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.”

Rania Hedeya

UN-Habitat Egypt

Key Partners
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 CBOsNahdet Khayrallah NGO
 Elshehab NGO
 Tadamon NGO
 Hawa El mostakbal NGO