Egypt’s ambitious journey towards a Smart Cities Future

Egypt’s ambitious journey towards a Smart Cities Future

Egypt’s ambitious journey towards a Smart Cities Future

In an era marked by rapid urbanization and environmental challenges, Egypt stands as a beacon of innovation in the realm of smart cities.

With over 105 million inhabitants, of which more than 47 million dwell in urban areas, Egypt is the 14th most populous nation globally. Addressing the need for efficient infrastructure and services in these burgeoning urban spaces, Egypt has embarked on an ambitious smart cities program. This initiative is not just about urban growth; it’s a concerted effort towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 by 2030, which seeks to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

Egypt’s Urban Transformation: A Historical Context

Since the turn of the millennium, Egypt has made commendable strides in urban development. A significant achievement includes the drastic reduction of urban populations living in slums – from 42.2% in 2000 to a mere 0.9% in 2018. Despite this progress, challenges like air pollution, traffic congestion, and waste management persist, necessitating innovative solutions.

The Smart Cities Program: A Multi-Phase Approach

Launched in 2016, the first phase of Egypt’s Smart Cities program, funded with over 39 billion Egyptian pounds (US$1.25 billion), focused on redeveloping 312 unsafe areas. The ongoing second phase, with a budget of 318 billion Egyptian pounds (US$10.25 billion), aims to revitalize informal areas by 2030, combining state funds with contributions from the Informal Settlements Development Fund (ISDF).

Envisioning Egypt’s Future Cities

The New Administrative Capital (NAC), located 45 kilometres east of Cairo, epitomizes Egypt’s smart city vision. This flagship project is intended to ease Cairo’s congestion and serve as a model for sustainability in the Middle East. It will house government ministries, foreign embassies, residential neighbourhoods, and cultural hubs, all while being powered by renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines.

Sustainable development expert Hussein Abaza highlights the integrated nature of these new cities, featuring efficient transport networks, eco-friendly housing, and green spaces, all underpinned by advanced technology.

Beyond the Capital: A Nationwide Initiative

Egypt’s smart city blueprint extends beyond Cairo. New Alamein, New Mansoura, and New Luxor are among the several smart cities under development, promising to bolster tourism, industry, and cultural opportunities. These cities are set to generate jobs and attract both domestic and international investments.

Technology and Sustainability: Core Pillars

Professor Islam Rafat, an urban planning expert, notes that Egypt’s approach is a regional model for sustainable development. The emphasis is on leveraging technology, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT), to create livable, resilient urban spaces. A notable aspect of this initiative is the development of green mass transit systems, including monorails and electric buses, enhancing connectivity and environmental sustainability.

Addressing the Slum Challenge

Despite progress in slum reduction, the issue remains significant, with 22 million Egyptians still living in slums. The smart cities program offers hope, yet there is scepticism about whether these new cities will be affordable for the average Egyptian, given the national poverty rate and wage levels.

In conclusion, Egypt’s journey towards smart cities is a complex but hopeful narrative of urban renewal and sustainable development. By integrating modern technology with thoughtful urban planning, Egypt is not just reshaping its cities but also setting a precedent for the future of urban living in the Middle East and beyond.

Post source : ANGDavis Associates

About The Author

Neil Davis is the Technical Director of Highways.Today, and the MD of ANGDavis Associates. A Civil Engineering Consultancy with over 75 years of real international contracting and consultancy experience.

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