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press review

ARTICLES

City

New Cities

At the World Population Conference held in Cairo in September, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said that 24 new cities had been built to absorb population growth.

In Al-Borsa, real estate experts believe that the Nile Delta region offers numerous investment opportunities and will become the leading destination for developers within five years, especially in the new coastal cities, particularly New Mansoura and New Damietta.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly spoke about the site of the New Administrative Capital and said that other options had been considered for the government district, including Warraq Island.

Historic Cairo

Destruction of the Imam Shafi’i area (see August 2023 Press Review) was halted early September and signs were removed from tombs that were slated for demolition. Over 300 architects, heritage experts, and public figures signed a petition against demolition. Their request was turned down by the Council of State, which argued that the area “lacked interest“. For its part, UNESCO rejected the government’s request to reduce the area of historic Cairo. The new map excluded the districts of Bulaq, parts of Fustat, and the Imam Shafi’i and Sayyeda Nafisa graveyards. An Al-Monitor article retraces the recent history of the City of the Dead.

Green Spaces

In response to rumors, the Ministry of Agriculture denied that rare trees had been cut down in the Zamalek Aquarium Garden.

Power Cuts

Power cuts continued to dominate the news in September and October. In mid-September, Cairo24 relayed some citizens’ complaints on social media. The complaints continued until the end of October, when power cuts were extended from one to two hours a day, with the exception of hospital areas. In the Nile Delta governorates, citizens complained that power cuts were repeated several times during the day. In Alexandria, in particular, they lasted up to 4 hours a day. At the end of October, the government justified its decision by pointing to rising temperatures and, consequently, higher consumption.

Urban Rhythms

The country changed time late October.

Mobility

Transportation

At the World Population Conference, held in Cairo in early September, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said that almost 10,000 billion EGP had been spent to provide for the infrastructure needs of Egypt’s 100 million inhabitants. A former Minister of Transport added that these were forward-looking investments that would ultimately reduce costs.

Tourism

The new Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza plateau is almost complete. Among the exhibits are Khufu’s boats and 5,000 artifacts from Tutankhamun’s treasure, including 2,000 displayed for the first time. The museum is due to open by the end of 2023. The footbridge linking it to the pyramids will soon be installed.

Cairo’s Coptic Museum building in Cairo has been listed as a historic monument.

The Cairo Citadel’s Sariya al-Gabal mosque was renovated and reopened to the public.

Alexandria’s Greco-Roman Museum reopens after 18 years of restoration. The work cost over EGP 550 million.

Environment

The Cairo Governorate began preparing for the winter period in October and for the management of rainy episodes.

An air quality monitoring station will be installed in Port Said.

 

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban Development

Heritage in Cairo

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi inaugurated the newly renovated Sayyeda Nafissa mosque. The work is part of a project to renovate the holy places of Islam (Ahl al-Bayt) (see April 2022 press review) and, more broadly, historic Cairo. The mosque reopened to the public on August 10. One of the goals is to boost religious tourism in Egypt. However, archaeologists criticized the renovation work, arguing that it denatures the site.

In early August, a fire broke out in the Ministry of Waqfs in downtown Cairo. The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit. Egypt Today documents the firefighters’ actions. The Ministry’s spokesman said no one was injured. The disaster raised questions about the preservation of the Ministry’s documents.

The destruction of tombs in the City of the Dead continues to animate social media. Bulldozers are now working in the Imam Shafi’i area. A beautiful text by Hussein Omar recounts the effect of the destruction of centuries-old tombs on families, and the importance of the City of the Dead in Egypt’s collective memory. In protest, legal action has been initiated, the association of Egyptian architects renewed its call to save the cemeteries, the Historic Cemeteries Evaluation Commission (see July 2023 Press Review) is considering resigning and a new request for parliamentary information has been submitted.

Now it’s the turn of the Darb1718 cultural center, founded in 2008 in Fustat, to be threatened with demolition to make way for a road linking the corniche to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The center’s founder, Moataz Nasr el-Din, lodged a complaint with the Council of State, and several MP, including Maha Abdel Nasser, are mobilizing to prevent the destruction. Other pottery and jewelry workshops in the area are also affected. Bab Masr talks to some of the potters.

As part of the redevelopment of Ramses Square, several heritage buildings, including the Egyptian State Railway, could be demolished.

Green Spaces

In line with the news of recent years, several articles express concern about the destruction of green spaces in Cairo. The latest is the Roxy Garden in Heliopolis, which is meant to be transformed into a commercial space. Part of the garden had already been turned into a parking lot in 2019. Mada Masr looks back at the history of the garden and the mobilization of local residents. A number of associations are working to preserve parks and gardens throughout the country, which are also victims of pollution. For example, a litter-picking campaign took place in Alexandria’s Shalalat Park.

New Administrative Capital

Al-Manassa focuses on the business district of the New Administrative Capital. The district was financed by a $3 billion loan from China. The foundation stone for the towers was laid in 2018, but the project has fallen behind schedule, not least because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the government, 13 private players have bought land to build skyscrapers.

 

Electricity power cuts

The news of August continues to be marked by power cuts (see July 2023 Press Review). The government has implemented an electricity management and rationalization plan. This plan includes a schedule of power cuts that only concerns residential buildings. Hospitals, service facilities and tourist areas are spared. Schedules by governorate are available on the government website. Citizens have been warned of the risk of fire, and asked to turn off their meters whenever the power is cut. Government employees who are not in direct contact with the public will have to work from home, and the private sector is invited to do likewise. From the second week of August, government employees began teleworking. Air conditioning will be limited to 25°C in public buildings. Illuminated billboards and commercial signs will be restricted. The government has made it clear that the blackouts have nothing to do with natural gas production, shifting the blame to climate change and rising temperatures. Nevertheless, Al-Manassa shows that this year’s temperatures remain within the average of the last four years and therefore cannot be blamed for the power cuts. The cuts and the rationalization plan could continue until September, or even mid-October. The power-cuts are having an impact on economic players. A member of parliament has called for the industrial town of Mahalla al-Kubra to be excluded from the rationalization plan, and fertilizer factories have also complained. The government quickly lifted the rationalization measures for these factories. In this context, the government also decided to postpone the rate increase to January 2024.

Others

Cairo’s governor revealed a development plan for Maadi, including Street 9, which he hopes to develop on the model of Mamsha Ahl Masr.

While the Egyptian Central Bank has raised interest rates, the real estate sector seems to be doing rather well, according to Al-Ahram Online.

The Ministry of Waqfs announced that 1,700 devices will soon be installed to broadcast a unified call to prayer (see November 2022 press review).

Transport

Metro

A financing agreement has been signed with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for the conversion of the Abu Qir railway line into an electric metro in Alexandria (see February 2023 Press Review). 100 million EGP were paid to compensate for the expropriations required for the project.

Egypt has obtained a loan of 64 million euros from two South Korean banks for the extension of line 3 of the Cairo metro.

Trains

Online reservations are once again possible on the Egyptian National Railway website. Tickets can also be purchased at Fawry agencies.

Al-Manassa reveals that the Egyptian National Railway will spend 1 billion Egyptian pounds building cement walls along the railroad tracks to prevent fraud. Within three years, 800 km of walls will be built.

Others

 The land on either side of Cairo’s Ring Road is offered in usufruct to the private sector for a period of 20 years.

 Al-Manassa looks at the financing of transport infrastructure in Egypt and how it is being affected by the current economic crisis.

Tourism

Alexandria’s Greco-Roman Museum prepares for reopening.

Voices are rising against the footbridge that will link the Grand Museum to the Pyramids plateau, pointing out that it could damage and denature the ancient site.

In August, the Mango Festival was held for the second time in Ismailia. Photos are available on the Al-Ahram Online website.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is installing solar panels at several sites, including the Palace of Mohamed Ali in Manial, Cairo, the visitors’ center at the Pyramids of Giza, the Museum of Royal Jewels and the National Museum of Alexandria.

While the Christian festivities of August 15 are in full swing in Asyut, a huge statue of the Virgin Mary has been installed in the Virgin Mary Monastery in Dronka. The 9-metre-high statue stands on a 15-metre-high pedestal. It is one of the country’s religious tourism assets, being part of the recently UNESCO-listed Path of the Holy Family (see December 2022 press review) has been a major attraction for several months now.

Urban Development

Heritage in Historic Cairo

The head of the Civilization Development Fund (صندوق التنمية الحضارية) announced that 100 billion EGP would be invested in renovating historic Cairo.

The Information Committee on the situation of Cairo’s historic cemeteries has yet to present its findings. Meanwhile, demolition work continues. A MP also expressed concern about the transformation of the Sultan Qaibtay mausoleum into a landfill site.

Giza Zoo

Giza Zoo closed for 18 months from Eid al-Adha on. Measures are taken to protect animals. Some of them will be relocated for the duration of the work. The government denies having razed ancient trees in the zoo as part of the renovation work. Once the work is completed, the price of the entrance ticket is expected to rise to 25 or 30 EGP.

New Administrative Capital

Al Manassa questions the feasibility of the New Administrative Capital. The government denied rumors that it lacked the financial resources to transfer all its employees to the New Administrative Capital. The president’s spokesman announced that 100 government agencies and 40,000 employees were already relocated.

 

Electricity Power Cuts

July was marked by power cuts across the country. The Minister of Electricity was reassuring, claiming that this was a temporary problem. He asked citizens to reduce their consumption, notably by cutting down on the use of air conditioning and fans in spite of the heat wave. He also urged people not to take elevators at the beginning and end of each hour. The reduction in electricity production is said to be linked to a drop in natural gas production. The government, however, denied any technical issues at the Zohr gas field, blaming inadequate infrastructure for the heat wave. Some blamed the switch to daylight saving time (see April 2023 Press Review), which may have saved electricity but caused overconsumption due to air conditioners. The argument was rejected by the Chairman of the Board of the Central Delta Electricity Production Company. To ease energy pressure, among a series of measures, the government announced that government employees would work from home throughout August.

Building Collapses

After the collapse of a new building in Alexandria’s Sidi Bishr district, which left 10 people dead and 4 injured, a MP asked for more information on the situation in the city. Collapses are commonplace in Alexandria, where a building collapsed in the Gomrok district early July, killing one person, and another on July 15, leaving two dead and three injured. Alexandria is not the only city to be concerned: 13 people died in Cairo when a building collapsed in Hadaeq El-Qubbah district. An investigation was launched and the Minister of Social Solidarity announced a compensation of EGP 60,000 for all families who lost a loved one. A building also collapsed in Rosetta this month. A MP from Beheira demanded that removal and demolition orders for buildings deemed unsafe be applied more systematically.

Others

19 people were acquitted in the Warraq Island case. They had been arrested after protests against eviction campaigns carried out on the island to make way for development projects (see Summer 2022 press review).

Transport

The Bashtil station in Giza is due to open in the next couple months (see November 2022 Press Review). The Minister of Transport explained that the station was needed because of population growth, which is saturating the Ramses station.

Ticket prices for first- and second-class air-conditioned trains rose by 12.5%, but the Minister of Transport guaranteed that there would be no further price increases.

