BY Amr Emam
Egypt will embark on an ambitious project to upgrade 1,500 villages nationwide with investment worth billions into the project that will alter the lives of the rural population.
The project was unveiled by President
Abdel Fattah El Sisi on January 23 while he was in Port Said to open a fish farm, which will bring Egypt many steps closer to self-sufficiency in fish production.
“We will upgrade rural centres totally,” President Sisi said. “The process will be so comprehensive that we will provide these villages with all their needs.”
The project will add to the achievements of Sisi’s administration which have been nonstop since he came to power in mid-2014.
Among these achievements are slum clearance across Egypt and providing residents to safe housing that cost the state budget billions to construct, as well as the reclamation of thousands of feddans of desert, reducing power outages, improving the railways, constructing bridges and building thousands of kilometres of new road.
Sisi called for rallying all national energies behind the new project for the upgrade of the villages. He said all state institutions would join hands to implement the project.
“However, it is important also that ordinary Egyptians join hands with us in executing this project,” the president said.
He said the upgrade of the villages would create new realities. The president said that the sewage networks for these villages would be renewed and village streets will be paved,” he added.
However, President Sisi revealed that the renewal of the sewerage networks and sewage treatment plants would use up most of the budget for the upgrade, he said.
The 1,500 villages covered by the plan are home to18 million people, according to government data.
The government will invest LE500 billion ($32.2 billion) in the project which will be completed by 2024.
President Sisi will personally oversee the implementation of the project step by step, as he has done with all projects implemented by his administration in the last six years.
Village upgrades will be carried out in three phases with the redistribution of government institutions for fair shares of government facilities and public services.
The villages, which have been neglected for decades and are in 22 in the nation’s 27 governorates, will soon enjoy better living standards, the government says.
“The project will give these villages a new lease of life,” independent local development expert Amgad Amer told The Egyptian Gazette.
The upgrade will redraw the map of the Egyptian countryside, and create thousands of jobs, experts say.
“This is why we say this is a very important national project,” economist Seif Eddin Farag said. “It proves that Sisi’s administration does not confine its attention to urban centres, but devotes resources to the countryside, which is important for bridging the development gap between the north and south of Egypt.”