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Guess what, we're number one

CAIRO: It’s true: Egypt is number one. Sometimes number two, sometimes number three. Should we be beaming with pride and spreading the word? Well, before you do, you should know what rankings you are talking about. There are, of course, a few possible sources of pride, though few are as glorious as having the only …


CAIRO: It’s true: Egypt is number one. Sometimes number two, sometimes number three. Should we be beaming with pride and spreading the word? Well, before you do, you should know what rankings you are talking about.

There are, of course, a few possible sources of pride, though few are as glorious as having the only standing wonder of the world or being one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Egypt is also home to the longest river in the world.

There is little in sport though to make Egyptians proud unless we go back to 1965, when Egypt won the most medals in that year’s Pan Arab Games, with a sweeping 137. Iraq in second place took only 38.

Less tantalizing perhaps are Egypt’s wondrous agricultural capabilities. Egypt has the top ranking rice yield (9.52 metric tones per hectare), as well as sorghum yield (5.63), according to the US Department of Agriculture. And exactly what is sorghum? According to wikipedia, it can be used as food and fodder as well as in the production of alcoholic beverages.

It must be all that fertilizer we use; Egypt uses 385.8 kg of fertilizer per hectare, the third highest amount in the world. And despite having the third highest wheat yield, we import 6,300 thousand metric tons, more than any other country, save one.

Clearly Egypt can stand proud of its robust legal system. Or, perhaps it be should be ashamed of its criminal population. Maybe though, a mysterious third explanation is at play. In any case, we have the highest number of people convicted of crimes, with 3,576,010 over the period of 1998 to 2000, according to UN statistics. Take comfort though, the noble UK comes in (a far) second. Per capita, we have the second highest convictions, more than 46 people per 1,000. The top per capita convictions go to Cyprus, jumping to nearly 95 convictions per 1,000 Cypriots. Maybe our poor students will be able to solve the country’s delinquency problems when they grow up. After all, the average 10-year-old enrolled in public school spends about 1,053 hours studying a year, the fifth highest of 38 ranked countries. On the other hand, Japan’s notably hard-working crowd spend just 761 hours a year studying.

Unfortunately though, some of the statistics are simply embarrassing. At 24 percent, Egypt has the second highest estimated number of women circumcised, although it is just eighth in per capita circumcision, according to Unicef.

Out of 115 countries, the UN ranked Egypt a shocking 108th in terms of economic participation and opportunity, and 111th on political empowerment.

Other “best s and “worst s are less scientific.

Travelers on www.2goglobal.com rate Egyptians as being among the “friendliest local people. They also felt Egypt was among the most underrated countries with “loads of great archaeological sites, cheap accommodation, great food, and, believe it or not, “efficient trains and buses. It’s no wonder the site’s travelers loved Egypt, they rated kushari as the best national dish.

According to www.the-voyagers.tripod.com, Egypt’s Pyramids are the “Best site that was actually worse than the hype. On the other hand, Karnak Temple in Luxor managed to impress, winning “Best Crumbly. Cairo was also considered the “Place [where you are] most likely to get run over crossing the street.

There is some truth to the last bit, as The Economist lists Egypt as one of the 20 worst countries in the world for traffic accidents. So overall then, is Egypt a good country to live in? Well, it seems to greatly depend on who you are, as Egypt has the highest “life satisfaction inequality out of 90 ranked countries. The ranking measures how much citizens differ in enjoyment of their life as a whole.

Still, it seems our poor should not have too much to complain about compared to other countries: of 115 countries, we come in fifth with regards to income going to the poorest 10 percent (4.4 percent). This could be because Egypt has one of the most extensive subsidy systems in the world.

Maybe it is women who are unsatisfied then, coming in second last out of 66 countries on the UN’s Gender Empowerment Measure, which measures the participation of women in political decision-making.

On the other hand, as Egypt ranks 111th in terms of health expenditures, and 125th (of 191 countries) on the World Economic and Social Development Ranking, maybe we all have something to complain about.

Topics: Aboul Fotouh

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