A butcher installed a hook on one of the pillars of the monorail in Medinat Nasr to hang meat; photos of the informal shop spread on social media, after which the butcher was arrested and his business closed.

Tourism

The Hilton Group and Egypt’s City Edge Developments signed an agreement to manage hotels in Cairo’s Maspero Triangle and Magra el-Uyun. The first is due to open in Magra el-Uyun in 2026 with 28 rooms, while the second in Maspero will offer 260 rooms and is slated to open in 2028. Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly sees this as a sign of the state’s success in renovating informal areas. This is part of the government’s plan to cede some of its prerogatives to the private sector.

The new Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza is scheduled to open between October and February next year. Orascom announced that it had completed 90% of the development work on the Pyramids plateau.

Work is underway to expand St. Catherine’s airport to increase the site’s tourist capacity.

The New Al-Alamein City Festival takes place from July 13 to August 26. The event is expected to attract nearly a million people. Pop stars such as Tamer Hosni, Nancy Agram, Cairokee, and Wegz are scheduled to perform.

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban Development

New Administrative Capital

The Ministry of Manpower is now called the Ministry of Labor. It has announced its complete move to the New Administrative Capital.

The Council of Ministers asked ministries to introduce financial incentives to encourage government employees to move to the New Administrative Capital. The housing allowance is EGP 4,000 for first-class employees and EGP 5,000 for directors. Discounts are also available for the purchase of villas.

Alexandria

The Prime Minister toured works in progress in Alexandria. He visited a project to widen the corniche from 6 to 10 lanes. He also toured the rainwater management system. The Governor of Alexandria pointed out that flooding was partly due to climate change.

Cairo cemeteries

The issue of cemeteries has reached the National Dialogue, which issued a positive opinion on President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi’s wish to transfer well-known tombs from the Imam al-Shafi‘i and Sayyeda Nafissa cemeteries to the New Administrative Capital. The President spoke of a committee headed by the Prime Minister to create a Cemetery of the Immortals, a decision approved by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. This cemetery would contain the tombs of the state’s leading figures, as well as a museum on historic cemeteries. The Arab Council of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists met in early June to discuss Cairo’s historic cemeteries. The Board also reviewed the President’s proposal and pointed out that only 20% of cemeteries were registered as antiquities.

On June 24, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly visited Cairo’s historic cemeteries. At a press conference, he confirmed the desire to relocate some of the tombs to the Cemetery of the Immortals. He explained that the transfer of certain tombs was necessary due to the insalubrity of the site, where the water table is at its highest. He compared the rescue of the tombs to that of the Nubian temples during the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

The Museum of Islamic Art received 18 artifacts rescued from destruction in the Sayyeda Aisha and Imam al-Shafi’i area.

Al-Ahram Online looks at the history of these cemeteries, the practices associated with them, and recent developments.

Magra el-Uyun District, Cairo

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly follows the progress of the Magra el-Uyun district. The first phase of the project includes 79 residential buildings and a 51,000 m2 shopping center. 2,000 families were relocated to Badr since work started. The New Urban Communities Authorities, in charge of new cities and new developments in the country, says new construction in the project will sell for EGP 10,000 per m2.

Other

CAPMAS announced that Egypt’s population reached 105 million on June 3, 2023, an additional million in eight months.

Transport

While inaugurating Haya Karima projects in the village of Al-Abadia in Beheira, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi reiterated the importance of road projects in the country. He praised the work of Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly. The budget allocated to new road in 2018, 2019 and 2020 would amount to EGP 14 billion, EGP 26 billion and EGP 28 billion respectively. The number of bridges would have risen from 208 to 1,848 between 2013 and 2020, an increase of 790%. The President pointed out that this infrastructure is designed to avoid traffic jams and make life easier for citizens.

A few months in (see October 2022 press review), most of the self-service bike terminals have deteriorated and the shared bikes have disappeared from the capital. The Cairo Governorate has entrusted the rehabilitation of the Cairo Bike network to a new operator.

A project to renovate Cairo’s Ramses railway station and its surroundings is currently underway. The aim is to improve traffic flow.

Sleeper train fares are rising this month for Egyptians and people from other Arab countries. Cairo24 details the prices.

Environment

Climate

The month of June was marked by a number of sandstorms. Al-Ahram Online looks back at the June 1 storm in pictures. A billboard collapsed during the storm on the October 6 bridge.  One person died and two others were injured. After the incident, the authorities advised residents to stay indoors. Members of parliament requested information on the safety of billboards, and are calling for a review of installation licenses.

The Alexandria authorities are working on a rainwater management strategy in anticipation of the winter season and potential flooding.

Other

Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad was in Paris to negotiate an international treaty against plastic pollution. A waste collection campaign took place in Alexandria, on Saraya beach.

Sharm el-Sheikh won the “Best Sustainable Tourist City” award from the Arab Union for Tourism Media.

Al-Ahram Online presents the Tree Lovers association, which is calling for the protection of the trees of Maadi in Cairo.

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban Development

New Administrative Capital

 

The transfer of government departments and agencies continues, bringing their number to fourteen. This is the case for the Ministry of Local Development and 600 of its employees. President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi emphasizes that this is also a way to modernize the state apparatus. The second phase of the transfer began in mid-May. The government district covers 1.5 million square meters. It will house 34 ministries, the Senate and the House of Representatives. An article in Al-Shorouk presents the People’s Square. The government is due to start working on it full-time from June 15. Eventually, some 50,000 employees will work there.

Mada Masr reports, however, that employees complain about spending 4 hours in transportation and not really working until the ministries are fully installed. A transportation allowance has been put in place. The article reviews the commuting strategies of government employees.

Once completed, the city should be home to between 8 and 10 million inhabitants.

 

Gardens of Cairo

A committee was formed to identify the architectural heritage of the Giza Zoo and Orman Garden in order to preserve it, following fears expressed at the beginning of winter (see January 2023 Press Review). As for the Giza Zoo, an inventory of animals, plants and furniture is underway. The zoo should continue to welcome visitors until Eid al-Adha before closing its doors. MP Maha Abdel Nasser requested more information on the impact of the work.

The 90th edition of the Spring Flowers Festival is held this year at the Museum of Agriculture in Doqqi, instead of the Orman Garden under renovation. The festival starts on May 13 and lasts for a month.

 

Cairo cemeteries

The City of the Dead is once again an object of a controversy on social media (see April 2023 Press Review). The rumored demolition of the tomb of Sheikh Muhammad Rifaat to make way for the Salah Salem axis caused a scandal. The Cairo Governorate, however, denied the rumor.

An article in Al Manassa reports that 44 tombs have already been demolished, and that hundreds are at risk, particularly in the Sayyeda Nafissa and Imam Shafi’i areas. Images are circulating on social media. The government denied this information. The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, supported by a number of heritage researchers, filed a complaint with the Administrative Court of the Council of State to halt demolition work in the cemeteries. The Socialist People’s Alliance party (حزب التحالف الشعبي الاشتراكي) condemned the destruction of the graves and called for social dialogue on the issue.

 

Urban Rhythms

With the time change (see April 2023 Press Review), shops and malls now open at 7 am and close at 11 pm, midnight on Thursday and Friday nights. Cafes and restaurants are not affected. The time change is expected to save the state $25 million.

 

Others

The Maspero Triangle is in the news again: relocated residents had to start making payments in April, even though they have not yet received their homes.

In a move to rationalize spending to focus on existing projects (see January 2023 Press Review), the Urban Communities Authority is postponing two tower projects in New Al-Alamein.

The Minister of Housing and UN-Habitat are preparing to host the World Urban Forum in 2024 (see February 2023 Press Review). The Minister emphasizes that it will be an opportunity to present the Egyptian urban experience. Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly says Egypt’s hosting of COP27 (see November 2022 Press Review) is proof of its ability to host other major international events. The Forum will be held on the African continent for the first time in over 20 years.

 

Transport

MPs are interested in transportation issues in Alexandria, including the development of train stations, entrances and exits to the city and the construction of highway bridges.

Despite the economic crisis, the Minister of Transportation is committed to not increasing the price of public transportation. He points out that 10 million people use public transportation every day.

 

Tourism

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities has announced that he wants to increase the budget dedicated to the development of the 40 museums and some 2,000 archaeological sites in the country.

The new Great Egyptian Museum is expected to open no later than November 2023 in Giza and will house more than 50,000 artifacts. Half of the main works are already installed. Its construction, which began in 2003, will have cost 1.03 billion dollars, financed in part by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The archaeological museum of the Saffron Palace at Ain Shams University has just opened. The Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria should reopen in June.

The U.S. development agency, USAID, announces $1.5 million in funding to protect cultural heritage and promote tourism in Luxor and Sohag. This second phase brings the total investment to $4.15 million.

The city of Nuweiba has opened a large tourist market.

 

Environment

The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation gave an update on the coastal protection projects in Alexandria, particularly concerning the Qaitbey Citadel. He stressed the effectiveness of these projects in combating the effects of climate change.

The Environment Minister points out that the presence of 3,400 plastic bag factories in Egypt makes it difficult to combat their use, which is crucial to her Ministry’s policy. For example, the Ministry launched a two-day training program for waste workers in the governorate of Menoufeyya.

 

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban Development

Non-regulatory neighborhoods

The State Land Recovery Committee has announced the 21st round of demolitions across the country to address the problem of informal settlements. It also announced an intensification of the controls on unregistered constructions. Members of parliament point out that the action of the State on this matter has seen an unprecedented surge since President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi came to power, highlighting some success stories such as the Asmarat district.

The fight against non-regulatory neighborhoods continues in Alexandria. It is partly justified by the risk of collapse of many buildings in the Mediterranean city. Parliamentarians have called for an investigation into the recurring issue of building collapses that affect both Alexandria and Cairo (see June 2022 Press Review).

Conservation of Cairo’s Heritage

The Cairo Administrative Court has ruled that the Champollion Palace in the heart of Downtown should be preserved and made available to the public as an archaeological and tourist site. This decision follows a complaint against several ministries and the Cairo Governorate for negligence. This palace dates from the nineteenth century and would have belonged to one of the grandsons of Muhammad Ali.

Photos of the tomb of Taha Hussein located in the City of the Dead in Cairo have circulated on social networks, denouncing the construction of an overpass bridge just above it. The Yasser Rizk axis should connect the Moqqatam to Salah Salem Road. The newspaper Al-Shorouk said that the tomb was not damaged, the pylon being located right behind it. Last autumn, fears had already been expressed about the potential demolition of the tomb (see October 2022 Press Review).

Tahrir Square

After the Mogamma (see Summer 2022 Press Review) and the Ministry of Interior (see March 2023 Press Review), it is now the turn of the former National Democratic Party’s land, located in Tahrir Square, to be coveted. The Saudi Egyptian Development Company and the Emirati company Al-Shaafar Contracting Company have made a joint bid to develop the land after the Egyptian Sovereign Wealth Fund announced its opening to investors.

New Administrative Capital

The Ministry of Housing announced the launch of the second phase of construction of housing for employees of the New Administrative Capital in Badr City.

