Egypt is a large and fast-growing country. It is the most-populous Arab nation, the third-most-pop¬ulous country in Africa and the 14th-most-populous country in the world. As of 2017 the population was some 97.5m, according to the World Bank, and growing by 2% per year. According to the live ticker on the website for the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics the population is over 98m and will cross the 100m threshold during 2019.
Population pressure is one of the key fac¬tors driving the national economic agenda. In a 2018 assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing the country, the IMF highlighted the need for private entities to provide employment opportunities for the estimated 3.5m young Egyptians entering the labour force by 2023. Recent years have seen an array of gov¬ernment initiatives aimed at encouraging businesses to invest in their own growth, but these efforts have been hampered by a challenging economic backdrop and a number of structural hurdles to private sector activity.