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Helping the tanners
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 06 - 03 - 2010

FINALLY, a solution has been reached for the problem of the tanneries in Sur Magra el-Oyoun region in southern Cairo. Because these tanneries have caused a lot of environmental pollution in this historic region, it was decided to move them elsewhere.
A specialised complex for leather industries has therefore been created in Robiki. Its infrastructure has already been completed with Egyptian-Italian finance. It costs LE500 million.
To encourage all tannery owners to move to the new industrial zone, the Cairo Governor has agreed that each one should be given a tannery in the new zone, of the same size as his one in Sur Magra el-Oyoun region.
The Governorate will also give them LE4,500 in cash per square metre for their old tanneries.
The aim is to clean up this historic region of Cairo and turn it into a tourist site.
If this giant industrial project is well planned, it could help Egypt become a prominent leather manufacturer again.
Arab tourists used to love buying Egyptian leather goods, as the quality was better and they were also cheaper than Italian products.
However, for the past decade, this industry has been in decline in Egypt, forcing most leather manufacturers to import the raw materials, especially from China, whose leather is cheap, though the quality is poor.
This industrial complex shouldn't focus solely on producing leather for export as a raw material to countries like Italy.
Leather manufacturers should co-operate with their Italian counterparts to turn Robiki into a centre for producing leather products with traditional Egyptian quality and Italian elegant designs, at reasonable prices for the local market and export.

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