Egyptian Swedish Relationships


Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia, via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. It is the world's only contiguous Eurafrasian nation (meaning that it is a country that is part of three different continents) and most of Egypt's territory of 1,010,408 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi) lies within the Nile Valley. It is a Mediterranean country and is bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

With over 89 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab World, the third-most populous in Africa, and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. The great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centers of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the tenth millennium BCE as one of the world's first nation states. Considered a cradle of civilization, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion and central government in history. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide. Egypt's rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, having endured and at times assimilated various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European.

Modern Egypt is considered to be a regional and middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Its economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and services at almost equal production levels.


In 1937, the Egyptian Embassy in Stockholm was the first Arab and African embassy to establish itself in the Kingdom of Sweden on a famous street called Strandvägen (the shore/coast street) situated in the heart of Sweden’s capital city-Stockholm. Strandvägen, which was previously called Ladugårdsgatan, had its name changed from the latter to the previous due to infra-structural and architectural changes that were made in order to prepare Stockholm for the 1897 Stockholm’s World Fair. Afterwards, Strandvägen was then known to be- “a street unparalleled in Europe” and continues to be a landmark of Swedish urban planning and architecture.

The two countries have since the early 1900’s enjoyed a long history of cultural and economic cooperation. For instance, Egypt is considered to be Sweden’s second largest market in the MENA region, where Sweden mainly exports wood, paper products, metals, telecom and sound recording. Egypt’s main imports to Sweden are within the agricultural and textile sector which consists of textile yarn, fabrics, clothing, and accessories. Furthermore, in 2009, Engineer Rashid Mohamed Rashid, the Minister of Trade and Industry and Swedish Minister of Trade, Dr. Ewa Björling, exchanged visits and agreed on starting cooperation between Swedish financial institutions and Exports Development Bank to offer credit facilitations promoting cooperation and trade among companies in both countries.

Egypt has also been a host to many Swedish visitors throughout the years, for example, up to 2010 Egypt had hosted an approximate 210 000 Swedish tourists per year. Visitors come annually to enjoy the Red Sea beaches, Red Sea diving, and traveling along the major cities of the Nile. The positive relation between Egypt and Sweden is also mirrored in educational exchanges. Approximately six Egyptian students per year receive scholarships from the Swedish Institute to complete higher degrees of education in Sweden and 15 young leaders and entrepreneurs from both Sweden and Egypt meet in exchanging leadership programs.

This successful cooperation between Egypt and Sweden has led to many successful trade, economical, and entrepreneurial accomplishments, among them being the story of Mr. Emad Bayoumy. Mr. Bayoumy grew on a farm around the Nile Delta in Egypt where he assisted his father and uncle in bread baking. In 1989 he made a life changing decision and moved to Sweden with his wife Karin Bartils Bayoumy and then three children. Emad had 400 SEK when he landed in Sweden,and after coming up with the idea of baking Egyptian crisp-bread and many years of hard work, Mr. Bayoumy is now the third largest producer of rye and crispbread in Sweden. He has invented a recipe that combines both traditional Swedish and Egyptian methods of baking crisp bread. Mr. Bayoumy makes revenue of 40 million SEK per annum and ten percent of his crisp bread production is exported. In 2013 he was awarded the “Årets Nybyggare” award by H.M King Carl Gustav XVI of Sweden, which celebrates and congratulates successful entrepreneurial aspirations of Swedes with a foreign background.

Other components of the successful relationship between Egypt and Sweden are its educational and cultural exchanges. One of the earliest cultural exchanges between Sweden and Egypt can be summarized in the story of the Swedish post-impressionist painter, Ivan Aguéli. In 1902 Aguéli moved to Cairo and became one of the first Western Europeans to be officially enrolled at Al-Azhar University, where he studied Arabic and Islamic philosophy. Ivan Aguéli learned the Arabic language and embraced a Sufi interpretation of Islam- which helped him better understand the Egyptian culture and the writings of the Muslim world. Most of his paintings are of Egyptian and Swedish landscapes and can be seen in the Swedish National Museum.

And last but definitely not least- Egypt is home to four Nobel prize winners and they are as follows.

Anwar Al Sadat

Nobel Peace Prize Winner


Naguib Mahfouz

Nobel Prize Winner


Ahmed Zeweil

Nobel Prize Winner


Mohamed Al Baradei

Nobel Peace Prize Winner