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Egypt among top 20 countries enhancing living conditions in slums
Published in Daily News Egypt on 27 - 05 - 2010

CAIRO: A new report puts Egypt among the top 20 countries rated for efforts to enhance living conditions in slum areas while its capital Cairo ranked 35 among the world's most powerful cities in 2009, according to a study conducted by the Information and Decision Support Center at the Cabinet of Ministries.
Over the past 20 years, cities have been occupying more and more space in Egypt as new suburbs are built and entirely new cities are sprouting in the desert, said the study titled “The Egyptian City: Features and Characteristics.”
Meanwhile, the government has put the problem of squatter settlements on top of its agenda, stated the study.
Meanwhile, a recent report by Amnesty International, which quoted figures collected by the Ministry of State for Local Development in 2007, estimated that 12.2 million people live in 870 informal settlements in Egypt, more than half of them are believed to reside in Greater Cairo.
The Egyptian government continues to struggle to move slum residents to formal housing facilities. While many of the victims of the 2008 Duweiqa rockslide in Cairo remain homeless, residents of Zerzara slums in the coastal city Port Said were crushed after challenging an eviction order earlier this month.
There are 246 cities in Egypt in which 31.4 million people live, totaling 43 percent of the country's overall population.
The four largest cities in Egypt are Cairo, which has 21.5 million residents; Alexandria, with 12.9 million residents; Giza, with 9.3 million residents; and Shubra El-Kheima in Qaluibeya governorate which has 3.3 million residents.
Together the four cities make up 47 percent of the urban population in Egypt.
There are 258 hospitals serving urban residents in Egypt and 21,000 schools and educational institutions.
The study also addressed the average family spending annually, stating that it has doubled between the period of 1995 and 2009. While a family in the urban areas of Egypt spends around LE 20, 700 annually, a family in the rural areas spends around LE 15,000.
Furthermore, 68 percent of families in rural areas own the house they live in, as opposed to 43.8 percent in urban areas.
Cairo is ranked number 17 in the megacities around the world and is expected to hold the same position in 2025, said the IDSC study.
In addition, in 2009 Cairo was ranked the second most expensive city to live in, in North Africa after the Algerian capital.
When compared to other cities around the world, the study concluded that while Cairo is one of the largest cities in the world, it holds an average position in terms of the services it offers its residents and is relatively low in terms of economic and financial wealth when compared to other cities around the world.
Cairo, Egypt has been ranked the second city with the highest level of population congestion, as found by Forbes magazine, stated the study.
Moreover, 65 percent of Egypt five-star hotels are built in Cairo, Giza, Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurgada, while 193 cities have no hotels at all.
While Cairo and Giza are home to most of Egypt's modern monuments, Red Sea resorts Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada are among the world's prime diving destinations, attracting millions of tourists every year.


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