Republished: Mahmoud Reda - A pioneer of folk dance    FACTBOX: Fifteen centuries, two faiths and a contested fate for Istanbul's Hagia Sophia    Injured Henderson to miss rest of season for Liverpool    BREAKING: Turkish court rules to let Hagia Sophia return as mosque    On 5th anniversary of his death, DNE celebrates the life and career of Omar Sharif    UEFA Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draw    Egypt's Sisi urges unceasing efforts to face economic challenges of COVID-19    Olympic trials to be China's only international sport event this year    Post-Trump era a possibility, Europeans see no quick fix to US ties    Japan nightclub 'hotspots' must follow coronavirus rules to stop spread: Government    Scenes from hell: 1995 Srebrenica genocide    No agreement so far on GERD technical, legal points: Egypt    GERD talks find no breakthrough for 7th straight day    Tehran denies US seizure of Iranian arms on way to Houthis in Yemen    Al-Mashat signs 6 grant agreement worth $90m with USAID    Ethiopia's Nile Dam: Myths and Facts    Egypt partners with IFIs on 13 agricultural projects valued at $545.42m: Al-Mashat    Egypt's annual urban inflation rises to 5.6% in June: CAPMAS    Turkish verdict paving way for Hagia Sophia mosque expected Friday : Officials    Iran's coronavirus cases exceed 250,000, says Health Ministry    COVID-19 pandemic in Africa is now reaching 'full speed'    Google shuts down cloud project, says no plan to offer cloud services in China    EU stocks cautiously higher as economic recovery hopes take hold    Misr Emirates Takaful Life Insurance's premiums rise 40% in FY2020    U.S. stock indexes held steady after Nasdaq clinches new record    Egypt won't accept any formulations that disregard its concerns over Ethiopia's Dam: Irrigation ministry    Facebook takes down accounts, pages of U.S. President Trump's Roger Stone    Egypt records 1,025 new coronavirus cases, 75 deaths on Wednesday    Egypt's Mohamed Salah double keeps Liverpool on track for points record    Egypt repeats call for UN-guided ceasefire in Libya: Shoukry    Women's rights activists say silence of sexual assault victims remains main challenge    Healthcare professionals conduct 80% of FGM in Egypt: UNFPA    Egypt keeps domestic fuel prices unchanged    Egypt Environment Ministry, JICA cooperate to remove single-use plastic bags    Russia offers technical assistance to 3 countries in Ethiopian Dam negotiations    Senate vote in August    1,057 new coronavirus cases in Egypt Tuesday – health ministry    Swvl reveals security breach, but bank details safe    Culture Ministry to document architectural heritage of Egypt    Like father, like son: Ahmed Khaled Saleh acting star in the making    Farwell to 74-year old Egyptian military production minister El-Assar    U.S. President Trump slams Washington Redskins as team re-evaluates name    Egypt reopens 5 museums, 8 archaeological sites and operates 171 international, domestic flights    Egypt's Zamalek to continue training Thursday, but domestic league participation unclear    Federation of Egyptian Banks denies funding GERD: eletreby    Egypt to host World Handball Championship on time despite COVID-19: EHF President    Egypt's parliament Oks amendments to House law amid differences over election    CAF draws timeline for resumed continental championships amid COVID-19    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Six years of Sinai development
Published in Ahram Online on 28 - 04 - 2020

Last weekend, on 25 April, Egypt commemorated Sinai Liberation Day, an occasion that also served to remind us of the considerable developmental efforts the government has dedicated to Sinai since the 30 June 2013 Revolution. The government is determined not to repeat the mistakes of previous governments whose developmental efforts focused on the geographical centre at the expense of peripheries. It has therefore focused attention on the provinces, especially those in Upper Egypt and Sinai, with hopes of transforming them into areas attractive to both people and investment. Development of Sinai has the additional aims of combating terrorism and generating communities that contribute to bolstering Egyptian national security in its broader aspects.
Sinai has already undergone a huge transformation during the past six years thanks to the new quality of attention it has received since 2014. The first priority was infrastructure, the cornerstone for drawing investment. New cities and industrial zones received a good share of such efforts which aspire to build a better life for Egyptians living in Sinai. This applies, in particular, to North Sinai where the Egyptian army has been engaged in a comprehensive and successful operation to eliminate the terrorism that threatened people's lives and welfare. This campaign has been carried out in full coordination with local governing bodies to ensure the provision of basic foodstuffs, healthcare, social services and other essential needs.
The national budget offers one way to gauge the transformation of Sinai, whether through short-term spending through the Ministry of Finance to enable government agencies to perform their daily job of providing basic services to the people, or through mid and long term investments undertaken by the Ministry of Planning in order to create the economic environment Sinai needs in the future.
Huge resources, exceeding LE 600 billion, have been pumped into Sinai, sowing the seeds of a radical transformation. These seeds are tangible in infrastructural developments: the networks of roads and tunnels passing beneath the Suez Canal, linking different parts of the peninsula with the Delta, Nile Valley and other parts of the country; the water desalination plants to serve various developmental purposes and make it possible to invite larger numbers of residents; the renewable energy plants to serve and nurture the growth of diverse economic activities in industry, tourism and agriculture; and, of course, the new schools, hospitals and other such facilities to safeguard the health and build the minds of the people of Sinai. After all, the people are both the engine and the aim of all development efforts.
The numerous projects to build, expand and raise the capacities of schools, educational administrations and staffs in Sinai testify to the high priority the government has given to public education in the peninsula. For example, the number of pre-university level classrooms has increased from 4,793 in 2016 to 5,021 in 2019, which is a higher classroom growth rate than in Cairo.
Figures related to the health sector are on par with or higher than those in other parts of the country. The armed forces have already constructed major public hospitals in Al-Arish and Sharm El-Sheikh and, in anticipation of a growing population in Sinai, the National Sinai Development Plan aims to increase the number of hospital beds to 6,000 through the construction of 54 public hospitals operated by the Ministry of Health and another 23 private sector hospitals.
Contrary to claims in some inaccurate and misleading reports abroad, the government aims to narrow the developmental disparity between Sinai and the Nile Valley and the Delta. It wants to end that vicious cycle that has long kept Sinai down as one of the poorest regions in the country. This cycle begins with a relatively sparse population that offers only a small market, which does not encourage investment. The lack of prospects of economic growth and employment, in turn, drives Sinai inhabitants to the Nile Valley and Delta, which reinforces the cycle and aggravates the disparity. Through many measures to stimulate and develop productive sectors, taking advantage of the many resources Sinai has to offer, the government hopes to attract investment and create opportunities that will not only serve as incentives to the people of Sinai to remain in Sinai, but also to attract new inhabitants away from Egypt's overcrowded urban centres elsewhere.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 30 April, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under headline: United we stand

Clic here to read the story from its source.