Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends between Nubia, and downriver (northwards) to Lower Egypt, at the south of modern-day Cairo. More than 30% of Egyptians live in Upper Egypt. More than half of the population in Upper Egypt is under the age of 29 and 75% of its population lives in rural areas. According to the World Bank, “Upper Egypt accounts for only 40% of the country’s population but 60% of those living in poverty and 80% of those living in severe poverty.”
“Nearly one-third of Egypt’s population lives in Upper Egypt, the region known in Arabic as the Saeed. The Upper Egyptians, or Saeedis, are often depicted in novels and films as being tough and conservative, hot-headed about questions of honour and liable to descend into life-long vendettas. However, the story of the Saeed in real life is less glamorous, since Upper Egypt has long been neglected by successive governments, and it still lacks decent transportation and healthcare and education services. It has been under-represented in parliament and sidelined in the corridors of power.” (Al Ahram Weekly - Dec 2013)
According to UNICEF, “Between 1995 and 2000, poverty declined by 14 percent at the national level but in rural Upper Egypt it actually increased by 17 percent. More recently, by 2004, poverty increased up to 20% nationwide, and in rural Upper Egypt, the poverty rate is as high as 41%”.