01 May 2017 12:30 AM

The Mega National Projects…A Locomotive of Development

Sunday، 03 April 2016 10:54 AM

Dr: Ahmad Abu El Hassan Zarad

 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his speech before the Egyptian-Japanese Business Forum on March 3, 2016 talked about the mega national projects for being a locomotive of development. Moreover, in the occasion of wheat harvest within the one million and half feddans project, he talked about the other national projects, including the national network of roads and the mega national project for the development of Sinai and the national project of electricity...

The government statement before the House of Representives on March 3, 2016 mentioned some of these projects: The development of the Suez Canal Corridor, establishment a new generation of new cities, reclamation of one million and half feddans, the development of the western north coast by establishing a set of horizontal and longitudinal corridors as well as industrial, tourist, urban, agricultural and power generation projects. In addition to the golden triangle in southern Egypt, where its sketch will be adopted end of June this year. It aims at establishing an economic, mining and tourist area on the coast of the Red Sea. Moreover, the establishment of major roads, where a road network is currently implemented that covers all governorates of Egypt, its length is about five thousand km as well as establishing 30 June corridor, the new Galala City, that aim to develop the Suez Gulf and Al Ain al Sokhna area and attract more tourist investments and create new job opportunities.

The question that imposes itself is about the importance of these projects and the mechanisms and timing of its implementation and its positive impact on the ordinary citizens and their ability to attract national and foreign investments.

First: The New Suez Canal

The New Suez Canal came on top of these projects that proved the ability of the Egyptians to achieve a giant project in a definite time (one year) with a national funding( investment certificates worth L.E 64 billion in 8 days).

Absolutely, there is a direct effect of the new Suez Canal on the short and long term especially concerning the increase of the ships number and hours of waiting. In this respect, the figures show in 2015 that the number of ships that transited the canal reached 17483 with an increase by 335 in 2014 at a ratio of 2%.  Moreover, the net tonnage volume reached 998.700 million tons in 2015 with an increase of 36 million tons in 2014 at a ratio of 3.7%. However, the annual revenues scored a record which is L.E 40 billion. 

The navigation waterway of the Suez Canal witnessed transit of 2724 different ships from the two directions during January and February 2016 with a tonnage of 158.329 million tons compare to 2630 ships with a tonnage of 155.557 million tons in the corresponding period last year with an increase of 3.6% and an increase of tonnage at a ratio of 1.8%.   

It's worth mentioning that the Suez Canal witnessed on May 5, 2016 transit of 61 ships from the two sides with a total tonnage of 4 million tons.

This remarkable increase in the transting ships' numbers and tonnage show the importance of establishing the new Suez Canal and its ability to receive the expected growing global trade exchange passing through the Suez Canal.   

In general, the importance of the new canal is not only in its direct effect in increasing the number of the transiting ships, but in its effective role in activating the economic movement through a chain of projects related to the new canal such as upgrading about six strategic harbors: Sharq el Tafrea, Port Said, Arish, El Tour, El Shokhna and El Adabia. This is in addition to a number of expected activities like: assembling of cars and electronics, oil refining, petrochemicals and others that will contribute to settle millions of Egyptians in Suez Canal and Sinai as well as attracting foreign investment.  

Second: The National Suez Canal Corridor Development Project

The National Suez Canal Corridor Development project is very close and related to the Suez Canal Project. It basically targets to maximize the benefit from the Suez Canal great potentials, provide more job opportunities, make the Suez Canal region an international center for navigation, logistics services as well as an industrial center and a gate for trade between east and west.

A number of top priority projects were identified, namely, establishing a major industrial zone near El-Sokhna port over an area of 200km2 and technology valley in Ismailia aiming at providing a million direct job opportunities.

The project aims to connect Sinai with the motherland through 7 tunnels below Suez Canal, including 3 in Port Said for cars and railway line. Also, there are 4 tunnels in Ismailia, two for cars, one for railway line and the other for utilities with a total cost of $ 4.2 billion.

