Since the first constructions to the infamous Suez Canal in 1869, enabling even container ships to navigate between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. This has given rise to an industrial and commercial center in the seaport city of Suez, with 5 ports to date.
The business activities that take place in the city itself are for all intents and purposes strategically regionally allocated in 4 main neighborhoods:
Suez, which is among the oldest areas, accommodates the majority of governmental facilities and buildings.
Arba'een houses the largest number of inhabitants, hence also commercial activities.
In Ataqqa the industrial area is found. Local production is dominated by the petroleum sector, as well as one international commercial port.
Lastly, Ganayen “Gardens” largely covers the agricultural land.
This establishes a solid, structured foundation for the implementation of smart projects.
First and foremost, there is a need for political stability and civilian safety required, precedent to urban project implementation. Additionally, the government wishes to maximize the use of domestic energy resources as well as to develop the capacity of its energy sector.
As Egypt maintains its knowledge-based and private-sector led economy, the country envisions to adjusting to international developments. At the Egypt Economic Development Conference 2015 the government identified the key challenges to sustainable development as follows:
o physical resources;
o energy, land, water, and environment, human development resources;
o population, health, and education, inadequate governance system, and disincentivized innovation
In terms of urban development, an integrated dynamic urban plan spanning from historic to modern urban elements is envisioned to increase urban space by 5% and replace and develop slum areas, in tangent to maximizing efficiency in an energy-water-land equilibrium. Water being a highly volatile resource, with a water deficit of around 17.9 billion cubic meters per annum; the UN estimates that Egypt could face water scarcity by 2025.
The expansion of the Suez Canal is one of the 4 major sustainable development projects taking place in Egypt this decade. With the new 35km long annexing artificial waterway, vessels can now navigate up- and downstream, maximum waiting time has been reduced by 70%, reducing trip cost altogether. Thus, the river’s vessel capacity has been increased to sustain the expected growth of world trade.
At the UN Summit for the Adoption of the post-2015 Development Agenda, President of Egypt el-Sisi remarked that a further sustainable development target is to achieve self-sufficiency by “restoring Egypt’s status as a major agricultural state”. This will be attained by the so-called “1.5 million Feddan Project”.
Looking ahead, the country is developing its strategy for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with the aim “to position Egypt as a global digital hub”, capitalizing on the unique geographical location and abundant young workforce. Specific components of the strategy:
o GDP and competitiveness are increased through regulatory reforms, necessary institutional framework and structural measures to accelerate private sector participation.
o Expand basic infrastructure (broadband optic fiber networks, cloud computing, submarine cables)
o Support innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives and encourage linkages between ICT industries and Universities
o New innovative approaches for PPP projects to foster private involvement in public-led projects