Like much of the world, Egypt is witnessing rapid growth of its cities. To date 43% of the population in Egypt live in 223 cities, of which 56 % are concentrated in the Greater Cairo Region (GCR) and Alexandria. This rapid urbanization represents one of the biggest challenges that faces Egypt's urban development and is one of the main causes of the growth of informal and unsafe areas in Egypt.
However, the smartest cities today are turning these challenges into opportunities because urbanization should be considered as a driver of development rather than a problem. Cities can be engines of growth, but this is only if they are managed well and if opportunities are seized and utilized. Cities bring people closer together, benefit from economies of scale, and are a marketplace of their own - placing people, goods, and services all in close proximity. To capture this potential, we must push forward sustainable urbanization policies, policies that enable growth and at the same time create an urban development process that is able to cope with the challenges of the coming years – such as climate change, increasing demands on urban infrastructure, pollution and rapid population growth.
Sustainable urbanization is multifaceted, and it is for this reason that national urban policies must look at urban development through multiple lenses such as Planning and Design, Urban Economy, Housing and Services, and Governance. We must build and design cities that are inclusive and that are equipped for the next century. It is for this reason that UN-Habitat has been focusing on pilot interventions that result in the creation of sustainable, efficient and vibrant cities so they become engines of growth and also focuses on producing knowledge products and pilot projects that can provide evidence based research to the formulation of key policies. These dynamics are not a particularity to Egypt, but they are part of global processes. Thus UN-Habit is mobilizing the government towards the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) which will take place in 2016 in Quito, Ecuador and it is aligning its work along the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 11, to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
Type Name Government Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities ( MoHUC) Ministry of Local Development ( MoLD) Ministry of Planning (MoP) Ministry of Finance ( MoF) Government of Spain Government of Germany (BMZ) Swiss Agency for International Development (SDC) German Federal Ministry of Education and Research Governorate of Asyut Governorate of Qalyobya Governorate of Cairo Governorate of Giza Al Alamein local government New Urban Community Authority ( NUCA) General Organization of Physical Planning ( GOPP) UN Agencies The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations Industrial Development Organization ( UNIDO) United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security ( UNTFHS) UN Women International Labor Organization (ILO) International Organization for Migration ( IOM) International NGOs Plan International Ford Foundation Universities and research centers Asyut University AT-Verband -Association for the Promotion of Socially & Environmentally Appropriate Technologies Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus Frankfurt/M University of Applied Sciences (Research Institute for Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geomatics) Institute for Automation and Communication (ifac), Magdeburg ifeu – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research IUWA Heidelberg Institute for Future Energy Systems (IZES, Saarbrücken) Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences, Campus Suderburg University of Stuttgart (Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy(IER) Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Local NGOs and CBOs Nahdet Khayrallah NGO Elshehab NGO Tadamon NGO Hawa El mostakbal NGO
Since 2007 UN-Habitat has supported the government and people of Egypt to reconstruct and repair houses and community infrastructure facilities in the north and east of the country. UN-Habitat’s technical assistance included design, preparation of the bills of quantities, assistance with securing land tenure rights, obtaining local authority approvals, and environmentally friendly construction method.
Egypt's 223 cities are inhabited by 43.1 per cent of the population, of which 56 per cent are concentrated in the Greater Cairo Region (GCR) as well as Alexandria Governorates. GCR is the largest metropolitan area on the African continent; it is the prime engine for economic growth in Egypt and with over 19 Million inhabitants, close to 20 per cent of the country’s population living within its boundaries. Since 2011, there is a growing number of informal and unsafe areas emerging in Egypt, estimated by the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) to about 1,171 areas across the country, with a population of around 15 million inhabitants.
Due to rapid urban growth in Egypt over the last four decades, urban planning, infrastructure and service delivery have not been able to keep up. Today, critical urban issues arise from the sheer size of the metropolitan city and from its population density. Due to inefficient public land management systems and prohibitive housing policies, impoverished individuals have no alternative but to settle in unplanned and sometimes unsafe areas. In addition to the stress on deteriorating infrastructure, public services and transportation systems are stretched to the limit.
"A lot of bike racks had been set up. We want to spread this culture & we are very excited about the initiative."
Ibrahim Saber, Head of Heliopolis neighborhood
Donors and partners
Since its establishment, UN-Habitat in Egypt has been able to build strong partnerships with the various related stakeholders for enhanced impact and sustainability of interventions. This partnership varies from ensuring local and community participation during planning and implementation of interventions, to supporting local and central government assess and respond to urban needs and enabling dialogues and platforms that integrate knowledge from various representatives of academia, local community, NGOs, international agencies and the government.