During the opening of 11 drinking water and sanitation plants in Upper Egypt in the presence of President Abdel Fattah EL Sisi, Assem El Gazzar,  Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities reviews the ministry’s efforts to develop upper Egypt and raise the quality of life, Invest-Gate reports.

El Gazzar revealed that the total investment pumped in achieving the overall economic and social development of Upper Egypt recorded EGP 86.5 bn between 2014 and 2021, the ministerial statement shows.

The minister explains that investments in Upper Egypt were limited until 2014, representing only 9% of the total investments in the housing and utilities sector.

Regards the urban expansions, El Gazzar highlights that the number of new urban communities in Upper Egypt reached 14 new cities, including eight cities before 2014 and six cities after 2014, in addition to six other new cities in the future. The future expected population of these new cities is 9 mn.

Furthermore, El Gazzar elaborates that Upper Egypt issues can be addressed through three strategies:

  • The first is based on finding development zones for economic activities and investments. The National Strategic Plan for Egypt 2052 targets 15 development zones, including eight development zones in Upper Egypt.
  • The second is related to the construction of the national road network.
  • The third is concerned with developing and raising the efficiency of the existing urban.

From 2014 to 2021, up to 272 investment projects were allocated to the private sector of new cities in Upper Egypt, with an area of 3,787 acres, along with 1,250 factories under implementation. The aforementioned new urban communities created of 20,000 current job opportunities, and 75,000 total job opportunities, El Gazzar states.

The minister points out that the new cities have played a role in providing investment opportunities for the private sector, citing the first phase of Nasser City “West Assiut”, where the city’s infrastructure networks were implemented at an initial cost of EGP 2.2 bn, in addition to EGP 1.1 bn for the implementation of housing projects. The city also includes a number of projects implemented by the private sector, including an integrated urban project with an area of 77 acres, and another with an area of 104 acres.

Additionally, El Gazzar reveals that the budget of the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) reached EGP 600 bn during the past seven years, explaining that the budget of the fiscal year 2014/15 was estimated at EGP 46.5 bn, compared to EGP 145 bn in the current fiscal year 2020/21, in addition to Ministry of Housing budget which amounts to EGP 85 bn.

The minister also remarks that there are 18 projects in the system of PPP, between NUCA and real estate developers, on an area of 24,000 acres. These projects will be implemented over 10 years with EGP 1 trillion of investments. They would provide 1.2 mn jobs.

The minister states that the Ministry of Housing has completed the development and upgrading of the existing roads in Upper Egypt with lengths of 439 km, at a cost of EGP 1.2 bn, in addition to the construction of new regional roads with lengths of 552 km, at a cost of EGP 4.6 bn.

Aiming at providing decent and affordable housing for the low-income segment “Housing for all Egyptians”, the minister states that 144,000 housing units have been implemented, including 125,000 social housing units. Moreover, 11,113 housing units have been implemented with housing (Sotrah – Sakan Karim – Nuba – desert back villages) at a cost of EGP 1.4 bn.

El Gazzar also announces that the ministry has developed 115 unsafe areas through implementing 45,000 housing units, and 474 water and sewage projects in Upper Egypt at a cost of EGP 34 bn.

He also highlights the role of national projects in Upper Egypt, noting that they succeeded in providing job opportunities, as unemployment rates decreased to 6% in 2021 when compared to 13% in 2014.

El Gazzar further continues that the housing and utilities sector investments have increased to 25% in 2021 from 9% in 2014.

He also points out that the presidential initiative “Hayah Karima” will play a pivotal role in developing Upper Egypt, as it will benefit 77% of the rural population in Upper Egypt in 883 villages in eight governorates.

Moreover, the share of Upper Egypt villages reached 61% of the total villages in the first phase of the initiative to serve 12.4 mn people, representing 70% of the population of Upper Egypt.

The minister reveals that the average coverage rate of drinking water services in Upper Egypt governorates amounted to 85.2% in 2014 and has been raised to 97.8% in 2021. Meanwhile, the average coverage rate of sewage services was 22.2% in 2014 and has reached 33.3% in 2021.

This confirms that the sewage projects that have been implemented in Upper Egypt during the past seven years are equivalent to 50% of those implemented during the previous stages.