The Ministry of Environment has started to work from the New Administrative Capital.

Urban Rhythms

The return of daylight-saving time has been debated in the Egyptian parliament. While one parliamentarian opposes the switch to daylight saving time, pointing to health risks, another points to savings of nearly $150 million per year reducing national electricity consumption by 1%. The new schedules apply from the last Friday of April on. The law (34/2023) was officially published in the Official Journal on April 17. Daylight-saving time was last in effect in 2015. An article in Al-Ahram Online looks back at the alternation of these measures since the 1950s.

A Month of Celebrations

As every year, a large iftar table was held in the Matareyya neighborhood in northeast Cairo: more than 3,000 people gathered in Ezbet Hamada Street. Many photos have circulated in the press and on social networks.

Ramadan is also a time of cultural production with the broadcasting of numerous TV series (see March 2023 Press Review), with a new dynamic: the proliferation of mini-series. This trend was accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which imposed new shooting rhythms. This year, 30 mini-series were aired for Ramadan.

On the occasion of the Eid el-Fitr holidays, public sector employees are on vacation from April 20-25. An article in Al-Ahram Online takes a look at the celebrations in the streets of Cairo. Eid is the occasion for various outings, notably to the cinema, or to the zoo, like the Alexandria’s Zoo which welcomed 9,000 visitors in one day.

For Christians, the month of April was marked by Palm Sunday and then by the Holly Week, culminating with Easter celebrations.

Others

The issue of panhandling is discussed in the Senate.

A lawsuit has been filed in Port Said against the development project announced in place of the governorate museum (see March 2023 Press Review). A petition has also been launched.

After three years of closure, Nakheel Beach in Alexandria is being auctioned off for a period of three years.

Transport

The route of the second high-speed line has just been revealed. Trains running at 250 km/h will connect Six of October to Abu Simbel, serving all the governorate capitals of Upper Egypt. A third line will connect Qena to Hurghada.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ratified an agreement with the French Development Agency to finance the Abu Qir metro in Alexandria for 250 million euros (see February 2023 Press Review).

Tourism

The Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities and Transport are seeking to increase the tourism capacity of the Egyptian coastline. The aim is to improve the reception of cruise ships in the ports and to promote yacht tourism (see September 2022 Press Review).

The Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo will make audio guides available to the public.

Environment

The Ministry of Environment is launching eight projects to generate electricity from waste in eight different governorates. Discussions are underway with the private sector to implement them. For example, with Renergy Group Partners in Giza governorate.

 

 

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban Development

Demolitions et reconstructions

Demolitions of unregulated neighborhoods continue in the capital, including Ezbet Abu Qarn in Old Cairo where 15 buildings were demolished, and Mansheyyat Nasr where 185 buildings were destroyed.

At the same time, alternative housing is being built in October Garden City for the inhabitants of Warraq Island.

The Ministry of Housing is requesting the acceleration of the work in the Maspero Triangle so housing be delivered on time.

A member of Parliament warns about the spread of rubble and construction waste in the streets and its impact on the environment and public health. He points out that 50 million tons of waste have accumulated in Egypt and that 5 million tons are added to it every year. Construction and demolition waste would represent 44% of the total, in particular concrete (40 to 50%), wood (30%), and stones (20%).

Development of Fustat

The Ministry of Housing announced the completion of the restoration of the Amr Ibn el-As Mosque in Fustat. The mosque covers 28,500 m2, including 13,200 m2 of prayer rooms. This project is part of a larger dynamic. Since 2014, the state has begun renovating 10,000 mosques in the country at a cost of 10 billion EGP. An article in El-Watan looks back at the main achievements.

In the same area, work has begun on the development of Fustat Park.

Ministry of the Interior

Egypt’s sovereign wealth fund has signed an agreement to transform the former Ministry of the Interior buildings – a complex of 7 buildings covering nearly 40,000 m2 – into a mixed-use complex including a luxury hotel, offices, and shops. The investments would amount to 800 million EGP and the first phase of the works should be completed by the end of 2023. The company A-Developments, which is in charge of the works, has obtained a 25-year lease on the buildings. This project comes a few months after the announcement of a similar project concerning the Mugamma, on Tahrir Square, and is part of the desire to revitalize the city center. In the coming years, the capital should have 4 new luxury hotels.

New Administrative Capital

A BBC Arabic article reports on the arrival of thousands of employees in the New Administrative Capital from March 1st, and more than 20 buildings have already been handed over to government institutions.

The government wants to encourage investors to integrate sustainable development in their projects, highlighting the role of model of the New Capital. It is also a strategy to make it more attractive, in addition to the intervention of renowned international architects.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi inaugurated the Islamic Cultural Center of Egypt. The president’s wife said on social networks that it would be “a window for knowledge and enlightened religious discourse”.

Development at the Margins

In late February, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi monitored the progress of development projects in Sinai. His speech is available on Al-Shorouk newspaper: he stressed that the cost of development in the region, which has been hampered by terrorism, amounts to $ 40 or 50 billion. The Prime Minister said that 25 sanitation projects were underway for 4 billion EGP and that 4 new cities were planned to accommodate 1.5 million people. Other projects include the expansion of the port of Al-Arish and a thousand new homes.

The President also went to the governorate of Minya to visit other development projects, including a housing project. He said in his speech that the government was not forgetting the people of Upper Egypt and rural areas. The Prime Minister said that the state has invested up to 143 billion EGP in the Governorate to improve the standard of living. The focus was on education and the rehabilitation of unregulated areas.

Urban Rhythms

The government has approved the return of daylight-saving time in an attempt to save electricity. From the last Friday in April to the last Thursday in October, the country will move forward one hour.

The month of Ramadan began on March 23. An article by Al Ahram Online details the most anticipated Egyptian series of the month. Despite the economic crisis impacting the ordinary practices of this month of celebrations, charity tables, banned during the pandemic, have flourished throughout the city.

Others

A new law on the possession of animals and dangerous dogs is under discussion in Parliament. It includes the provision of dog parks in Egyptian cities.
The Ministry of Housing has auctioned off a number of commercial premises in the tourist center of New Al-Alamein Marina.

Transport

A fourth Talgo train line (see January 2023 Press Review) begins daily service between Cairo and Aswan.

The Ministry of Transport announced a public bid to lease the Turguman shopping mall, associated with the bus station, for a period of 20 years.

Despite the increase in fuel prices, the Ministry of Transport has guaranteed that the price of public transport would not increase.

Tourism and Museums

The restoration of the Imhotep Museum in Saqqara is about to be completed.

The Governorate of Port Said has offered the land originally allocated for the construction of the National Museum of the Governorate to an investor, the Maxim Investment Company, which owns the Kempinski Hotels, in a partnership between the Governorate, the Suez Canal Authority, and the real estate company. Several projects are envisaged, including the renovation of the dome and its transformation into a hotel, the development of a yacht harbor — the Port Said International Marina — and a residential, recreational, and hotel complex: the Maxim Canal Residence. An article by Mada Masr retraces the history of the museum, which was planned in 1963, built in 1986, and demolished in 2010.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities has announced an increase in the rates of some archaeological sites from December 2023.

Environment

The World Bank, through the Global Environment Facility, has approved a new $9.13 million allocation to combat air pollution in Greater Cairo. This is part of a larger allocation of $200 million in 2020.

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban Development

Development of the city center

The Higher Council for Urban Planning, composed of the Ministers of Defense, Culture, Tourism, Local Development, Environment and Planning, decided to redevelop several areas of the city center: the Corniche on the Nile in Shubra and Maadi, Ramses Square, and Dar al-Salam. Some people are concerned that this form of urban renewal will lead to the relocation of the poorest inhabitants and the deterioration of buildings with high architectural value. The monorail project, mentioned in the statement on the Facebook page of the Council of Ministers, raises concerns of further housing destruction, in line with what has been done in recent years.

The Council also approved the Egyptian sovereign wealth fund’s request to turn the Mogamma in Tahrir Square into a 450-rooms hotel complex (see Summer 2022 Press Review) which should be called “Cairo House.” The project is estimated at $200 million. The former Ministry of the Interior building should become an “integrated services complex.” The governor of Cairo emphasizes unprecedented efforts to revive Khedival Cairo while members of Parliament denounce a return of street vendors to Wast el-Balad.

Several renovated architectural monuments were inaugurated in the Al-Khalifa district of Cairo. In addition, a new tourist path with a unified entrance ticket for 12 monuments (60 EGP for Egyptians and 120 for foreigners) is being developed in Darb el-Ahmar.

Green spaces

New green spaces are under threat in Cairo. A 7,000 m2 portion of the Medinat Nasr International Park is to be auctioned off to allow for its development by the private sector (another 7,000 m2 was sold to the private sector a few months ago). These portions are in the corners of the park and, according to the development plan, they should host cafes and restaurants. The International Park is the largest garden in the Cairo Governorate, with an area of 55 feddans. An Mada Masr article retraces the history of the garden and of green space management in Cairo.

New Administrative Capital

60% of the first phase of the New Administrative Capital is reportedly completed. President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi emphasized that the New Administrative Capital is part of a project to build 24 smart new cities. The government’s goal is to urbanize 12% of the country’s surface area within the next 10 years, in a context of population growth and of high housing demand. The President explained that 800,000 young people get married every year, which creates an annual need for 600,000 homes. The governor of Cairo announced that the city had exceeded 25 million inhabitants.

The Ministry of Housing seeks to attract large international companies to the New Administrative Capital. To this end, NAC’s CBD is expected to include about 20 towers.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly granted financial incentives to employees who will work in the New Administrative Capital. He also asked the Ministry of Transport to inform these employees of transit options to their new workplace. Fourteen departments, including the Ministry of Transport, are set to be transferred by March 1st.

Others

As part of its development (see the September 2022 Press Review), clearing operations took place on the Moqqatam “corniche.” Street vendors and informal cafes were asked to leave. Despite the protests, a 3-meter-high concrete wall was built along the corniche, depriving the cafes of their city view. The project is expected to last five years and threatens around 500 jobs. An article in Al Manassa discusses fears that the area will be privatized and exclude the working class.

New protests took place on Warraq Island after three residents were arrested (see the Summer 2022 Press Review).

Egypt will host the 12th edition of the World Urban Forum (WUF) organized by the United Nations in 2024.

Transport

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi points out that the development of the transport sector costs 2 trillion EGP.

Railways

The Minister of Transport visited the construction site of the New Administrative Capital station. With an area of over 1.1 million m2, it will be one of the largest in the Middle East. It will also house a shopping mall of over 70,000 m2. In Cairo, he visited the construction site of the Upper Egypt Station, a project that covers more than 239,000 m2 and is expected to accommodate 250,000 passengers per day.

The Talgo luxury train (see the January 2023 Press Review) made its first trip from Cairo to Luxor, serving Giza, Asyut, Sohag, and Qena. The 10 hours trip costs between 400 and 600 EGP. Several other lines are projected, including the Cairo-Alexandria line, which is expected to be operational in December 2023.
The 660-kilometer Ain Suhkha-New Al-Alamein-Matrouh electric high-speed train line is expected to create 15,000 to 18,000 jobs.

