Home of the pyramids and famed for its ancient civilisation, modern-day Egypt faces huge challenges in the areas of poverty, inequality and human rights.
Most of Egypt’s rapidly growing population live in congested conditions along the Nile – 99 per cent in just four per cent of the country’s land area.
There is a poverty divide between the north (Lower Egypt) and the less developed south of the country (Upper Egypt), while Egypt’s majority religion and culture restricts opportunities for various minority groups.
Many children in the poorest communities have limited access to pre-school and school education – and drop-out rates are high, especially among teenage girls.
Rising food prices and unemployment are increasing hardships for poor communities already prone to malnutrition, water-borne diseases and respiratory infections.
Large numbers of deprived children live in squalid conditions – vulnerable to abuse and child labour. Children from minority communities and refugees are also often subjected to discrimination.
Sixty per cent of Egypt’s population are under 21 years of age. In early 2011, they swelled the ranks of protesters calling for a new political order. The momentum for change proved unstoppable, and President Mubarak’s 30-year rule came to an abrupt end.