The development of southern Egypt .. Did the migration of the Upper Egyptians to the north stop?

Cairo Nour crossed her thirtieth year without marriage, so she was forced to accept the first Tariq for her door from her hometown in Minya Governorate in the south.

The groom returned to his hometown, leaving the capital, where livelihoods were narrowed in the field of construction, in a reverse migration that observers see as the hope to ease the suffocation of Greater Cairo from its 25 million population, after Upper Egypt recently became a focus of government attention and a destination for private investment.

This hope may be supported by a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics, confirming the decrease in immigrants from the governorates of Sohag and Qena, two of the governorates that expel the most population in Egypt. Although the report did not He specifies a specific percentage of immigration decline, but he pointed out that the reason is the investments that have been made in the past seven years in Upper Egypt.

Billion projects

In this context, he pointed out Hisham El Helbawy The Director of the Upper Egypt Development Program – the supervisor of the “Dignified Life” project at the Ministry of Local Development – indicated that the cost of development projects in Upper Egypt reached 400 billion pounds (a dollar equals 15.71 pounds) over 8 years, before the introduction of the “Decent Life” initiative to develop the Egyptian countryside.

AndIn televised statements, Helbawi said that the number of factories in Upper Egypt It increased from 500 factories to 800 factories within two and a half years, and a large number of Upper Egypt women participated in the “Our Heritage” exhibition with their products inside and outside Egypt.

On the reason for starting the program in the governorates of Sohag and Qena in particular, he explained that they occupy the first and second ranks in poverty, unemployment and immigration rates, noting that the program began in 2018 with the participation of the ministries of Planning, Finance, Trade, Industry and International Cooperation, and the Ministry of Local Development that oversees the program, with a funding of 500 million dollars from the World Bank.

He affirmed the implementation of 3,589 projects at a cost of nearly 10 billion pounds, while other projects worth 8 billion pounds are being implemented, noting that the program contributed to helping 7 million citizens from the two governorates, and also provided 299,000 permanent jobs and about 10 million temporary jobs.

In Upper Egypt, the crisis of the huge accumulation of people in a narrow strip hanging from the north of Egypt to the south is highlighted, in a special geography that made it a narrow valley between the eastern and western plateaus, divided by the Nile River to irrigate agricultural lands that are decreasing due to urban sprawl.

According to official data, the population of Upper Egypt is 36 million, or one third of the Egyptian population, and they live on 16.1% of the country’s total area.

Densities of residential areas, especially in major cities in Upper Egypt, increased to more than 450 people per acre, with high rates of urban sprawl in cities on agricultural lands (1,500 acres annually), which led to poor efficiency of services and facilities, according to official data.

exclude reverse migration

In this context, the head of the Egyptian Center for Media and Public Opinion Studies, “Integration of Egypt” researcher Mustafa Khodari, believes that the Upper Egyptians are migrating north in search of better opportunities, and they are emerging in economic sectors whose market share is greater than the governorates of Upper Egypt can absorb, such as the contracting sector and the clothing and textile trade cafes and bakeries.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Al-Khudari says, “Where there is success, there is stability, so the migration of the Sa’idah is not only for economic reasons, but there are also scientific and social reasons.”

Al-Khodari ruled out the occurrence of a reverse migration from Cairo and others to Upper Egypt, explaining that the migration of the Upper Egyptians to Cairo was linked to their practical successes and the formation of capital that could not be easily abandoned, especially since Upper Egypt governorates do not absorb these businesses if they are transferred to Upper Egypt, as well as to their formation of new social ties.

According to the demographic study prepared by the Egyptian Center for Media Studies and Public Opinion “Integration of Egypt” in early 2019, 28% of the population of the governorates of Greater Cairo are of Upper Egyptian origin, and Sohag governorate topped the list of governorates that feed Greater Cairo with population by 9% of the population of Cairo. grand.

In terms of economic capacity, the study showed that people from Upper Egypt own 39% of private real estate assets, 40% of commercial activity, 34% of industrial activity, and 31% of service activity in the governorates of Greater Cairo (Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia).

Reducing northward migration

In turn, the journalist writer Sayed Amin – who belongs to the Qena governorate in the south – confirms that the ongoing projects will undoubtedly contribute to limiting the migration of Upper Egyptians to Cairo and the north.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Amin believes that these projects can attract a reverse migration from Cairo and Alexandria to the southern regions, and “if livelihoods narrowed in Greater Cairo, it would be the preferred destination abroad, especially Europe, and not return to the roots,” according to his description.

He explained that one of the factors affecting the impact of any development work or industrial projects on the targeted area is that it is linked to the environment, that it is safe and sustainable and has an appropriate return, so that the sons of Upper Egypt do not have to think about migrating north.

On many occasions, the local media refer to the situation in Upper Egypt as a year between two phases.

On the occasion of Sisi’s inauguration of a number of projects in the south, local media recalled the poverty rates until 2014 (the year President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took office after the 2013 overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi), which revolved around 40% in Aswan and Beni Suef, and 58% in Sohag. In Qena, in addition to the high unemployment rate, which ranged between 10% in Qena and 15.3% in Aswan.

In addition to the high illiteracy rate, which ranged between 14% in Luxor and Aswan, and 30% in Assiut, this coincided with limited investment in economic plans, spatial isolation, and a low level of quality of life, according to official data.

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