Metro

 The Council of Ministers approved a 1.8 million Euro EU grant for the rehabilitation of Cairo’s second metro line. The House of Representatives approved an agreement with France to finance the Abu Qir metro line in Alexandria.

The Minister of Transport, who told the public that the price of metro tickets would not increase, later announced that the price of the ticket would be raised from 10 to 12 EGP for trips of more than 25 stations.

Others

After the Minister of Transport presented his report to Parliament, a parliamentarian pointed out that Egypt is one of the countries with the highest number of road accidents in the world (see the May 2022 Press Review).

Tourism and cultural life

A residential area dating back to Roman times was discovered after the destruction of the Andraos Palace in Luxor (see the Summer 2021 Press Review).

The twelfth edition of the Luxor African Film Festival was held early February and featured 50 films from 31 countries.

The government denied rumors that the Tahrir Square Egyptian Museum would close after the opening of the New Grand Museum. The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities said that the Grand Museum is actually in full development. Guided tours are already possible in the New Museum in Giza, even though the collections are not yet visible.

Environment

Combating pollution

Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad held talks with World Bank officials about the implementation of the Greater Cairo Air Pollution Management Project. Egypt did secure a $200 million loan (see the September 2021 Press Review).

The Ministry of Local Development reported on a new municipal solid waste treatment system. In particular, new facilities were implemented in Menoufeyya.

Planting trees

The Ministry of Local Development announced the planting of 4,347,000 trees at 9,900 sites throughout the country. Port Said received 70,000 trees and Damanhour 130,000. 200 trees were also planted in the Montazah Park in Alexandria as part of the Get Green initiative (اتحضر للأخضر).

 

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban renewal

Non-regulatory neighborhoods and urban renewal

The Ministry of Social Solidarity is setting up a program for residents of non-regulated neighborhoods. The objective is to ensure their social protection and promote their “  economic empowerment ”. A first phase concerns four alternative housing neighborhoods located in Cairo in the neighborhoods of Maan, Mahrousa, 15 de Mai and Khayala.

Furthermore, the Minister of Housing is following the urban renovation of the Magra el-Uyun district . The latter will include 1,924 housing units as well as a shopping center with restaurants and cinemas.

The governor of Alexandria announced that the renovation of six informal settlements was almost 95% complete. The works include the installation of waste and wastewater treatment infrastructure, public lighting, and the construction of new roads. These services will serve some 500,000 people.

According to Mada Masr , residents of the Maspero triangle complain about the housing they have received. Although they had signed for apartments of 102 m2 , those given to them were only 95 m2 . Two months late, the apartments were allocated during a public lottery at the end of December 2022. The Urban Communities Authority explains that the error came from the private company in charge of the construction of the residential towers.

 

Parks and walks

The Giza Zoo is closing its doors as part of major rehabilitation work carried out by the National Military Production Company for Projects, Engineering Consultations and General Supplies. The objective is to restore the zoo, the oldest in Africa and the third oldest in the world, to its former glory. The work will last a maximum of 18 months and will allow the zoo to meet international standards . The company affirmed that no trees will be cut down and that although the price of entry will increase, it will remain accessible. Nearby, the Orman botanical garden is also under construction. A footbridge project to connect the two gardens is under discussion. A tripartite alliance comprising two Egyptian companies and an Emirati company obtained usufruct of the two gardens from the Ministry of Agriculture for 25 years (see Press review of November 2022 ). Two obstacles, however, delayed the final signing of the contract, which took place at the end of January according to Mada Masr  : the reluctance of the National Authority for Urban Harmony (جهاز القومي للتنسيق الحضاري) which sets the rules in terms of development architectural parks and the announced price of the entrance ticket (between 20 and 50 Egyptian pounds). Following certain rumors , the ministry clarified that it is not in its plans to sell the two parks to a foreign company. Some of them will, however, be involved in the project in order to share their expertise . In a context of economic crisis, the announcement of the zoo’s development plan sparked a certain amount of criticism . This project, which could cost a billion Egyptian pounds , goes against the austerity policy pursued by the government.

The Ministry of Housing signed an agreement for the implementation of the 2nd phase of Mamsha Ahl Masr . The ministry representative stressed the importance of partnerships with the private sector to carry out this type of project. He also returned to the reasons which pushed the government to make access to the promenade chargeable (see Press review of summer 2022 ). He mentioned an excessive influx of visitors which exceeded the site’s capacity. The upper part, on the side of the road, remains accessible without security checks and free of charge. A detailed article by Mada Masr  analyzes the army’s investment in the management of the banks of the Nile. The river is, however, at the heart of popular practices, notably felucca rides, as described in an article in Orient XXI .

 

Heritage

A collective called on President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to intervene to protect Cairo’s historic cemeteries. An article by Darb cites several passages from the petition. MP Maha Abdel Nasser, for her part, requested a report on the ongoing damage, recalling that Cairo is a historic city listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Certain neighborhoods, notably that of Sayyeda Nafissa , which celebrated its mawlid at the end of December, would be threatened.

In Old Cairo, a 130-year-old house was destroyed to allow the development of the “Fustat Hills” park (see Press review of June 2021 ). The owners of the Shata house were trying to have it recognized as an antique.

 

Development of Upper Egypt

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attended the inauguration of a number of projects in Sohag governorate . This was an opportunity for him to reiterate the state’s commitment to Upper Egypt, ensuring that citizens of the south of the country were not left out of development programs. He explained that these take a long time to implement because they would require investment sums which the State does not have. He clarified that the construction of new residential and industrial zones would not be done at the expense of agricultural land . The Prime Minister also recalled that 1,500 billion Egyptian pounds have been invested in Upper Egypt over the past eight years.

 

What about projects in the context of an economic crisis?

Due to the economic crisis, the increase in public debt and the lack of foreign currency, the Prime Minister announced the suspension of some major national projects in order to limit public spending, in particular those which require dollars. Projects carried out by the Ministries of Health, Defense, Interior and Foreign Affairs are not affected . This comes a few months after parliamentarians called for a halt to megaprojects in the short term (see Press review of May 2022 ). However, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi stressed that these projects had scientific and not political justifications and that, if they had been implemented only now, their cost would have increased fivefold .

In this context, several voices have questioned the funds allocated in recent years to the construction of new mosques , nearly 10,000 since 2013, while the country needs other services, particularly in terms of health and education. . The President, however, encouraged the construction of mosques throughout the country to spread a fair vision of Islam. In 2020, Egypt had nearly 140,000 mosques according to the Ministry of Waqfs.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi also defended the New Administrative Capital project , stressing that it was essential to remedy Cairo’s demographic explosion. He also ordered that the number of hospitals be increased . In addition, a new 55-story tower designed by architect Adrian Smith, to whom we owe the Burj Khalifa, is planned to be built there. Presented at the Davos forum, it will be the first Forbes tower in the world. The Senate approved a project for a cemetery for famous people (مقبرة للعظماء). One of the senators made the parallel with the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and with other places in the world such as the Pantheon in Paris. He stressed that this would partly resolve the issue of historic tombs in the capital (see Press review of September 2022 ). The cemetery is planned to become both a memorial and a tourist attraction .

 

Transportation

Rail transport

In a gloomy economic context, the Ministry of Transport announced that foreigners would now have to pay their train tickets in euros or dollars .

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi signed the decree approving the loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) of 95 million euros to develop a railway between Tanta, Mansoura and Damietta (see Press review of October 2022 ). In addition, the German Development Bank and SACE (the Italian Export Credit Agency) are providing financing of 500 million euros for the construction of the Ain Sukhna-New Al Alamein line .

new luxury train , the Talgo, has just been inaugurated. It will operate on the Cairo-Alexandria line.

 

Suez Canal

 At the beginning of January, the Suez Canal found itself at the heart of the news. The House of Representatives was to vote on the creation of the Suez Canal Authority Fund. The objective for the State is to separate ownership and management of the Canal . The second should be taken care of by foreign companies. The fund should give a more official legal framework to foreign investments already underway. Several points are under debate: first of all, the transfer of decision-making power from the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) to the fund’s directors. Furthermore, some are concerned about seeing revenues from the Canal, one of the main sources of foreign currency in Egypt, around $7 billion annually, diverted from the state budget for the creation of this new fund. The operation sparked a wave of protest and concern about a potential loss of sovereignty. Before retracting, some parliamentarians expressed their fear that the fund was only a first step towards the sale of the Canal.

 

Others

The Ministry of Transport is seeking to rehabilitate line 1 of the Cairo metro at a cost of 750 million euros. Three international companies are in the running to win the call for tender: the French Alstom and Colas Rail, as well as the German Siemens.

The New Urban Communities Authority is making new efforts as part of the 2023 action plan for sustainable transport .


Tourism and cultural life

On the occasion of Coptic Christmas, Zahi Hawass describes in an article in Al-Ahram Online the sites that make up the path of the Holy Family in Egypt. The latter has just been listed as a UNESCO intangible world heritage site (see Press review of December 2022 ).

In Minya, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is preparing the inauguration of the Aten Museum which should open within a few weeks. It will be dedicated to the pharaohs of the 18th dynasty , notably Akhenaten. Work began in 2002, but was paused between 2011 and 2015.

For its part, the Grand Egyptian Museum of Giza is said to be 100% complete. Entrance prices have just been announced: 60 and 200 Egyptian pounds respectively for Egyptians and foreigners. The inauguration should take place during 2023.

From January 24 to February 6 , 2023, Cairo will host its 54th international book fair . A thousand publishing houses should be present. However, the 5% increase in stand rental prices prevented some exhibitors from participating this year. Thus, the price per m2 is 1,260 Egyptian pounds and the stands have a minimum surface area of ​​9 m2 for Egyptians and 18 m2 for foreigners. In addition, the economic crisis also affects the book sector . Publishers expect the prices of books presented at the fair to increase by 40% compared to last year, in particular because of high paper manufacturing costs.

AFP writes an article on the place of women on the Egyptian music scene and more particularly on women DJs in Cairo .

 

Environment

In late December, heavy rains caused flooding in Alexandria . They are also common in New Cairo, cutting off traffic and causing significant damage. An article from Egyptian Streets looks at two major causes of these floods: climate change and the unsuitability of rainwater drainage networks.

More than 3 million trees have been planted across the country over the last six months as part of the “100 million trees” initiative (see Press review of October 2022 ).

Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad attended the signing of a $3.5 million project document between the Environmental Affairs Agency and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to supporting the circular economy of single-use plastic in Egypt. Companies that increase their recycling rates will be rewarded with green certification .

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban renewal

 

Inauguration of new projects

At the beginning of December, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi inaugurated New Mansoura and its university. The new town stretches for 15 kilometers on the coast between Damietta and Baltim. New Mansoura is presented as a new engine of economic and tourist development and takes place in the narrative around the “  New Republic  ”. On this occasion, the President announced that the government was seeking to establish seawater desalination plants in all coastal cities.

