Egypt proritises Upper Egypt development with $2.9bn investments – minister

The community programme, which is applied in Upper Egypt, aims to push development in Sohag and Qena governorates to make them more attractive for investments and to improve the life standards of their citizens, said Minister of Planning on Wednesday.

“The state puts Upper Egypt governorates as a priority with a total public investment allocation of 47 billion pounds ($2.9 billion) in the financial year 2020/2021 budget, accounting for 25 percent of the total public investments with a 50 percent increase compared to the financial year 2019/2020”, Hala El-Said added.

El-Said made these comments during a meeting attended by the ministers of international cooperation and local development to follow up on the implementation of the programme and the possibility of implementing it in Assiut and Minya, Ahram Online reported.

She said the total allocations for the programme are 7.9 billion pounds over four years starting from the financial year 2017/2018, including an 2.9 billion pounds of public investments for development programmes in Qena and Sohag.

The government is working to improve a module of integrated regional and local development that can be applied in all governorates, saying that the programme is based on investment pumping, corporate development, local capabilities and working system improvement, in which the governorates are able to moderate community development effectively, El-Said added.

The programme’s steering committee is chaired by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly with the membership of the ministers of planning, local development, finance, international cooperation, trade, and industry.

The programme is one of the national programmes that targets curbing poverty through an overall local economic development approach in addition to improving access to public services and utilities in 666 villages, El-Said clarified.

She added that the engagement of Minya and Assiut governorates will achieve the regional dimension of the programme, through which the programme will support services and joint utilities among the targeted governorates and link them to trade points, domestic and international markets.

The two governorates have 370 of the poorest villages including 144 villages with a poverty rates exceeding 70 percent of the villages’ population, according to the statement.

Minister of International Cooperation Rania El-Mashat said the programme is financed with a $500 million loan extended by the World Bank and targets attaining the sustainable development goals and raising economic growth rates.

She added that the programme is the first of its kind to be financed by the World Bank to serve the Upper Egypt region and helps in achieving six sustainable development goals which cover poverty eradication, clean water, appropriate work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, curbing inequality, responsible consumption and production through 46 projects.

For his part, Minster of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy said the programme aims at boosting the competitiveness of the economic sectors and business climate, improving the infrastructure and the management system, supporting production blocs in order to stimulate investments, and upgrading the governmental services extended to the businesses.

He added that five million citizens will benefit from the programme out of 8 million citizens in Sohag and Qena, adding that the total allocations that were appropriated according to the World Bank’s loan recorded 5.8 billion pounds for the first phase until the financial year 2019/2020.