Sisi inaugurates new housing projects nationwide for residents in 22 unsafe areas

Mohamed Soliman , Saturday 16 Oct 2021

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated on Saturday via the video conference new housing projects nationwide for residents of 22 unsafe areas as part of the government's ongoing efforts to relocate residents of slums to new housing.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi at the inauguration event on 16, October 2021. Snapshot from State TV

During the ceremony, El-Sisi stressed to government officials the need to upgrade and provide all basic utilities in the areas of the new projects to better serve the citizens.

The president urged all government bodies to cooperate in order to reach this goal and create new job opportunities in these new neighbourhoods.

The event was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar and Head of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority Ihab El-Far.

El-Far gave a presentation in the event on the progress made in implementing various stages in the Ahalina (Our People) housing project, which is carried out by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority.

He said that newly inaugurated housing units in the Ahalina 2 phase include 34 residential blocks in Salam City east of Cairo, adding that the phase extends over an area of 15 feddans and costs EGP 1.1 billion.

He explained that the authority is overseeing the construction of 3,200 residential units in the Greater Cairo area to serve unsafe areas residents as part of the Ahalina 3. The execution rates in this phase, which extends over an areas of 35 feddans, have reached 45 percent, he announced.

Meanwhile,  Ahalina 4 will include 3,700 residential buildings on a total areas of 45 feddans. Work to remove more than 1 million cubic feet of waste in the area is proceeding.

Ahalina 5 is set to start next month and will include three new areas, El-Far added.

Saving arable land

El-Sisi stressed the need of cooperation between the authorities, media, and citizens to stop violations and illegal construction on arable lands in order to protect the country's agricultural capabilities.

"We are losing  precious agriculture lands to illegal construction when we are not using our massive desert, which makes up 90 percent of the total area of our country," he stressed.

He said the government is not the only body responsible for stopping illegal construction on agricultural lands, urging the public to educate themselves on the issue.

'Dream big'

The problem of illegal construction dates back to 50-60 years and resulted from fast population growth, the president explained.

"But, why don't you want to dream? Why don't you want to dream for your country and yourselves?" El-Sisi asked, urging the public to reject illegal construction on arable lands and think big.

He said the country can manage without any construction on arable lands if "we develop villages nationwide and increase the pace of building new housing units to accommodate more residents."

Egypt has seen a significant rise in illegal construction in recent decades, with many people constructing multi-storey buildings, including on the agricultural lands, without acquiring the necessary permits or complying with engineering safety standards.

Illegal buildings constitute about 50 percent of the urban clusters in villages and cities countrywide, according to PM Madbouly.

In recent years, the government has been implementing a nationwide campaign to demolish illegal violation buildings on arable lands. 

Egypt lost 400,000 feddans between 1980 and 2011, and an additional 90,000 feddans in the past nine years, to building violations and arable land encroachments.

Confronting population growth

The president stressed that no state can keep up with the consequences an increase in population like what we have in Egypt, El-Sisi stressed. 

"The current rate of increase in population of two million annually necessitates building more schools and housing units, and generating more jobs," El-Sisi noted.

He called on the government to launch a larger programme to relocate more residents who now live in unsafe areas.

"I dream of building three million new housing units for people at a cost of EGP 500-600 billion," he said.

"The purpose of relocating people who are living in unsafe areas to better and safer homes is to improve their quality of life," he added.

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