The President also inaugurated housing and transportation projects. He attended the inauguration of the third phase of the Bashayer Al-Khair project (see Press review of May 2020 ). Furthermore, the development of a new axis (محور التعمير) with two 9 lanes and a length of 35 kilometers should accelerate urban development to the west of Alexandria, towards Burg el-Arab and New Al-Alamein. In New-Amariyya, on the outskirts of Alexandria, the Al-Masharif (مشارف) project is expected to accommodate nearly 500,000 people over an area of ​​1,550 feddans (650 hectares).

Also in Alexandria, a project for a new island city , New Abu Qir, is under discussion. It would be the first city built on an artificial island in the Mediterranean, covering an area of ​​1,400 feddans (590 hectares). Skyscrapers as well as the largest commercial port in the Mediterranean would be planned . This project would be part of the government’s efforts to protect Alexandria in the context of climate change; the city would operate using renewable energies and would therefore be in accordance with the principles defended at COP27.

 

Formalize the city

By spring, a paid parking system should be in place on the streets of Greater Cairo, putting an end to the informal “  Sayes  ” system. They manage traffic on their street and help motorists park in exchange for informal remuneration. Since August 2021, a test phase has been underway in six neighborhoods of Cairo and in Doqqi (see Press review of summer 2021 ). Prices will vary depending on the neighborhood.

In Bulaq, on the Maspero side, the Cairo governorate led a campaign to evict street vendors . In Shubra el-Kheima, an informal market is displaced. More generally, the Ministry of Local Development has started to apply the new law on commercial establishments (154/2019). This law provides for a fine of 20,000 to 50,000 Egyptian pounds for owners who operate without a license. All establishments must also install surveillance cameras inside and outside their premises.

 

Parks and walks

The Prime Minister follows the progress of the Fustat gardens development project (see Press review of June 2021 ). The latter is accompanied by archaeological excavations. Ultimately, the area will become an open-air museum tracing the history of one of the oldest Islamic capitals on the African continent.

It also follows the development of the Nile Corniche in Cairo . The first phase of the Mamsha Ahl Masr was inaugurated in March 2022 (see CEDEJ Carnets Portfolio ); a Christmas market takes place there at the end of December. The second phase between Maspero and Qasr el-Nil bridge is nearing completion. In Giza , land was allocated for the development of a similar project.

In early December, several Zamalek residents, supported by former Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, organized a protest stand in front of the corniche to demand a halt to the construction of a garage as part of the Mamsha Ahl Masr project. The latter led to further felling of trees on the banks of the Nile. Residents launched a campaign on social media and the issue was also brought to Parliament .

Others

The Minister of Housing affirms that the construction of the New Administrative Capital generated the creation of 5 million jobs . For example, the business district and its twenty towers would employ 16,000 workers, including 12,000 Egyptian workers who work 24 hours a day.

 

Transportation

Transport projects in Greater Cairo

During the inauguration of New Mansoura, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi justified the road infrastructure construction projects underway for several years. He said they provide more than 5 million jobs and are necessary to guarantee the well-being of future generations .

Line 6 of the Cairo metro , currently under discussion, could become the first automated, driverless metro line on the African continent.

New light electric rail (LRT) stations have opened in the New Administrative Capital. Ultimately, the train should travel at 120 km/h and transport between 20,000 and 40,000 passengers per hour.

River transport

 On December 12, the first ministerial meeting was held on the feasibility of a navigation corridor between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean. This would notably involve promoting access to the sea for the landlocked countries of the Nile basin. However, this project has a colossal cost , between 63 and 100 billion dollars, which cannot be entirely supported by public funds. On the sidelines of the meeting, Egypt and South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the field of river transport.

Furthermore, the Alexandria Port Authority plans the construction of two river transport docks as part of its expansion on the Nubariyya Canal. This is part of a recent dynamic of promotion and development of river transport .

 

Air Transport

The first international flights to Jeddah took place from Sphinx International Airport (see May 2022 press review ).

 

Tourism

The Prime Minister reaffirmed the need to accelerate the implementation of museum reopening projects . He notably cited the Greco-Roman museum of Alexandria, whose 27 exhibition rooms will house some 20,000 objects, the Mohammed Ali palace in Shubra and the Ben Ezra synagogue.

The Egyptian Sovereign Fund plans to develop the high-end hotel sector , particularly in downtown Cairo. A sub-fund should be specialized in the tourism sector.

After hosting COP27 and positioning itself to organize the 2036 Olympic Games (see Press review of November 2022 ), Egypt is offering itself as host country for the 2030 or 2034 Football World Cup. The World Cup 2022 represented a real economic opportunity for the cafes which broadcast the matches. Indeed, the subscription to the beIN Sports channel being very expensive, many people followed the competition at the café.

The festivities associated with the trip of the Holy Family to Egypt have just been included on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List .
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities and the Governor of the Red Sea inaugurated the largest water park in the Middle East in Hurghada.

 

Environment

Energy savings

The Minister of Local Development takes stock of the efforts to rationalize electricity made over the last two months (see Press review of summer 2022 ). He announces that electricity consumption has decreased by 25% in the governorates. Public buildings turn off all lighting outside office hours.

Green cities

The Minister of Housing participated in the Seventh Arab Housing Conference which focuses on smart and sustainable cities . The objective is to achieve optimal use of resources and improve the living conditions of city dwellers. This conference is in line with the commitments made at COP27 last month (see November 2022 press review ).

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban renewal

New towns

The Ministry of Housing promises to accelerate the implementation of 12 new towns by easing investment procedures, in terms of prior experience in the construction sector and payment terms.

Plans for the new town of Ras al-Hikma are underway. This city will be located in the Dabaa area on the northwest coast, 220 kilometers from Matrouh. 18,000 feddans were allocated for the implementation of the first phase. In total, the city will extend over 50,000 feddans. This project is part of a national land use plan which looks towards the western desert and the Mediterranean coast. Ras al-Hikma should accommodate 300,000 inhabitants, helping to relieve the Valley and the Delta of demographic pressure, and more than 3 million tourists each year. The objective is indeed to make it a global tourist destination , capable of competing with other Mediterranean seaside resorts. Towers similar to those in New Al-Alamein are planned.

Concerning the New Administrative Capital, the transfer of employees of ministries and administrations will be gradual between January 2023 and July 2023. A first phase will include 32,000 employees.

Sustainable cities

COP27 was an opportunity for the Ministry of Local Development to launch the sustainable cities initiative , in partnership with the World Bank. It aims to promote sustainable solutions in Egyptian cities. The aim is to accelerate the ongoing achievements within the framework of the Egypt Vision 2030 strategy.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi highlighted Sharm el-Sheikh as the first Egyptian city to begin its green transformation.

Call to prayer

In early November, renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass called in an interview for calls to prayer to be unified in Cairo to limit noise pollution. According to him, the too high volume of megaphones could harm tourist activity. The Ministry of Waqfs responded that it was organizing training for muezzins and that a unification project had also been underway since February 2019: 5,000 mosques would already be affected in Greater Cairo. This is not the first time that this question has made the news in Egypt; it had already been raised in the mid-2000s and was the subject of a scientific article by Iman Farag.

Others

The island of Warraq is once again at the heart of the news (see Press review for summer 2022 ). The Ministry of Housing said no forced displacement was taking place on the island. He explained that residents’ reluctance was normal and that similar resistance had taken place in Maspero. Several voices were raised to defend the government’s action , emphasizing that it was carrying out a necessary intervention to ensure the long-term sustainability of the capital .

After the COP, Egypt is trying to position itself to host the 2036 Olympic Games . The country plans to highlight the International Olympic City of the New Administrative Capital which includes a stadium with a capacity of 90,000 fans as well as all the sports facilities necessary for such an event.

Transportation

Transport projects in Greater Cairo

The Minister of Transport took stock of several ongoing infrastructure projects. He announced the end of the second phase of work on the Ring Road for April 2024. A widening of the Warraq bridge is notably planned, bringing it to eight lanes. The Ring Road as a whole was to be widened by one lane, but President Adel Fattah al-Sissi called for an additional lane to be added in anticipation of an increase in the number of vehicles using it within ten years .

Furthermore, he explained that the commissioning of the monorail scheduled for April 2023 will be delayed due to the global economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the war between Russia and Ukraine. The monorail should therefore start operating in October 2023 .

The House of Representatives approved a 250 million euro loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to develop Metro Line 2 in Cairo. The objective is for it to be able to transport 1,760,000 passengers per day compared to 850,000 today. The Ministry of Transport is also negotiating a loan of 2 billion euros with France to finance the 6th Cairo metro line . Another loan agreement of 776.2 million euros was signed with France to renovate the first metro line and provide 55 new trains.

Rail

Regarding rail transport, the Minister of Transport announced that the construction of a station in Bashtil (Giza) costs 3 billion Egyptian pounds. It will mainly connect with Upper Egypt. In addition, Deutsche Bahn signed an agreement to build a 2,000 kilometer high-speed network. The first line will connect Cairo to Alexandria. Two additional lines are planned to connect Luxor to Abu Simbel and Hurghada.

 

Promote green transport

At COP27, the Minister of Transport launched a Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability Initiative (نقل منخفض الكربون من أجل استدامة حضرية). The objective is to have an increasing use of carbon-free energies. This is a global initiative which primarily targets countries in the South.

While an article in Al-Shorouk states that the transport sector is responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in Egypt, a shift to environmentally friendly modes of transport is planned in Cairo and Alexandria. This transition is based on the purchase of electric buses, on new metro lines, and on the commissioning of the monorail. Efforts have already started in Sharm el-Sheikh , where 260 electric buses transported delegates during COP27, and are to be extended to other governorates.

Tourism

The Grand Egyptian Museum of Giza is entering a trial phase during which it will begin to welcome groups of visitors. Only certain parts of the site will be accessible, the most important, notably the room of Tutankhamun’s treasure, will remain closed until the official inauguration.

In the context of the economic crisis, the government decides to increase the entry price of certain tourist sites for foreigners, notably the new Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat.

November marks the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb . On this occasion, several celebrations took place in Luxor. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities organized a visit to the tomb with some foreign ambassadors. In addition, the house in which Howard Carter resided has been transformed into a museum.

COP27

Initially scheduled to take place from November 6 to 18, COP27 was extended by two days to allow negotiations to conclude. The Climate Conference was held in Sharm el-Sheikh and welcomed some 35,000 visitors. Al-Ahram Online provided daily monitoring of events and statements.

An article from Al-Masri al-Youm reviews the main achievements of the summit. One of the fundamental challenges of this Climate conference was to reach an agreement allowing the creation of a fund mainly supplied by the countries of the North for the adaptation of the countries of the South. The Foreign Ministry presented the agreement as a victory for so-called “developing” countries. Several Egyptian newspapers have highlighted the historic nature of this agreement. Other media highlight progress in terms of adaptation but regret that mitigation is taking a back seat and that the 1.5 degree objective is becoming increasingly illusory to achieve.  The size of this “Loss and Damage” Fund should be revealed within a few weeks and the implementation of the mechanisms enabling its operation could take another year .

If the financial question occupied a major place around the creation of this Fund, COP27 also stood out by placing the emphasis on water and agriculture . It was also an opportunity for Egypt to highlight its role in the production of green hydrogen .