In the framework of the procedures of launching such project, on 11 August 2015, a Republican decree was issued to establish the economic zone of Suez Canal. The decree stipulated that it is considered an economic zone of a special nature by virtue of law provisions no.83 of 2002, and its amendments, the lands in Suez Canal region whose space hits 460.60 km2. Such region includes west Port Said Port, East Port Said Port, the industrial zone in east Port Said, the industrial zone in west Qantara, technology valley, Al-Adabia Port, Sokhna Port, Al-Arish Port, and el-Tor Port .

In order to activate such region, on 8 March 2016, a letter of intent with Singaporean Hyflux Limited Company was signed to establish power generating plant and water desalination station in the economic zone of the Canal (in the area adjacent to el-Sokhna Port). The electric power plant capacity reaches 457 Megawatt and 150,000 m3 of desalinated water. The investment value of both stations are $ 500 million.

Suez Canal Region Constitutes an Adequate Environment for Establishing Fish Culture Projects

This project aims to produce a safe seafood product by 100%. In this regard, on 25 June 2015,500 fish basins out of 1380 were completed during the 1st phase of the fish culture project. The project provides fish and bridging the food gap in Egypt, where the initial production will be ranged from 10,000 to 15,000 tons. The production is targeted to reach 50,000 tons initially.

The project will be implemented through many phases to reach 80 million fry annually. It includes fodder factories, fry hatching and a comprehensive production complex, canning and packaging through many stages. So, the number of basins will reach 3800 at the end of the project. There are many studies with international Spanish and Korean parties to implement the most major project for fish culture in the Middle East which will establish on the Canal banks with a length of 120 km. The researches pointed out that the project will achieve self-sufficiency in Egypt.

East Port Said Port, a Strong Momentum for Suez Canal Corridor Development:

East Port Said Port development is a part of the Suez Canal economic development plan. In this framework, the establishment of East Port Said Port which was implemented in only 100 days (15 November 2015, 24 February 2016) and was dug for a length of 9.5 km, width of 250 m and depth of 18.5m in order to receive the giant oil tankers at a cost of $ 36 million to increase the handling of containers in the port from 2 to 3 million in the first year of the operation. East Port Said Canal contributes to facilitating the entry and exist of the coming ships, from and to East Port Said Port.

Third: The National Project for Reclamation and Cultivation of one million and half Feddans

The project aims to reclaim and cultivate one million and half feddans in order to create an integrated society inside the new lands and achieve a comprehensive agro-industrial development. Moreover, the project aims to narrow the gap between supply and demand of the foodstuffs and reduce imports. 

 This project contributes to increasing the populated area in Egypt from 6% to 10%, in addition to increasing the agricultural farmlands from 8 million feddans to 9.5 million feddans, by an increase of 20%.

On December 30, 2015, at Farafra city, the New Valley, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the first phase of such national project, within a comprehensive plan to reclaim 4 million feddans. The project, which compromises a series of mega national projects, is a part of the program of «a step towards the future».

New Farafra... Initial Step of the Project:

On December 30, 2015, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched the first phase of the 1.5-million-feddan project, at Farafra City, New Valley. The new set up villages, the 2500 housing units under refurbishment, as well as the governmental and office buildings furnished with all utilities, all have been inaugurated.

Additionally, several projects have been launched, including; a station to generate power from solar energy, a water and a sewage treatment plants. Furthermore, the 2500-feddan agricultural village, which will be floated for youth as a 5-feddan per person within the framework of joint-stock partnerships, has been inaugurated. The President also toured the new roads connecting Farafra to northern and southern governorates of Upper Egypt.

Cultivating Ten Thousand Feddans at Farafra:

Within the framework of the celebration held, the first 40 groundwater wells in Farafra area, dug inside youth-dedicated arable 10-thousand-feddans land, were inaugurated. Additionally, 40 irrigation pivot devices were installed, as well as the farmland that was fertilized and prepared for planting seeds within the project of “1.5 million feddans".

