Official name: The Arab Republic of Egypt (Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiya)
Egypt is considered one of the most important countries of the Arab world due to its central position and large population. The waters of the Nile River, fertile farming land (due to deposit of silt in the basin as a result of annual flooding), combined with a substantial redundancy of manpower, have formed the economic basis for successive civilizations in the region today encompassing the Arab Republic of Egypt. Over the past century the country has, however, experienced economic decline, driven by both external and internal factors.
Egypt fulfils the role of trendsetter in the region: driving force behind Arab nationalism (under Gamal Abdel Nasser), total subsequent subordination to Western politics (under Anwar al-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak), followed by the take-over, via elections, by moderate Islamists (under Mohammed Morsi). The subsequent ousting of the democratically elected Islamist government by the Army may in turn set an example in the Arab world.
In addition, as the historical home to al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, the most important Sunni educational centre, Egypt holds a prominent position in the much larger world of Sunni Islam. The regime of Egypt’s President, Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, elected in May 2014, is trying to turn a new page since it ousted the first democratically elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in June 2013. However, the demographic, economic and political problems remain considerable.