Furthermore, COP27 was an opportunity to launch four initiatives  :

  • The Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries initiative led by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and by the UNDP. The objective is for economic policies to take climate impacts into account .
  • The Low Carbon Transportation for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative to decarbonize urban mobility .
  • The Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation ( SURGe ) initiative in partnership with UN-Habitat. The emphasis will be placed on housing, access to water, mobility, waste and energy consumption.
  • The Global Waste Initiative 50 , the objective of which is that 50% of solid waste be recycled in Africa by 2050.

Environment

Green spaces

The Ministry of Local Development has signed contracts with the Ministries of Agriculture and Military Production, which will provide it with 5 million trees . These will be planted in all governorates. This is part of the initiative to plant 100 million trees (see Press review of October 2022 ). The initiative , to which the government has allocated 3 billion Egyptian pounds, is expected to extend over seven years. This involves planting fruit trees as a priority. It should make it possible to double the surface area of ​​green spaces per inhabitant, which currently amounts to 1.2 m 2 .

At the same time, ongoing works in the Zamalek district have generated protests in Parliament, particularly regarding the degradation of green spaces .

Waste treatment and pollution

The Ministry of Local Development announced that the state had spent 57 billion Egyptian pounds to improve its waste treatment system. He specified that in eight years, since President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi came to power, 280 million tonnes of waste had been collected.

COP27 was an opportunity to launch a new initiative for water bottles made from biopolymer from sugar cane and not plastic. These bottles could be sold nationwide from 2023.

Managing environmental risks

The Minister of Local Development reviewed the preparations of the governorates to face the risks of pluvial flooding . 600 million Egyptian pounds were invested to equip the governorates. At the same time, the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources raised the alert level within his ministry in order to ensure the preparation of its services for the rainy season.

Private sector integration

Yasmine Fouad, the Minister of the Environment, announced a 10-year concession to the private sector for the management of the Ras Mohammed and Naqb nature reserves . These protect the coral reefs of the Red Sea. She stressed that one of the government’s major challenges was the lack of awareness among the population about the fragility of corals.

The government has allowed the private sector to participate in the management of the Giza Zoo and Orman Garden, in cooperation with the Ministry of Military Production.

Florian Bonnefoi

Renouvellement urbain

Transformations urbaines

Malgré la crise économique, et alors que certains demandaient à ce qu’ils soient mis en pause (voir Revue de presse de mai 2022), les grands projets nationaux se poursuivent. Le Président Abdel Fattah al-Sissi a d’ailleurs précisé que ces projets, et en premier lieu celui de la Nouvelle Capitale Administrative et des autres villes nouvelles, avaient rapporté 2 trillions de livres égyptiennes à l’État.

Le ministre du Développement Local suit l’avancement du projet Mamsha Ahl Masr à Assouan. Une corniche de 13 kilomètres est en cours d’aménagement au bord du Nil. Elle devrait faire le lien entre la ville historique et New Assouan.

Alors que la destruction de 390 logements est prévue à Nazlet al-Samman, à Gizeh, pour le 24 novembre, des affrontements ont eu lieu entre habitants et autorités.

Le ministre du Logement prévoit la construction de 30 millions de logements supplémentaires dans les années à venir.

 

Mise en valeur du patrimoine religieux

Le ministère du Tourisme et des Antiquités a annoncé la prochaine réouverture de la synagogue Ben Ezra, la plus ancienne d’Égypte, dans le Vieux Caire. Après avoir été laissée à l’abandon pendant près de 30 ans, elle fait l’objet de travaux de rénovation depuis quelques mois (voir Revue de presse d’avril 2022).

Le Premier ministre suit l’avancement du projet de la « Great Transfiguration » à Sainte Catherine, notamment le complexe résidentiel d’Al-Zitouna, ainsi qu’un projet d’hôtel de luxe.

Vie urbaine

Avec le mois d’octobre débutent les horaires d’hiver décidés au moment de la crise sanitaire (voir Revue de presse de novembre 2020). Officiellement, commerces et centres commerciaux devront fermer à 22 heures et les cafés et restaurants à minuit (1 heure du matin le week-end et les jours fériés).

L’exposition « Art d’Égypte » fait son retour sur le plateau des pyramides.

Autres

Le gouvernement devrait commencer à transférer ses activités vers la Nouvelle Capitale Administrative à partir de janvier 2023.

Transport

Transports en commun

Le projet BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) sur le Ring Road devrait être inauguré au premier semestre 2023. Il comprendra en tout 47 stations, 13 en surface, 26 souterraines et 8 hybrides. En contrebas du Ring Road, des parkings seront aménagés pour les voitures et pour les microbus.

Après des années de travaux, plusieurs stations de la 3ème ligne de métro viennent d’être inaugurées : Maspero, Zamalek et Kit-Kat qui sont ainsi reliées à la station Nasser dans le centre-ville. À terme, la ligne devrait aller jusqu’au Ring Road où elle fera la liaison avec le système BRT. La ligne fonctionne dans une phase d’essai durant un mois avant d’être officiellement inaugurée à l’occasion de la COP27.

Lors de la COP27 devrait également être lancé le projet d’une sixième ligne de métro. D’une longueur de 35 kilomètres, elle devrait relier al-Khusus en bordure du Ring Road, en Qaliubeyya, et New Maadi. Elle suivra en partie le tracé de la ligne 1.

 

En attendant la COP…

Plusieurs projets de transport seront inaugurés à l’occasion de la COP27 le mois prochain. Ainsi, le ministère des Transports a annoncé que ce serait le cas du projet de monorail dans la Nouvelle Capitale Administrative. D’une longueur de 56,5 kilomètres et desservant 22 stations, il reliera Medinat Nasr à la Nouvelle Capitale.

Le train électrique à grande vitesse devrait également être inauguré en partie au mois de novembre. Il fera la liaison entre Ain Sukhna et New Al-Alamein, en passant par la Nouvelle Capitale Administrative. Par ailleurs, un appel d’offre international a été lancé pour procéder à l’électrification de la ligne Tanta-Mansoura-Damiette. Le projet est estimé à 220 millions de dollars. L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD) a déjà accepté de faire un prêt de 95 millions de dollars.

 

Développer des transports verts

Les 26 stations de vélos du projet Cairo Bike sont en cours d’installation dans le centre-ville du Caire. En tout, ce sont 45 stations et 500 vélos qui seront mis à disposition des citadins. Alors que l’initiative devait être lancée mi-juillet, elle a été reportée et finalement inaugurée le 20 octobre. Ce projet résulte d’une coopération entre le gouvernorat du Caire et UN-Habitat. Un article d’Al-Masri al-Youm donne le point de vue des différents acteurs engagés dans le projet. Une entreprise égyptienne et une entreprise danoise exploitent ensemble le parc de vélos. Concernant les tarifs, les citadins pourront emprunter un vélo pour 1 livre égyptienne par heure (70 piastres pour les étudiants).

La Banque mondiale vient d’approuver un financement de 400 millions de dollars pour développer des infrastructures de transport durables. Ce financement vise notamment à développer le fret.

Autres

Un premier vol atterrira à l’aéroport international Sphinx à Gizeh, le 1er novembre (voir Revue de presse de mai 2022). Après rénovation, l’aéroport aura une capacité de 1,1 millions de passagers par an. Des vols intérieurs à destination de Louxor, d’Assouan et de Charm el-Cheikh sont prévus chaque semaine.

 

Environnement et énergie

Verdir l’Égypte

Le ministère du Développement Local poursuit ses efforts dans le cadre de l’initiative visant à planter 100 millions d’arbres d’ici sept ans. Il se charge d’en planter 79,7 millions tandis que les ministères de l’Environnement, du Logement et des Nouvelles Communautés Urbaines en plantent 20,3 millions. L’objectif est d’améliorer la qualité de l’air et de limiter le réchauffement climatique. L’aménagement de parcs urbains est également prévu.

 

Traitement des déchets et pollution

Al-Ahram Online publie un reportage photo sur la campagne de ramassage des déchets dans le Nil qui s’étend du 29 septembre au 6 novembre. Cette initiative organisée par la Youth Love Egypt Foundation a été rejointe par 1 300 bénévoles. Leur action s’étend sur l’ensemble de la portion égyptienne du Nil, d’Assouan à Rosette et Damiette.

Comme chaque année à l’automne, se pose la question de la combustion de la paille de riz dans le Delta qui serait à l’origine des nuages noirs et de la pollution atmosphérique. L’ancienne ministre de l’Environnement, Leila Iskandar, a demandé des incitations financières pour encourager les agriculteurs à collecter et à recycler leurs déchets et non à les brûler. L’actuelle ministre, Yasmine Fouad, a pour sa part précisé que plus d’un million de tonnes de paille de riz avait été collectée, évitant ainsi 16 000 tonnes d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre.

Gérer les risques environnementaux

En prévision de la saison hivernale, le gouvernorat d’Alexandrie implante trois projets de gestion des eaux pluviales pour 160 millions de livres égyptiennes. Six opérations sont également en cours dans les gouvernorats de Minya, d’Assouan et de Gizeh.

 

Charm el-Cheikh, ville verte ?

Un article d’Al-Ahram Online fait un point sur une trentaine de projets « verts » mis en œuvre ces derniers mois à Charm al-Cheikh en amont de la COP27. Parmi ces projets, la construction de routes qui rendent la ville plus accessible, d’un complexe médical, d’un mall, l’aménagement d’un parc, de fermes solaires. En outre, des bus électriques sont prévus à Charm el-Cheikh pour assurer le transport des participants à la COP27. D’autres bus ont été achetés pour fonctionner à Alexandrie et au Caire. Une moitié de ces nouveaux véhicules fonctionnent au gaz naturel et l’autre à l’électricité.

Par ailleurs, des kiosques seront mis en place dans la ville pour distribuer des alternatives aux sacs en plastique. Ce projet est mis en œuvre par le ministère de l’Environnement et le PNUD et financé par l’Union européenne et le gouvernement suisse. En effet, après plusieurs mois d’efforts du ministère de l’Environnement, Charm el-Cheikh a été déclarée première ville d’Égypte sans sacs plastiques à usage unique. Un programme de formation a par ailleurs été mis en œuvre dans la ville pour les travailleurs du secteur des déchets. Une campagne de sensibilisation est également en cours auprès des commerçants.

Florian Bonnefoi

Urban renewal

Urban transformations

As part of the “Housing for All” initiative, 96 buildings housing 3,600 homes are being constructed in New Obour to replace non-regulated housing.

The Corniche project in Moqqatam has just been signed (see Press review of June 2022 ). It is divided into two phases: the first targets the edges of the Moqqatam hill and its terraces, which will be transformed into a recreational, commercial and hotel zone of 1.3 million m2 . A second phase provides for the construction of a new residential complex of 750,000 m2 on the plateau. Furthermore, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi asked for traffic to be facilitated on the plateau through the development of new roads.

During the Cityscape conference, a parliamentarian raised the possibility of stopping all construction in Alexandria for at least 15 years, if not forever, in order to preserve the city.

