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Government Directs Developmental Efforts to Upper Egypt as President Visits Aswan

1 February, 2017
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Last weekend, the city of Aswan witnessed the second state-sponsored National Youth Conference, which Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi opened and headed.


The president decided to establish a Higher Authority for the Development of Upper Egypt, with investments of up to EGP 5 billion, to enhance public services, create employment opportunities, maintain Nubian monuments and generally improve living conditions in Upper Egypt.


Sisi said the government aims to make Aswan “the capital of the African economy and culture”, adding that he gave instructions to the government to improve the quality of living for those in Upper Egypt.


On the sidelines of the conference, government officials took a stroll through Aswan, and a number of developmental projects were signed off on for approval.


The Social Development Fund signed three agreements, one with the Aswan Businessmen Union worth EGP 2.37 million to fund micro projects, am agreement worth EGP 1.48 million with Al-Araby Center for Services and Development for the project “My Art is the Future” from which 250 people will benefit and 200 job openings will be provided, and a final EGP 1.5 million agreement with Omm Shelbaya Foundation to train 70 youth for employment and provide 50 job posts.


“Upper Egypt has a priority for funding infrastructure that attracts tourists,” said Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, adding that the ministry allocated $500 million to develop Upper Egypt, provided by the World Bank and approved by parliament.


Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 80% of national production and over 75% of exports, and are thus a priority for the government, Nasr stated. The minister decided to dedicate 30% of funds to SMEs in Upper Egypt. “Small and micro enterprises have a high capacity for both qualified and nonqualified labor,” the minister said.


“Development will not happen unless it is comprehensive and sustainable, and with the participation of all classes in society,” she said.


The minister visited Aswan along with its governor, Magdy Hegazy, and the head of parliament, Ali Abdel Aal, to inspect established developmental projects and learn about the challenges facing the residents of Aswan.


The minister and the parliament head paid a visit to Al-Hagar Nagaa to inspect a EGP 1 million project to renovate Al-Gaafra Lake, which made noncontracted labor available for the duration of four months. Abdel Aal asked Nasr to further fund the project, and the minister immediately complied.


“Upper Egypt will be at the heart of developmental plans. The president’s visit and holding the National Youth Conference in Aswan has had a vivid significance,” said Abdel Aal, who was born in Aswan.


Abdel Aal stated that Aswan’s infrastructure and health units will be a point of focus. He also agreed with the minister to increase funds for developing Aswan’s central hospital.


“For the first time, a minister has visited the most impoverished areas in Aswan,” Abdel Aal added.


Meanwhile, Nasr said that she is keen to collaborate between the ministry and the parliament in order to improve the people's living conditions.


The ministry and its partners work to enhance the tourism sector in Upper Egypt through supporting SMEs that attract tourists, a Monday minister statement said. The ministry has poured more than $200 million from the World Bank into Giza, Luxor and Aswan’s service sectors for projects that include drawing on papyrus and glass, the governorates’ industrial sectors for projects such as pottery and arabesque, and their trade sectors for touristic bazaars.


The ministry also provided $36 million from the US Agency for International Development for the renovation of the monuments and their surrounding areas and the training of those working in the tourism and antiquities sectors.


Spain donated 31 million euros through the ministry to protect and preserve monuments in Luxor’s West Bank and the Giza pyramids, as well as workers and students in the sector.

Tags Aswan Development parliament