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To which language should you translate to localize in Egypt?

What we know from our community

Egypt has been characterized by the unity of its land and people since the dawn of history when “Mina” united the two countries – northern and southern – thousands of years ago.

Since then, the Egyptians have been united in the heart of one man towards the unity and safety of their homeland. They have strong relationships and communication throughout eternity with ease and flexibility, even if some dialects differ as a direct result of the geographical dimension, but the colloquial Arabic language is still prevalent with intensity in most cities and parts of Egypt.

Although, at the beginning of the third millennium, the situation has become more open towards the use of English in drafting regulations, publishing administrative data, and professional and academic communication in some cases, everyone – from Alexandria in the north to Aswan in the far south and from Sinai in the east to Matrouh in the west – understands, masters and loves Arabic; Therefore, an understanding of colloquial Arabic is important and necessary for professional dealings, commercial exchanges, making deals, and so on…



Official language


T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.

Other languages
Egyptian Arabic has the highest number of speakers in the country, 68% of the population, followed by Saidi Arabic, which is common in the southern part of the country with 29% of the population using it as their first language. Official Arabic is only spoken by 1.6% of the population.Other languages such as Sudanese Arabic, Domari, Nobiin, and Bedawi are also present in Egypt.

Very low proficiency (EF) – 85 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 12/21 position in Africa.


Capital: Cairo
Currency: Egyptian Pound
Population: 104.26 m
Population density: 105/km2


GDP: 404,14 billion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 3,876.4 USD ‎(2020) ‎
Exports: $33.6 billion (2020)


Internet users: 71.9% penetration, 75.66 million
Unemployment rate:  7.9% (2020)
Urbanisation: 10.13% (2020)
Literacy: 74.2% (2018)


Numbering system
The Arab world uses a different numbering system and there is a different character to separate integer and fractional parts of the number

Date format: dd-mm-yyyy
Time: 12h time system
Country code: 0020

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal

Facts and data


$76.4 billion (2020).   Wheat ($5.2B), Crude Petroleum ($3.42B), Cars ($2.91B), Broadcasting Equipment ($2B), and Refined Petroleum ($1.87B), importing mostly from China ($13.3B), Russia ($5.14B), United States ($4.82B), Germany ($3.75B), and United Arab Emirates ($3.69B).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 32% have an account with a financial institution
• 3.3% have a credit card
• 1.8% have a mobile money account
• 3.5% make online purchases

Ease of doing business
Ease of conducting business is medium (rated 60.1 out of 100). Ranked 12th out of 44 Middle Eastern countries Ranked 114th worldwide out of 190 countries (2020, World Bank)

$33.6 billion (2020). Refined Petroleum ($3.4B), Gold ($3.29B), Crude Petroleum ($2.74B), Nitrogenous Fertilizers ($1.17B), and Citrus ($946M), exporting mostly to United Arab Emirates ($3.21B), United States ($2.38B), Saudi Arabia ($2.08B), Turkey ($1.96B), and Italy ($1.95B).

Main local online stores, and Other top retail sites include and

Economic freedom
‘Mostly not free’ (rated 49.1 out of 100) Ranked 11th out of 14 countries in the Middle East Ranked 152nd worldwide out of 186 countries (2019, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)

Global Innovation Index
Ranked 17th out of 39 Northern African Western Asian countries, 94th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

Service Imports (2017)

Source: OEC

Service Export (2017)

Source: OEC

Most complex products by PCI

Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters

Source: OEC

Most Specialised Products by RCA Index

Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Egypt observed and expected exports in each product

Source: OEC

Export Opportunities by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Egypt is not specialized in

Source: OEC



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T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales. It estimates the market share of each country in relation to global e-commerce.

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Media language Arabic, English

Information channels
Egypt is a major regional media player. Its press is one of the most influential and widely-read in the region and its TV and film industry supplies much of the Arab-speaking world with shows from its Media Production City. The state is a major force in the media and runs many TV and radio stations, websites, newspapers and magazines. 

In recent years, the authorities have been increasing controls over traditional and social media to an unprecedented degree. Many of the popular TV talk shows that once featured heated political debates have disappeared. The charge of spreading “false news” is widely used as a pretext to clamp down on online activists.

Reporters Without Borders says Egypt is “one of the world’s biggest prisons” for journalists. 

“The authorities have waged a witch-hunt since 2013 against journalists suspected of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood,” the group says.

Television is the most popular medium. There are two state-run national TVs and six regional channels. Many private networks emerged in the post-Mubarak era. Egypt is a big force in satellite TV. Most leading Arab pay TV networks have a presence at Media Production City in Cairo. Egypt was the first Arab nation to have its own satellite, Nilesat.

President al-Sisi’s government has tightened its control over the internet. Hundreds of websites have been blocked and online activists have been arrested.

A 2018 cyber-crime law allows the authorities to block any website deemed to threaten national security or the economy.