Launching Wheat Harvest:

On May 5, 2016, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi launched wheat harvest at Sahl Baraka, within the project of the 1.5 million feddans.

Establishment of Two Agricultural and One Service Villages:

The first stage of the project includes the establishment of three villages; two agricultural and one service-oriented to serve workers in the area. Every agricultural village is set up on 400-feddan area, whereas the service village is built on 800-feddan area and is planned to accommodate a population density of 10-15 thousand. The villages include 2000 farmhouses; each of an area of 200 m2.

In order to provide required housing for staff and personnel working in administrative and service facilities, 40 housing buildings, incorporating a total of 480 housing units were built. Additionally, other utilities, such as; schools, health units, ambulance, police station, civil protection and veterinary units, markets, agricultural company, and others, were established.

Fourth: Establishing New Cities

The establishment of new cities on the current development corridors topped the mega national projects. Among these cities are; East Port Said, New Ismailia, New Alamain, New Administrative Capital, and the integrated city at Galala Plateau. The estimated area of these cities reaches approximately a thousand million meters2, costing about LE one trillion.

(A) East Port Said City:

East Port Said City has been established as per the Presidential Decree No. 222 of the year 2010 dated July 26, 2010, and the Decree of Minister of Housing No. 18 dated January 20, 2015, stipulating the formation of the organizational structure of the million-person city (Level A), as well as the Decree of the Prime Minister No. 1115 of the year 2015 dated May 6, 2015, by approving the reallocation of 19,351 feddans at the region, for the benefit of Armed Forces National Service Projects to be used in fish culture projects.

The project of East Port Said incorporates the 29815.4-feddan million-person city, the 23574-feddan industrial zone, the 17159.6-feddan East al-Tafreia Port, by a total area of 70,549 feddans.

The million-person city includes an urban development Zone; an urban extension of Port Said, in addition to a real-estate investment, an archaeological, marine, and an environmental zone. As regards the roads leading to East Port Said, there is Arish-Qantara Road, Port Fouad ferryboat, and al-Qantara Road East al-Tafri'a road. A project for the establishment of a tunnel (between 18.2 and 19.8 km) and a railway line that reaches East Port Said has been proposed.

B- The New Administrative Capital

On February 8, 2016, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi issued a Republican decree no. 57 of 2016 on allocating the lands south of Cairo-Suez highway, over an area of 166615 feddans, east of the Regional Ring Road, and 17571 feddans west of the Regional Ring Road, in favor of the Armed Forces National Lands Projects Agency, for the establishment of the New Administrative Capital.

The new city will include affordable residential quarters, including economic housing, the government headquarters, a universal medical city, a sports city, a smart village, an international conference hall, an exhibition city, service and educational areas, finance and business zone, modern roads with a width of 120 m, and a green corridor over an area of 7200 feddans.

The construction of the public utilities of the new capital started on April 2, 2016, and the contractors had started working on the project on March 3, 2016.

C- The New Ismailia City

On November 6, 2014, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ratified the decree on the establishment of the New Ismailia City , which is considered the best extension to the current city as regards its location and vicinity to the Suez Canal Development Corridor. Such a city will also realize one of the national security objectives of the reconstruction of Sinai . It will accommodate the population growth and the urban expansion of Ismailia city and the surrounding governorates. This city will also serve the expected workforce in the Suez Canal development projects. It is expected to provide more than 100,000 job opportunities during the construction period.

The New Ismailia city will be established on the eastern coast of the Suez Canal, on the area facing Ismailia city; which is a multi-service residential city, and will mainly depend on the alternative energy sources.

New Ismailia is also considered the first city to pay due attention to the people of special needs in term of the services provided, the escalators, that will take them to inside their homes, thus facilitating the daily tasks of this category without needing any external help .

It will be established over an area of 2157 feddans, along 11.3 km, between the two navigational routes of the Suez Canal. This project includes the establishment of 5754 residential units, 620 semi-detached villas and 373 detached villas, provided with health and social service facilities, in addition to a sports club.

