Egypt: Climate risk country profile

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This profile was written by MacKenzie Dove (Senior Climate Change Consultant, WBG). Additional support was provided by Yunziyi Lang (Climate Change Analyst, WBG) and Fernanda Zermoglio (Senior Climate Change Consultant, WBG).


The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in the north-eastern corner of Africa. Egypt’s northern border is the Mediterranean Sea, with Sudan to the south, the Red Sea, Palestine, and Israel to the east, and Libya to the west. The country has a total land area of 995,450 km2 and a coastline of 3,500 km along the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The topography ranges from 133 m below sea level in the Western Desert to 2,629 m above sea level in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt’s coastal zones extend for over 3,500 km along the Mediterranean and Red Sea. The Mediterranean shoreline is most vulnerable to sea level rise due to its relative low elevation compared to the land around it. The Delta and its north coast are hosts to several primary towns and cities such as Alexandria, Port Said, Damietta, and Rosetta, all with populations of several million, and large investments in industrial, touristic and agricultural activities as well as in the infrastructure serving these activities.

Egypt is classified as a lower-middle income country (Table 1), the government has been relatively successful in implementing macro-economic and structural reforms in order to stabilize the economy, sustain growth, and support more dynamic participation of the private sector. Egypt has a population of 98.4 million people (2018) with an annual population growth rate of 2.0% (2018), and is projected to reach 120.8 million people by 2030 and 159.9 million by 2050. An estimated 43% of the current population resides in urban areas, which is expected to reach 56% in 2050. The country has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $250.9 trillion (2018), and has experienced relatively volatile growth rates over the past decade; Egypt has a current annual growth rate of 5.3% in 2018.

The ND-GAIN Index ranks 181 countries using a score which calculates a country’s vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges as well as their readiness to improve resilience. This Index aims to help businesses and the public sector better identify vulnerability and readiness in order to better prioritize investment for more efficient responses to global challenges. Due to a combination of political, geographic, and social factors, Egypt is recognized as highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, ranked 107 out of 181 countries in the 2019 ND-GAIN Index. The more vulnerable a country is the lower their score, while the more ready a country is to improve its resilience the higher it will be. Norway has the highest score and is ranked 1st. Figure 1 is a time-series plot of the ND-GAIN Index showing Egypt’s progress.

Egypt is considered highly vulnerable to climate change due to its primary dependence on the Nile River, which serves needs for potable water, agriculture, industry, fish farming, power generation, inland river navigation, mining, oil and gas exploration, cooling of machinery and power generation. This dependence on the Nile River’s water makes the country vulnerable to rising temperatures, reduced rainfall for the upper Nile Basins as well as the reduction of rainfall on the east Mediterranean coastal zone. Egypt submitted its Nationally-Determined Contribution (NDC) and Third National Communication (NC3) to the UNFCCC in 2016, in support of the its efforts to realize its development and economic goals and increase its adaptive capacity to climate change. The country is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability and change, particularly with respect to water security, agriculture and livestock, increasingly adverse conditions to health, human settlements, and energy demand and supply. Egypt’s NDC is consistent with the country’s overall goals of reducing vulnerability and poverty, and achieving long-term sustainable, economic development. Key areas of focus include the sustainability of the environment, water resources, energy, sustainable land management, agriculture, and health.