The press

Al-Ahram – state-owned daily, the oldest newspaper in the Arab world
Al-Ahram Weekly – in English
Al-Jumhuriyah – state-owned daily
Al-Misri al-Yawm – private daily
Al-Shuruq – private daily
Al-Yawm al-Sabi – private daily
Egypt Independent – in English, sister paper of Al-Misri al-Yawm
Daily News Egypt – private, in English

The press

Al-Ahram – state-owned daily, the oldest newspaper in the Arab world
Al-Ahram Weekly – in English
Al-Jumhuriyah – state-owned daily
Al-Misri al-Yawm – private daily
Al-Shuruq – private daily
Al-Yawm al-Sabi – private daily
Egypt Independent – in English, sister paper of Al-Misri al-Yawm
Daily News Egypt – private, in English


National Media Authority (NMA) – state-run, operates domestic and satellite networks, including Nile News, Nile TV International and Nile TV thematic channels
Dream TV – private, via satellite
Al-Mihwar – private, via satellite
Al-Nahar – private, via satellite
ON E – private, via satellite
Al-Hayah – private, via satellite
CBC – private, via satellite


National Media Authority (NMA) – state-run, operates national, regional and external services including flagship General Programme
FM – private, Western pop
Nogoum FM
– private, Arabic pop

News agency

Middle East News Agency (MENA) – state-run
Masrawy – news portal
Mada Masr – news, in English
Egyptian Streets – news, in English

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
71.9% penetration, 75.66 million

Share of web traffic by device
49.20% mobile phones, 48.91% computers (laptops and desktops), 1.87% tablet devices, others 0.01%

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
17.28 Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
35.67 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 93.4%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 85.1%

Most popular web search engines
Google (98.56%), Bing (0.81%), Yahoo (0.53%), DuckduckGo (0.04%), Yandex Ru (0.03%). Ask Jeeves (0.01%) 

Most used social media
Facebook (81.56%), YouTube (10.8%), Twitter (2.35%), Instagram (2.35%), VKontakte (0.06%))

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
65.21 yrs (2020)

Generally, women do not have the same status as men. It is apparent in dress, level of education, work opportunities, freedom of movement etc. especially in Upper Egypt (South), villages and certain very conservative circles. In Cairo, however, women are regarded with a more open- minded attitude. However, it is considered dangerous for women to go out alone in the evening and at night and they are encouraged to stay home. Among the younger generation, women often stop working when they get married.

Women do participate in the work force, especially in large cities such as Cairo, Alexandria and Port-Said etc. but they are often in subordinate positions, underpaid and sometimes exploited. As jobs are not readily available, even scarce in some domains, women are encouraged to stay home to look after the family. But at home, the woman is the queen of the family! She takes decisions concerning most matters related to children education, home management, food, clothes etc. She is a very important person in the family structure, if not the most important one.

Religion matters hugely and non-Muslim people are at a disadvantage. Although Christians make up to 10% of the population and have always been part of Egyptian society since the 1st Century, they are not given the same opportunities for advancement at work. However, recently, that issue is being addressed openly and there seems to be a slight, but very slow, change in attitude.

Graduates (tertiary education)

Healthcare Expenditure
5.28% of GDP (2017)

Median age of the population
19.2 years

Cultural Curiosities
Communication in both business and social settings tends to be very warm and expressive. Establishing a cordial relationship and gaining the trust of your business counterpart is very important. 

money, who you know and relations with people in important positions matter. They can make your life easier or harder. The middle class in Egypt has been shrinking due to shortage of work, emigration and economic circumstances. The poorer class is growing and there is a small but powerful percentage of extremely rich people. The gap between classes is visible. This situation is contributing to a more precarious situation regarding levels of petty crime and bursts of anger against the establishment. When you add to this picture the mounting conservative attitude of Islamists and their attitude towards Copts, Christians in general, you have the seeds of a growing social instability. 

In the Workplace, generally speaking, this brings the dimensions of favouritism of certain social and religious groups, resentment and distrust of leadership. Often, foreigners are sometimes looked upon as intruders, hence the importance of establishing one’s expertise, creating relationships, trust and team spirit.

As you probably will work in a relatively educated informed environment, such aspects will not be as apparent. However, be mindful as they might still be there, though unspoken.

There are many ethnic groups in Egypt due to the multiple waves of invasions throughout history. However, for the longest time Egyptians saw themselves as part of the greater Arab Nation, especially, with the nationalistic feeling that developed in the fifties after the Revolution and Nasser’s dream to create a pan-Arab nation.  Egyptians relished the sense of belonging to a national popular project of building a democracy, following the demise of the royal family and the abolition of monarchy. Their ethnicity, as they saw it then, was first and foremost being Arab and mainly Muslim.

Lately, there is a stronger sense of belonging to a history and to a culture that is specifically and uniquely Egyptian. The separation of state and religion is sometimes a grey area – the constitution identifies Islam as the state religion, while also guaranteeing freedom of religion. Many very conservative Muslims believe that Christians in Egypt are not Egyptians. They talk about Ethnic cleansing and that the country should be solely and totally Muslim. 

There are obvious and apparent differences between ethnic groups. In the deep Southern part of Upper Egypt, people are darker as part of Northern Sudan was once part of the Egyptian territory. In the North and in specific areas where many of the invading armies of modern History such as the French and English armies settled, many people have fairer skin and blue eyes.

Moreover, in the first half of the twentieth Century, Egypt was seen as a land of opportunity and wealth by surrounding countries and many Lebanese, Greek, Italian and Armenian people emigrated to the country. For example, Alexandria, the biggest port city in Egypt had the largest Greek Community outside Greece. They all adopted the ways of life and the language of the land. They also enriched it with their traditions, art and knowledge, founding schools and bringing their structured mentality to many aspects of government.

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

The Data Factbook is a work in progress project. Our community is helping us to fill it up always with new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write your advices at

Languages research

Main languages families in Egypt


  • Western Egyptian Bedawi Arabic

  • Bedawi Arabic

  • Estern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic

  • Sidi Arabic and Egyptian Arabic

  • Nobiin

  • Uninhabited

The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to

Photo credit: Hazem Adel, Unsplash