The government announced on Saturday the development and completion of a number of utility and infrastructural projects designed at preventing Egypt’s ticking time bomb of poverty from exploding in the face of the Al-Sisi’s administration as impoverished conditions were cited as the primary cause of the 25 January Revolution.
“We cannot allow this situation to continue, even if we have to share a morsel of bread among us so that none of our people keep living in such circumstances,” said President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. He stressed the importance of social housing projects, underlining the state’s role in providing decent homes to citizens, particularly targeting individuals and families who live in slums and ghettos across Egypt.
President Al-Sisi met with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and head of the Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority Kamel Al-Wazir in order to discuss the strategic importance of social safety nets such as affordable housing, clean drinking water, and electricity.
The Minister of Housing reviewed the current progress on developing sanitation and desalination plants in Egypt. He also briefed the president on the water desalination plants being built in Sinai, the Red Sea, and North Coast.
The meeting also covered the progress in establishing the New Administrative Capital, including housing, sanitation, and government buildings.
It was announced that an additional 500,000 housing units should be completed by April 2017. The Egyptian government has made the eradication of ashwa’yat (informal housing areas) one of its top developmental priorities.
The government has deemed 351 ashwa’yat unsafe for residents and has already begun to relocate 850,000 people languishing in poverty to high-rise apartments as a part of the Tahya Misr Fund which President Al-Sisi created himself.
Residents will have access to clean running water in their homes, a luxury unthinkable in Manshiyat Nasr, one of the most notorious ashwa’yat in Egypt where, in 2008, a landslide killed a number of people and left hundreds of families without homes.
The first two phases of the Tahya Misr project were completed in less than a year and included the construction of over 12,000 flats. The third phase, which will bring the number of units to 20,000 and service 100,000 people, will be completed in 2017.
The meeting also announced construction of waste water treatment plants, a desalination plant, and power plants in the Abu Rawash, Bahr El-Baqar, and Jabal Al-Asfar in preparation for the New Administrative Capital. Jabal Al-Asfar in particular is slated for major development, with a university planned to be completed for the new capital.
On 6 June the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) along with a collection of other governmental bodies such as the General Organisation for Physical Planning, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the UN Human Settlements Programme signed off on the Strengthening Development, Planning and Management in Greater Cairo project, which plans the strategic needs of Greater Cairo throughout the 21st century, focusing on public utilities, infrastructure, traffic, the environment, and urbanisation.