxes. However, less people understand the importance that modern day Egypt holds. In fact, there are a number of reasons why Egypt plays a vital role on the world stage. Here, we’re going breakdown some of the key reasons why Egypt is such an important country…

1. Egypt Has An Incredible History

A first reason why Egypt is important is because of the country’s amazing history.

Egypt has one of the longest recorded history in the world. Civilizations in Egypt’s have been traced back over 5,000 years. Egypt is famous for its incredible archaeological sites, and even today people can explore the remnants of ancient Egyptian civilizations. Sites such as the Great Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the Egyptian Museum draw millions of tourists a year. The ancient history of Egypt is a major reason why the country is so important.

As well as the ancient history of Egypt, the country’s more modern history is also fascinating. Egypt has a long record of Islamic scholarly, which adds to the country’s importance. The 19th and 20th Century histories of Egypt are also fascinating, as the country experienced a period of colonisation by the British, followed by independence. This period also saw the foundations of the modern Egyptian state, as well as it’s increased engagement with the Middle East and Cold War politics.

Egypt has one of the most interesting, and most studied, histories of any country. This is a big reason why it is important.

2. The Country Has A Huge Population

A second reason why Egypt is important is because it has such as large population.

Egypt has a population of over 109 million people. This makes it the 14th most populated country in the world. It is also the most populous country in the Arab world, and the third most populated in Africa. Egypt’s large population ensures that it is a major economic, trade, business, political and cultural center within its region. It is also a major reason why the country is important.

As well as having one of the largest populations in the world, Egypt’s demographics also add to its importance. Egypt is an incredibly young country, with an average age of only 23 years old. This gives the country great potential, but also poses a risk of political turmoil if a more inclusive economy is not developed and opportunities ensured for the nation’s youth.

Egypt’s population is highly dense, with huge numbers of people living along the River Nile. Cairo, the country’s capital, has nearly ten million people. In fact, Cairo is the sixth largest city in the world – a further reason for why Egypt is an important country.

3. The Suez Canal Makes Egypt Vital For Global Trade

A third reason why Egypt is important is because of the vital role the Suez Canal plays in global trade.

The Suez Canal in a man-made waterway connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. It was constructed in 1869 and was funded by British and French investors. The canal was run by the Anglo-French Suez Canal Company until 1956, when it came under Egyptian control.

Today, 12% of global trade passes through the Suez Canal and it is a crucial route for trade between Europe and Asia. The short-cut it provides means ships can avoid traveling significantly further around Africa. Many would argue that the Suez Canal is perhaps the most vital waterway in the world. Egypt’s role in managing the canal is a major reason why the country is so important.

In 1956, Britain and France went to war with Egypt over control of the canal in a conflict known as the Suez Crisis. Egypt prevailed in this dispute and it was a key step in the country gaining total control over the canal. The Suez crisis shows how important the canal is to many nations, and further demonstrates Egypt’s vital position as its custodian.

4. Egypt Is Prone To Political Turmoil

Another reason why Egypt is important is because of the country’s propensity for political turmoil.

In 2011, the Arab Spring – a wave of anti-government protests across the Middle East and North Africa, swept the region. Egypt was at the heart of this movement, with massive protests against the country’s then ruler Hosni Mubarak. After his downfall, the country entered a period of political instability, ending with the rise to power of Egypt’s current ruler – Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Although political protests and turmoil have decreased since Sisi took control, the underlying causes for the Arab Spring protests remain unaddressed. Inequality, poverty, a lack of opportunities, widespread corruption and nepotism and a highly inefficient economy all continue to plague Egypt. If these issues remain unaddressed, it is only a matter of time before we see a return to widespread political unrest in the country.

5. Egypt Has A Prominent Role In The Arab World

One reason why Egypt is important is because of the leading role it plays in the Arab world.

As we’ve said, Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East and North Africa. This gives it a prominent position economically and culturally across the region. However, Egypt also ensures it plays a key diplomatic role across the Arab world – Egypt is a key member of the Arab League.

As well as being diplomatically active within the Arab world, Egypt also plays a leading role in multi-lateral organizations outside of the region. Egypt holds an important position within the United Nations. As an African nation Egypt is also a member of the African Union, where it engages extensively.

Egypt has been successful in building a prominent role for itself within the Arab world, and on the global stage. This is a factor that adds to the nation’s importance.

6. Egypt Has A Key Relationship With Israel

A key reason why Egypt is so important is because of its relationship with Israel.

When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, it entered a period of almost continuous conflict with its Arab neighbors. Egypt and Israel fought four wars between the 1940s and 70s, the most notables being the Six Day War (1967) and Yom Kippur War (1973). Israel essentially triumphed in these conflicts, although not without significant successes by the Egyptians at times.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel, massively changing the dynamics of the Arab’s world relationships with the Jewish state. Since then, Egypt has been a key interlocutor between Israel and Arab states. This has meant Egypt has often played a vital role in regional affairs.

It’s important to note that the relationship between Egypt and Israel has not always been easy, and tensions often flare. Many of the Egyptian public are still highly critical of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. However, the peace between Egypt and Israel has now held for over fifty years, acting as a demonstration to the wider Middle East that it is possible to accommodate Israel within the region. This is another reason for why Egypt is so important.

7. Egypt Has An Amazing Culture

A final reason why Egypt is important is because of the country’s amazing culture.

Egypt has deep cultural roots. The country embodies it’s Islamic and Christian cultures, as well as African and Mediterranean cultures. This makes for a unique cultural blend. Egyptian culture is revered around the world, and is also a major draw for tourists, with over ten million people visiting the country each year.

The culture of Egypt is highly diverse. It mixes the traditional with the modern, as well as the Islamic, Christian and secular. Egypt is renowned for its art, architecture, clothing and food. The country’s culture is well protected and Egyptians ensure their culture is kept alive.

Located at a geographical crossroads between the Middle East and Africa, and with a long and expansive history, Egyptian culture is like no other in the world. It is also a big reason why many people see the country as being so important.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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