Egypt to engage civil society in Warraq island development

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Nov 2022

Egypt will engage with civil society groups that have “successful experience in service and community field work” to enhance the state’s urban development efforts on Warraq Nile island, according to the presidency.

Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi meets with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and a group of ministers, 22 November 2022. Egyptian Presidency


In a meeting with ministers on Tuesday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered to government to implement the development work in the “optimal way” and to meet the needs and requests of residents.

El-Sisi also followed up on efforts to improve the area’s infrastructure, especially with regard to electricity services and extending cables to converter stations, as well as water and sanitation services and road networks.

In 2020, the government started development work on the 1,295 feddan-island, which lies in northern Egypt between Cairo and Giza and is reportedly home to 90,000 people, as part of plans to develop dangerous areas and slums, stop encroachments on the banks of the Nile, and end unplanned construction.

The government has bought 888 feddans from island dwellers, accounting for nearly 71 percent of the island’s total area at a cost of EGP 5 billion, the housing minister said in a press conference in August.

He denied reports that Warraq Island had been forcibly evacuated by the government. The owners of farmland on Warraq are offered either compensation to leave their land or alternative farmland elsewhere.

The government is also paying compensation to the owners and tenants of the island’s buildings, the housing minister said, adding that residents are given the option to obtain units in new areas or wait for alternative units in the towers currently being built in the area.

The total amount paid in compensation so far has reached EGP 6 billion, El-Gazzar noted.

In 2018, then-Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered establishing a new urban community in Warraq and providing compensations for residents.

This came a year after clashes erupted between security forces and the island’s residents after the surprise demolition of a number of homes on the island as part of development plans.

This is not the first dispute to arise between residents of Warraq Island and the government.

In 2000, then-prime minister Atef ‎Ebeid issued an order to seize the island for public use.

In 2002, however, a court ruled in favour of the residents after they challenged the prime minister's decision.

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