The city will also include 7 districts that will be established on seven phases, each district will include 700 flat buildings and a number of villas with their full utilities and required services like schools, markets, health units and hospitals.

D- The New Alamein City

The new Alamein city is currently under implementation. It will have a unique urban nature in light of its vicinity to al-Ameed Reserve, thus offering a new pattern for the integrated coastal and environmental tourism. The new city will be established by virtue of the Republican decree no. 149 of 2014, issued on May 2, 2014, on the establishment of the new al-Alamein city over an area of 88,000 feddans, south of the coastal road.

On October 9, 2015, construction started in the new city, the matter which is considered the first step towards developing the western-northern coast.

Such area is expected to accommodate around 30,000 citizens during the coming 40 years, thanks to its vicinity to the high density places of the Delta and North Upper Egypt, not to mention its moderate atmosphere and natural resources.

The establishment of the new Alamein city includes several phases. In this respect, an overall strategic sketch for the first phase over an area of 8,000 feddans has been enforced. The detailed plan is currently under preparation.

An Integrated City at Al-Galala :

The Armed Forces Engineering Authority, in collaboration with 53 local civil companies, is implementing an entire city on Al-Galala Plateau on an area of 19 thousand feddans on the top of “al-Galala al- Bahareya” mountain at an altitude of 700m above sea-level, where the temperature is less than 11 degrees compared to that of Cairo.

There is a plan to provide fresh water to Al-Galala city through the construction of a 150,000 m3 desalination plant.

While, the electricity needed for the project will be secured through upgrading the Ataqa power plant in Suez and the wind farms of Zafrana .

There is, also, a plan to establish a tourist resort on an area of 1000 feddans, two hotels (one on the top of the mountain and the other by the beach), and a mall that will be linked to a 17 kilometer road, a cable car “teleferique”, a water park and a yacht marina.

Fifth: The Golden Triangle Project

This is one of the promising national projects in Egypt, which would connect the industrial centers of Qena, Safaga and al-Quseir. It aims to create an economic zone in Upper Egypt through the establishment of industrial, agricultural, economic, trade, tourist and service centers to achieve sustainable development in Upper Egypt. The project covers an area of about 840 thousand feddans extending from Qena governorate in the west to the Red Sea governorate in the east, and from Safaga city in the north to al-Quseir in the south.

Sixth: The National Project for Roads

The National Roads Project is considered one of the most prominent projects sponsored by the State to serve the citizens. It was approved in June 22, 201, aiming to develop more than 4,800 kilometers making up 20.4% of total network, in addition to the surrounding areas. The project, also, envisages the development of 39 roads in two phases, with investments amounting to about LE 36 billion.

In this respect, the total length of paved roads reached 155.213 kilometers until June 30, 2014 facilitating the transportation of more than 95% of goods and persons, while the number of bridges that received maintenance during the year 2014/2015, reached 186 bridges, in addition to the bridges of the international coastal road.

According to the fiscal year 2015/2016, it is scheduled to provide maintenance and repair for 214 bridges at a cost of about LE 500 million, including the maintenance of the River Nile bridges (Warraq - Mansoura - Minya - Qena – Aswan).

The Armed Forces Engineering Authority will build 22 roads with a total length of 2,057 kilometers, of which 19  are finished, including 30 bridges and 11 tunnels.

The Second Phase of the National Roads Project:

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced the implementation of the second phase of the National Roads Project on August 9, 2015, where 600 kilometers would be developed including roads and new corridors. The development projects of this phase, as well, are entrusted to the Armed Forces Engineering Authority.

In this respect, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that 5 thousand kilometers of the National Network Project have been finished, at a cost of LE50 billion, in addition to 135 bridges. He, also, asserted that it is scheduled to finish 150 bridges at a cost of LE 80 billion, besides 2,000 kilometers within the development project of Sinai, by the end of this year.

