Egypt eyes urban expansion by 2022, minister says

Egypt seeks to establish 60 new urban communities and cities by 2022, Minister of Housing Mohamed al-Maghrabi told reporters on Wednesday.

The Egyptian Housing Ministry, according to al-Maghrabi, laid down three decades ago a new strategy for redistributing the population away from the crowded Nile Valley and the Delta regions. These areas represent merely six percent of Egyptian territory.

Egypt plans to infiltrate desert areas with the new urban communities in an effort to help achieve social stability and economic prosperity, al-Maghrabi added.

From 1980 to the present, 23 new urban communities and cities have been established away from the Nile Valley, with government and private investments in the projects worth nearly LE500 billion, according to al-Maghrabi. Urbanization of desert areas, the minister said, has helped curb urban expansion to agricultural lands.

Al-Maghrabi said new cities built in desert areas occupy around 750,000 feddans of land, providing roughly 5.5 million people with 1.2 million housing units. The number of factories, including plants currently under-construction, stands at 8000, securing an estimated 500,000 job opportunities, the minister noted.

Al-Maghrabi stressed that the communities are supported with health, trade, education, and cultural services, as well as other basic utilities, such as water, sanitary drainage, electricity, and roads.

The government plans to provide coastal areas in particular with a new generation of urban communities in order to provided for population increases predicted by 2050, al-Maghrabi added.

Through the new cities, Egypt aims to set a model of sustainable development by tapping limited resources through several measures, such as the re-utilization of processed water, reliance on renewable energy, eco-friendly housing designs, and the appliance of mass transportation for the urban communities.    

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