As part of a project (entitled ‘Observatory of the Geopolitical Challenges of Demography’) entrusted to Futuribles and IRIS in 2018 by the French Defence Ministry, Didier Billion and Alain Parant examined in some depth the demographic situation of Egypt with reference to the country’s socio-political and geopolitical context. They present the lessons of this work in this article, updated using the U.N.’s latest population projections.
With more than 100 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous state on the Mediterranean and the third most populous in Africa (after Nigeria and Ethiopia). Despite the revolution of 2011, it still has a strong authoritarian regime and its economy is in a parlous state. The prospect of demographic growth that would add between 45 and 75 million inhabitants to the population by 2050 poses a risk of overpopulation that could have very serious environmental, health, social and other consequences. As the authors stress, if the UN’s demographic projections turn out to be correct, the question will arise of where and how this additional population will live, since the geography of the (mainly desert) country causes most of Egypt’s people to live along the Nile valley at an already very high population density.