Green spaces

The government denied razing part of Antoniadis Park in Alexandria . This reaction follows the distribution of photos on social networks showing bulldozers within the park. The government nevertheless confirmed that a development plan for the park was in progress. An article from Al-Ahram Online looks at the history of the garden.

As part of the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050, Mahmoudiyya Park has just opened in Aswan .

New Administrative Capital

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi indicated that the New Administrative Capital was part of a vast plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in which 20 new 4th generation cities will participate .

The Minister of Housing announced that the volume of investments in the New Administrative Capital had exceeded 1,000 billion Egyptian pounds (or approximately 52 billion euros). New land projects are being studied there.

The government plans to relocate the headquarters of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union from the central district of Maspero to the financial district of the New Administrative Capital. It could occupy one of the 20 towers in the business district. The historic building in central Cairo was inaugurated by Nasser in 1960.

Others

Announced by a family member on social networks, then relayed in different media, the destruction of Taha Hussein’s tomb in the City of the Dead was finally canceled . The family mobilized to prevent it. President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi wanted to be reassuring , guaranteeing that cemeteries and archaeological zones would not be impacted by road development projects.

Transportation

Transport prices

The increase in the price of public transport, initially planned for August 1 then postponed to the end of this month (see Press review of summer 2022 ), has been postponed indefinitely .

The Ministry of Transport announced a 30 to 40% reduction in the price of the LRT (Light Rail Transit) train which passes through New Obour, Shorouk, Badr, Dix de Ramadan and the New Administrative Capital. This comes two months after its inauguration in July 2022 around the Adly Mansour intermodal hub (see Press review of summer 2022 ).

Others

The Ministry of Transport has ordered the creation of parking lots along the ring road and their connection to the bus network.

The Al-Nasr Automobiles company is studying the possibility of producing electric tuk-tuks in Egypt. The company already has a production capacity of 50,000 vehicles per year but negotiations are underway with an Indian partner to acquire the know-how and begin a transition to electric vehicles.

Tourism

The government limits regulations to promote yacht tourism in the Mediterranean and Red Seas. The Canal towns are particularly targeted. Thus, the President of the Suez Canal Authority explained that Ismailia had a mooring capacity of twelve yachts and that the objective was to reach sixty to one hundred and twenty yachts. These ports will be partly financed by revenues from the Suez Canal.

As work on the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza draws to a close, an article from Al-Ahram Online reviews the developments that have taken place on the Pyramid Plateau since 2018.

Environment and energy

Environmental projects before the COP

The water issue will be at the top of Egypt’s climate summit agenda. The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation hopes in particular to promote regional cooperation on the issue.

An article from Al Monitor reviews the projects launched by Egypt ahead of the COP, in particular the “Blue Lagoon” initiative which aims to warn of the dangers faced by biodiversity in the Red Sea. This initiative is part of the broader interest shown by the Ministry of the Environment in nature reserves. Additionally, the “Green Lung” initiative seeks to plant 100 million trees across the country.

This pre-COP27 period is also marked by the gradual abandonment of coal in industry and the use of green energies. Thus, the public company El-Nasr Company for Coke and Chemical was liquidated at the beginning of September, a year after ceasing its activities.

Waste treatment

The Emirati group BEEAH and the company Egypt’s Green Planet have just signed an agreement to implement a sustainable waste treatment system in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Minister of the Environment, Yasmine Fouad, announced a reduction in licensing fees for NGOs working on the collection, transport and treatment of waste.

At the end of September, the Youth Loves Egypt organization, the Egyptian Red Crescent, the Ministries of Local Development and Water Resources also launched a large  waste collection campaign in the Nile with the aim of entering the Guinness World Records .

Managing environmental risks

The Ministry of Housing’s Senior Crisis Management Committee is preparing to deal with the risk of weather-related flooding during the winter season.

Furthermore, the Minister of the Environment, Yasmine Fouad, presented a report to the Council of Ministers on the management of episodes of atmospheric pollution . She highlighted a drop in the concentration of fine particles in the air since 2015. Efforts are being made in particular to promote electric vehicles. Furthermore, the fight continues against the burning of rice straw in the Delta.

Energy: rationalization of electricity

Following the announcement of an electricity rationalization plan in August (see Summer 2022 press review ), the Ministry of Local Development is continuing its efforts to reduce public lighting from 25 to 35 %. The temperature inside buildings must also not exceed or fall below 25 degrees. The objective is to save the natural gas used in power plants in order to export it and benefit from foreign currencies. However, a member of the House of Representatives stressed that this decision did not take into account the social dimension and that it was a source of an increase in the number of road accidents .

Florian Bonnefoi

Renouvellement urbain

Renouvellement du centre-ville

Les projets de transformation du Mugamma sur la place Tahrir se précisent. Un contrat a été signé en août entre le Fonds souverain égyptien et plusieurs entreprises qui en assureront le développement. Les investissements s’élèvent à 200 millions de dollars et devraient mener à la création de 500 emplois directs. Le bâtiment devrait devenir un complexe hôtelier de luxe de 500 chambres, qui accueillera également des cafés et des centres commerciaux. Ce complexe aura pour nom « Cairo House ». Un article d’Al-Monitor revient sur l’évolution récente du bâtiment.

De la destruction à la reconstruction

À Medinat Nasr, les destructions des 6ème et 7ème districts ont commencé (voir Revue de presse de janvier 2022). 3 000 familles sont concernées et seront indemnisées. Les autorités ont répondu aux rumeurs en précisant que le 10ème district n’était pas visé. Elles ont également dit que les terrains ne seraient pas vendus à des promoteurs, que l’objectif était seulement de replanifier la zone.

989 familles ont à nouveau été expulsées du quartier de Magra el-Uyun suite à la destruction de leur logement dans le cadre de la réhabilitation du quartier. Cette dernière prévoit la construction de 79 immeubles comprenant près de 2 000 logements.

172 propriétés ont également été détruites à Gabakhana (الجبخانة) dans le Vieux Caire, conduisant au déplacement de 720 familles vers les quartiers d’Al-Mahrousa et d’Al-Salam. Le développement de la zone devrait notamment permettre le passage de nouveaux axes routiers.

À Imbaba, ce sont 82 immeubles qui sont détruits afin de permettre le passage du nouveau corridor du 26 Juillet. Parallèle à l’axe préexistant du même nom, il soulagera le trafic depuis et vers le centre-ville du Caire.

Le ministère du Logement a présenté les procédures d’attribution de logements dans le cadre du retour des habitants d’origine dans le quartier de Maspero. Deux tours résidentielles de 18 étages, chaque étage comprenant 26 logements, leur sont destinées. Une loterie publique, dont la date devrait être fixée fin août, devrait être organisée. Ce procédé a été préféré pour éviter les conflits entre résidents quant aux choix des appartements. Les premiers logements devraient être livrés en septembre 2022Al-Borsa détaille les caractéristiques des tours et des logements.

Villes nouvelles

Le Journal officiel annonce l’attribution de 7 670 feddans (3 200 hectares) pour la construction de la ville nouvelle d’Esna.

Les bords du Nil : reprise en main des fronts d’eau fluviaux

Malgré les fortes oppositions, une campagne sur les réseaux sociaux et le lancement de plusieurs actions en justice, le gouvernement a poursuivi son opération d’expulsion et de destruction des péniches résidentielles sur la corniche du Nil à Imbaba (voir Revue de presse de juin 2022). Un article de Mada Masr revient en image sur l’opération. 32 bateaux sont concernés entre les ponts du 15 Mai et d’Imbaba. Cette action s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une réorganisation de la propriété des berges du Nil et du transit sur le fleuve. La propriétaire d’un des bateaux, Ikhlas Helmy, s’est vue attribuer un appartement avec vue sur le Nil à Zamalek, pris en charge par le gouvernement. Dans une vidéo réalisée par Mada Masr, elle raconte son histoire. Contrairement aux autres propriétaires, elles n’avait effectivement pas d’autre logement où se rendre après la destruction de sa péniche. Une tribune publiée dans Al-Masri al-Youm souligne la tension entre aménagement et préservation du patrimoine urbain dont cette affaire est un exemple.

Alors qu’elle était gratuite depuis son ouverture mi-mars (voir Portfolio des Carnets du CEDEJ), le gouvernement a annoncé que l’accès à la nouvelle Corniche, Mamsha Ahl Masr, sera désormais payant (20 livres égyptiennes). Un article de Daarb fait état d’une action en justice pour contester cette décision. Un membre de la Chambre des Représentants a fait une demande d’information sur le sujet, soulignant que les frais d’entrée limitent grandement l’accessibilité de ce qui devait être un espace public ouvert à tous. Par ailleurs, des images ont circulé sur les réseaux sociaux, montrant des malfaçons et des dégradations du pavage de la promenade. Le ministère du Logement a fait savoir que cela était dû à son utilisation et que l’entretien de la corniche était continu.

Alors que le Premier ministre, Mustafa Madbouly, annonce que l’État, via la NUCA (New Urban Communities Authority) détient désormais 71 % de l’île de Warraq dans le Grand Caire, un plan de développement a été présenté dans la presse. L’objectif est de tirer parti d’un emplacement unique sur le Nil et d’y implanter 94 tours résidentielles comprenant 4 000 logements ainsi que des services. Ce nouveau quartier, Horus City, deviendrait une forme de Manhattan cairote. Des logements à Obour sont proposés aux familles expropriées ; une indemnisation est également prévue. Depuis 2017, Mada Masr revient régulièrement sur les conflits qui opposent les habitants de l’île au gouvernement. Alors que des résidents ont résisté à leur expropriation, le journal fait état de nouvelles arrestations qui ont suscité la protestation de certains députés. Le ministre du Logement a rappelé qu’il ne s’agit pas de « déplacements forcés » mais de « projets de développement » qui ont donné lieu, jusqu’à présent, à une compensation de 6 milliards de livres égyptiennes. Il souligne que l’étalement urbain non contrôlé a causé des dégradations environnementales rendant nécessaire une intervention de l’État. L’Urban Planning Authority prévoirait le développement de dix-sept autres îles sur le Nil, notamment celle de Dahab au Caire qui devrait accueillir un aquarium et des activités commerciales et récréatives. Des résidents des îles de Qursaya et de Dahab au Caire ont confié à Mada Masr craindre de devoir eux aussi quitter leur lieu d’habitation.

À l’aune de ces transformations, un article d’Al-Ahram Online retrace une histoire commune de la ville du Caire et du Nil.

Transport

Augmentation des prix des transports

Le ministre des Transports a annoncé que le prix des billets de train et des tickets de métro devrait augmenter pour faire face au déficit public. L’Autorité des chemins de fer aurait effectivement une dette de 88 milliards de livres égyptiennes. À cela s’ajoute un parc ferroviaire en mauvais étatLe ministre des Transports assure que d’autres solutions seront aussi mises en œuvre notamment des investissements fonciers et la mise à disposition de plus d’espaces publicitaires. L’augmentation s’élève à une livre égyptienne par ticket. Alors qu’elle devait être effective au premier août, elle a été reportée. Le ministre a plus tard précisé qu’elle aurait lieu à la fin du mois et qu’elle ne devrait pas dépasser 25 % du prix actuel. Selon un article de Daarb, plusieurs partis politiques se sont opposés à cette hausse des prix des transports, soulignant que ces derniers ont déjà augmenté de 90 % en cinq ans.