Seventh: The National Project for the Development of Sinai:

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced on May 5, 2016 that the expenses of the development of Sinai ranged between LE 20-30 billion .These projects include the establishment of fish farms, 15 marble factories, two lines for cement production, industrial zones, agricultural areas (not less than 200 thousand feddans), two sewage water treatment plants  at Sarabium and Al-Salam Canal .

It is worth mentioning that at the beginning of 2015, LE 10 billion were allocated for both the development process and fight against terrorism in Sinai.

The most important projects that have been implemented over the past decades are as follows:

Road Projects:

About 3200 kilometers of main roads to link cities to main villages, and 2150 kilometers of minor roads inside towns and villages were constructed, the most important of these roads are: A road that starts from Qantara Sharq through Ras Sidr and Al-Toor to Sharm el - Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba. Besides, there are a road that starts from Al-Shatt  to Nakhl and Al-Naqap in central Sinai until Taba in the far southeast, the eastern international borders road; Taba - Rafah, the middle  axis (Ismailia - Aljafjavah Al-Hasana, Al-Ouaga ), and the international coast axis (Qantara Sharq - Bir al - Abed – Al- Arish - Sheikh Zuid – Rafah).

There are other projects being implemented during this year (2015/2016)  in the field of agricultural development, on top of which are Al-Amal Village project over an area of about four thousand feddans, the project of new Suez Canal siphon, which is the largest project under the new Suez Canal and an extension of Sarabium old siphon. It aims to provide irrigation and drinking water from Sinai canal, and secure its passage from the new canal to the the farmers in east of Suez, Bohairat and New Ismailia to irrigate their farmlands. This project will contribute to the revival of areas east of Suez Canal and connects development corridor between Sinai and the Nile Valley. It also aims to provide water to reclaim 70,000 feddans in Sinai as a first stage, to be utilized to increase the reclaimed areas in Sinai to 100 thousand feddans as a second stage, of gross national project areas for the development of Sinai which amounts to 420 thousand feddans.

There are other projects such as rehabilitation of Sarabium canal, which is the largest water project under the new Suez Canal to transfer water from the east of the old canal to the east of the new one, to be one of the main arteries that transport water to Sinai with Al-Salam Canal. Moreover, the establishment of a new siphon in Sarabium, next to the current siphon, which will be opened soon, has been declared. The capacity of the new siphon reaches 2 million and a quarter cubic meters per day under Suez Canal to serve the land reclamation in central Sinai projects and to establish a desalination plant, east of the canal to produce drinking water.

In addition, there is Sheikh Jaber Canal Project (second phase of Al - Salam Canal), at a total cost of 62 million pounds, in order to serve about 9,000 feddans at Rab’a area within the North Sinai Development Project. It is targeted to discharge water in all branches of the canal in Sinai before the end of 2016, to provide the necessary water for the cultivation of 420 thousand feddans; the total area of the project.

One of the cultural and educational development projects is Al- Arish University. It comprises faculties of: education, environmental and agricultural sciences, physical education, arts, and science as well as the institute of environmental studies and fisheries. Moreover, three faculties will also be inaugurated, namely; faculties of home economics, trade and medicine.

Arab efforts are joined for the development of Sinai. On March 20, 2016, an agreement was signed with the Saudi Fund for Development to allocate $ 1.5 billion for the projects of Sinai Development  within the program of King Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz to develop Sinai Peninsula, which comprises a number of projects, including:

- A project to create 9 communities at a cost of about $ 120 million.

-  The project of the development corridor road at a length of 90 km and a cost of $ 80 million to serve the new population communities east of  Suez Canal and linking it  to Delta west of the canal.

- A project for the establishment of four rood links at a length of 61 kilometers to link the development corridor in north Sinai governorate in the coastal road adjacent to the  Mediterranean Sea beach at a cost of about $ 50 million.

- The project of King Salman Ibn Abdul-Aziz University in Al-Tor at a cost of about $ 250 million.

- The establishment a three-processing plants to handle the combined wastewater  at a cost of about $ 210 million.

