USAID country Profile: Property Rights and Resource Governance: Egypt
The vast majority of Egypt's territory is unusable or low-value desert. Its agriculture and population are largely confined to the narrow Nile River Valley and Delta, about 4% of Egypt's total land area. All of the limited agricultural land is irrigated and most is productive, but significant amounts are being lost each year through degradation and urbanization. The government is countering this trend with massive and expensive efforts to reclaim land from the desert. Agricultural land is scarce, and a combination of population growth and competing uses have reduced agricultural land per capita. Land is relatively equitably distributed due in significant part to Nasser-era land reforms. However, rural landlessness is high and has been recently worsened by a 1992 law (Law No. 96, which was fully implemented in 1997) that eliminated permanent and heritable land rights for approximately 1 million households.