Pôle intermodal d’Adly Mansour et transports en commun

Le 3 juillet 2022, le Président Abdel Fattah al-Sissi a inauguré la station d’Adly Mansour. Il s’agit d’un pôle intermodal où se retrouveront 7 moyens de transports différents dont 4 électriques : la ligne de train Le Caire-Suez, la 3ème ligne du métro, le train électrique, la station de bus SuperJet, les bus électriques et le système BRT. Concernant le prix des tickets du train électrique, il s’élèvera à 13 livres égyptiennes pour 3 stations, à 20 livres égyptiennes pour 6 stations et à 35 livres égyptiennes pour 12 stations.

Dans le même temps, le ministre des Transports a annoncé que les travaux de la 4ème ligne de métro avaient commencé. Le mois d’août marque également l’arrivée de la première conductrice de métro au Caire. Le métro cairote a par ailleurs fait l’objet d’un scandale artistique début juillet : l’artiste russe Georgy Kurasov a dénoncé une récupération sans autorisation de son œuvre pour décorer la station de Koleyat al-Banat sur la ligne 3. La peinture murale a depuis été retirée.

Transports en commun verts

Alors que la Banque mondiale a accordé à l’Égypte un prêt de 200 millions de dollars pour améliorer la qualité de l’air, le ministère de l’Environnement décide d’en attribuer 40 millions pour l’achat de 100 bus électriques. Un contrat a été signé pour que quarante d’entre eux soient destinés à Alexandrie. Par ailleurs, 1,2 milliards de livres égyptiennes ont été attribués pour convertir 2 262 bus au gaz naturel au Caire et à Alexandrie.

La première station BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) est terminée sur le périphérique. Ce nouveau système de transports en commun vise notamment à servir d’alternative aux microbus. 33 stations devraient être mises en œuvre dans un premier temps.

Cinq nouvelles stations de vélos en libre-service sont en cours de construction au Caire, dans Wast el-Balad, dans le cadre du projet Cairo Bike (voir Revue de presse de juin 2022). Un article d’Egypt Today redonne les grandes lignes du projet.

Les routes en débat

Le Président a par ailleurs défendu son bilan en matière de construction d’autoponts, soulignant que sans les réalisations des cinq dernières années, le Caire aurait été complètement saturé. Une nouvelle route est prévue pour rejoindre New Cairo et sera parallèle à la rue Salah Salem. Seize axes ont été construits pour relier l’est et l’ouest de la ville, solutionnant une partie de la congestion urbaine.

Alors que des plaintes ont fusé sur les réseaux sociaux quant aux projets d’infrastructures routières sur la Côte Nord, le Président Abdel Fattah al-Sissi a rappelé que les travaux n’étaient pas terminés – ils devraient s’achever mi-août au plus tard – et qu’il fallait avoir confiance dans la vision du gouvernement. Un comité de consultants et d’experts techniques aurait été constitué pour traiter les plaintes.

Train électrique à grande vitesse

Un projet est à l’étude pour construire une ligne de train électrique sur 280 kilomètres, entre Alexandrie et Port-Saïd. Le projet coûterait 7 milliards de dollars. Ce train desservirait quatorze stations, notamment Baltim, New Mansoura, Gamasa, New Damiette et Damiette. Le ministère des Transports a par ailleurs annoncé que les trains électriques à grande vitesse réduiraient les temps de trajet entre gouvernorats de 50 %. Il précise que la première ligne de train électrique à grande vitesse, entre Ain Sukhna et New Al-Alamein, a une importance stratégique comparable à celle du Canal de Suez.

Autres

Un article détaillé d’Orient XXI revient sur l’offensive lancée par le gouvernement depuis plusieurs mois contre les tuks-tuks. Il analyse cette mesure prise contre une activité informelle pourvoyeuse d’emplois.

L’aéroport du Caire est le premier en Afrique en termes de nombre de passagers en 2021 avec près d’1,4 millions de voyageurs.

Tourisme

 Photographies dans l’espace public

Le ministre du Tourisme et des Antiquités, Khaled al-Anani, en poste jusqu’à mi-août avant d’être remplacé par Ahmed Eissa Taha Abu Hussein, a annoncé une nouvelle réglementation concernant la prise de photos dans l’espace public. Cette autorisation est limitée par l’engagement de ne pas photographier ni filmer de scènes offensantes pour le pays et de ne pas photographier les enfants et les adultes sans leur consentement. Trois types de « photographes » sont distingués : les particuliers, égyptiens et étrangers, qui pourront utiliser appareils photos et téléphones portables sans autorisation préalable et sans payer de redevance, les médias étrangers qui devront toujours demander un permis au Service d’information de l’État, les productions télévisuelles et cinématographiques pour lesquelles la procédure devrait être facilitée. Selon la décision rendue par le Premier ministre, les photographies des terrains et bâtiments gouvernementaux et ministériels restent interdites. Cette décision s’inscrit dans une volonté de promotion touristique du pays. En 2019, déjà, les photographies au sein des musées et sites archéologiques avaient été facilitées. L’information a été relayée dans la presse internationale, notamment dans The Guardian.

Autres

Le Premier ministre cherche à augmenter la capacité hôtelière de la ville de New al-Alamein.

À Alexandrie, l’accessibilité aux personnes aveugles d’une plage d’Al-Mandara      a été facilitée par la désignation d’espaces de baignades et la formation spéciale de sauveteurs.

Un système de caméras de vidéosurveillance doit être installé à Louxor avec pour but affiché de garantir la sécurité des touristes.

 

 Environnement et énergie

Des projets environnementaux avant la COP

La COP27 a désormais un compte Instagram et une page Facebook. Un article d’Al-Monitor présente quelques projets mis en œuvre par le gouvernement en amont de la conférence pour le climat qui se tiendra au mois de novembre.

Tout d’abord, la ministre de l’Environnement a présenté la Stratégie nationale de réduction de l’utilisation des sacs plastiques à usage unique au Conseil des ministres. L’objectif est de passer à 100 sacs par personne et par an d’ici 2025 et à 50 d’ici 2030. L’Égypte s’investit également dans la production d’alternatives au plastique. Par ailleurs, de plus en plus d’ONG agissent pour protéger l’environnement face aux déchets plastiques. Une nouvelle mesure vient également lutter contre ce type de pollution : désormais le conducteur d’un véhicule duquel des déchets auront été jetés sur la chaussée devra payer une amende ou bien verra son permis de conduire suspendu.

Par ailleurs, le gouvernement lance l’initiative « 100 millions d’arbres » qui vise à reboiser le pays. Dans un premier temps, des arbres fruitiers seront plantés sur les bords des autoroutes dans plusieurs gouvernorats. En outre, 9 900 sites ont été choisis partout dans le pays pour implanter des parcs et des forêts.

Érosion sur la Côte nord

Mi-juillet, des images alarmantes d’une érosion soudaine de la Côte Nord (Sahel) ont circulé dans les médias et sur les réseaux sociaux.  De nombreuses voix, y compris celles des habitants de la région, ont accusé le Groupe Emaar, qui mène des travaux de construction d’une marina, d’avoir provoqué cette crise environnementale. Certaines personnalités publiques ont pris position, comme Hisham Ezz Elarab, ancien président de la Commercial International Bank égyptienne et propriétaire d’un villa à Marassi, qui a dénoncé : « Emaar a besoin d’avoir un meilleur comportement après avoir détruit la baie de Sidi Abdulrahman, c’était le meilleur endroit de la Côte Nord. C’est inacceptable alors que l’Égypte accueille la COP27 et qu’Emaar se fiche éperdument de la destruction de l’environnement ». La réponse de la ministre de l’Environnement, Yasmine Fouad, a été immédiate. Elle a ordonné l’arrêt de toutes les activités de dragage le long des plages de Marassi, de Stella et des Diplomats, ainsi qu’une inspection de terrain. L’influence du changement climatique sur le retrait des côtes du Sahel s’est retrouvée au cœur des débats. Le littoral méditerranéen égyptien souffre d’une augmentation continue des températures de la mer, modifiant la topographie des fonds marins profonds et perturbant les écosystèmes ; une dynamique amplifiée et accélérée par les aménagements réalisés par le groupe Emaar, telles que les digues, ce qui réduit le mouvement des vagues. Pourtant, d’autres projets sont prévus sur la Côte Nord, comme celui de la Misr Italia Real Estate sur une superficie de 400 feddans (168 hectares) et qui comporte des volets résidentiels, touristiques et commerciaux. Un article de Mada Masr revient sur l’aménagement progressif de la région.

Les côtes égyptiennes sont particulièrement vulnérables aux changements climatiques, notamment Alexandrie qui abrite environ 40 % de la capacité industrielle du pays ; les pertes pourraient s’élever à 504-581 millions de dollars d’ici 2050. Dans le même temps, l’élévation du niveau de la mer pourrait entraîner des pertes pour le tourisme balnéaire. Dans ce contexte de défis liés au changement climatique, l’Égypte a demandé un soutien financier pour des projets de protection et des efforts d’atténuation et d’adaptation au changement climatique, ce qui a donné lieu à un accord de coopération avec l’Union européenne. Le Fonds vert pour le climat finance également un vaste programme de gestion des zones côtières en Égypte.

Énergie : rationalisation de l’électricité

Courant août, le Premier ministre Moustafa Madbouly a annoncé une rationalisation de l’électricité, alors même que sa consommation en Égypte n’a jamais été aussi forte. Le but affiché est d’économiser le gaz naturel utilisé pour l’exploitation des centrales électriques, en vue de l’exporter et de tirer profit des devises étrangères. Un long article d’Al-Ahram détaille la mesure et sa justification par le gouvernement. Concrètement, tout bâtiment public devra couper l’éclairage en dehors des heures d’ouverture, l’éclairage public sera également limité, la climatisation ne devra pas aller en dessous de 25 °C, les horaires de fermeture (23 heures pour les centres commerciaux et les magasins en été) devront être respectés. Ces mesures devront être mises en œuvre par les gouverneurs. Le ministère du Logement a lancé un programme pour sensibiliser la population. De plus, le Conseil des ministres a souligné les avantages environnementaux de cette décision en expliquant que la rationalisation de la consommation de ressources naturelles vise à protéger l’environnement et à réduire les émissions nocives. Il a précisé que cela est impératif pour toute nation cherchant à progresser et à prospérer (sur la base de la Vision 2030 de l’Égypte). Cette décision est venue peu après celle de reporter l’augmentation des prix de l’électricité prévue pour ce mois jusqu’au début de l’année prochaine « compte tenu des conditions sociales des citoyens ». Cette décision a été relayée dans certains médias étrangers qui soulignent son injustice économique et climatique : « Les Égyptiens transpirent pour que les autres pays restent au frais » titre l’un des articles.

Florian Bonnefoi et Rosanne Hassan