Re-opening As-Salam Bridge

As-Salam Bridge was inaugurated on October 9, 2001. It is built in Qantara Sharq city near Ismailia. Its total length reaches 9.5 Km consisting of four lanes. Its total costs reached about L.E 670 million. The bridge was closed on June 14, 2013, and re-operated on January 13, 2016 after a four-year closure.

It is known that building of this bridge has come within the framework of the national project to link Sinai with the homeland. Moreover, it contributes to pushing forward the comprehensive development projects, carried out on the land of Sinai, whether agricultural, industrial or in the field of mining, and above all, the resettlement of more than 3 million people.

Eighth: The National Project for the Development of Upper Egypt:

The total number of Egyptian villages at the moment reaches 4777 where smaller villages are subordinate to, in addition to 640 residential communities making up 57% of the population of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The number of the governorates of Upper Egypt is 10 inhabited by about 35 million people   representing about 29.7% of the total population of Egypt. Furthermore, the volume of the investments in the socio-economic plan of the fiscal year 2015/2016 that target the development of Upper Egypt, is estimated at about L.E 20 billion.

The Upper Egypt Development Project is considered the future of development in Egypt. Upper Egypt governorates possess many natural, human, environmental and archaeological potentials, as well as agricultural, tourist and industrial investment opportunities. The state endeavors to implement the biggest number of development and service projects in these governorates to meet the needs of the citizens and to provide many opportunities for the youth to eliminate unemployment and advance the Egyptian economy.

Ninth: Jalala Plateau Project:

The Jalala Plateau project consists of three main parts: the main road, and building an international city on the highest top of Jalala Plateau over an area of 19,000 feddans, and establishing of an integrated tourist resort in Ras Abu Al-Darag on the bottom of the hill on the Gulf of Suez, where they are linked through a road at the center of Abu Al-Darag, which is an ascending road of length 17 Km. A cable car supplied by the global leadingcompanies that will connect the city  to the tourist resort is to be established as well as establishing an international water park, in addition to shops, restaurants , among other means of comfortable life in addition to a public beach that is open for all citizens.

The starting point was the building of a road on the highest point of Jalala plateau linking Cairo- Sokhna road with Beni Suef- Za’farana road in order to avoid accidents and sharp curves found in the coastal road ; “West Gulf of Suez".

The main road starts from the tunnel of Wadi Hagoul on Sokhna road until the kilometer 10 on Beni Suef- Za’farana road. The main road is 82 Km long in addition to the building of two connections to link the main road to the coastal one to serve investors, owners of tourist resorts and beaches on the Gulf of Suez.

Tenth: The National Project for Social Housing:

The National Project for Social Housing is one of the most important projects currently carried out to overcome the housing problem through the provision of adequate housing for the low-income young people to provide 500 thousand housing units during the period of 6 years to solve this problem, which is a mammoth obstacle facing the citizen, who dreams to have a suitable apartment at a cost adequate to the level of his income. 

In the light of the growing demand on the National Project for Social Housing, which has reached 370 thousand units within 15 days, the state has worked to increase the target to at least 600 thousand units and will hand over most of them next April.

Eleventh: The National Electricity Project:

President Sisi announced that the National Electricity Project for, which doubles Egypt’s production of 26 thousand megawatts, will cost when it is finished about L.E 400 billion. 

Conclusion:

The most important characteristic of the mega projects is their comprehensiveness and wideness, and their spread all over the country. This contributes in one way or another to achieving the economic balance, and establishing bases of social justice in its Large concept and therefore reducing unemployment and poverty. Furthermore, it contributes on the short and long terms to the re-distribution of the population over a number of new cities in all regions of the Republic, including Sinai and northern coast and their surroundings.

If these projects entirely constitute a solid foundation for a comprehensive development take off in various aspects of economic, urban and social life, among others, they raise hope in a better future that ensures a decent life for every citizen, and keeps at the same time, the right to development for the coming generations.

 

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