Spatial immobility: I’m Egyptian not African

When I heard or witnessed how my friends  from other African countries are able to move easily to a neighbour country or when they told me how their families belong to two countries …. that make me jealous.

I think Egyptian immobility to other African countries might be interpreted by more than one reason.

first: the most of Egyptians inhabitant alongside the Nile and its delta … this is the long watercourse that extends from the south to the north in one way without hard detours. The rest of Egypt space is deserts have few inhabitants. Some reports state that 99.3% of total population (90 Million) concentrated around the Nile in 3.5% of total space of Egypt.  One of remarkable satellite shoots to Egypt shows the population distribution like Lotus flower (the pharaoh symbol)


There are two main deserts in Egypt: the Eastern one is in the right side of the Nile and the Western desert is in the left side. and the Western desert is bigger than the eastern one .

The Egyptian deserts are not a good connector particularly with poor transport infrastructure; therefore, the possibility of interaction with neighbouring African countries became difficult. and the accessibility to the heart of Africa is through the border of the Western desert.

The family/ tribe extension cross borders are limited to some spots: one with some Libyan tribes and with Sudan  and the most of these inhabitants are nomads. Accordingly,  such nomad tribes who are on the periphery of Egypt  are not able to create strong connection that echo in the centre alongside the Nile.

Another reason is the absence of urban regions that have resources and generate jobs to attract inhabitants to move on like the mobility to the Gulf countries where they crossed the Eastern desert and the Red Sea. Neither the Egyptian governorates nor Libyan and Sudanese governorates are “developed”  thus no motivation for the young people to bear the mobility burden.

Additionally,  political demarcation of African borders are artificial and not coincided with tribal distribution; and that later – after independence- keep good social mobility cross these artificial borders .However, Egyptian case is different.. its borders were defined before European colonisation. and the existence of tribes can be defined clearly in south of Egypt (Nubia) and in this case the mobility of Nubians between Egypt and Sudan is easy. Therefore, the political and social perspectives to Nubia is the Egyptian gate to Africa!!

I think the distribution of Egyptian population that aligns the Nile and poor condition of peripheral  regions have contributed in disconnecting Egypt from the rest of the Continent mainly on social base and that is reflected in our identity

photo citation: Lotus photo retrieved from


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