QENA, (The Southern African Times) – The modern road and transportation projects implemented by the Egyptian government, especially in the south of the country, represent a “qualitative leap” that would accelerate development rates and open the door wide to investments, according to Egyptian experts.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated on Saturday a number of road projects worth 18.155 billion Egyptian pounds (1.155 billion U.S. dollars) in Upper Egypt, which is the least developed, most needy, and the poorest region in the North African country.
As many as 125 companies, with more than 80,000 engineers, technicians and workers, have participated in the implementation of these projects, according to the Egyptian Minister of Transport Kamel al-Wazir.
During the inauguration ceremony, al-Wazir said that the recently inaugurated projects in southern Egypt come within the framework of a vision that was set to achieve a number of goals, including contributing to the comprehensive development plan, attracting more investments, stimulating trade, achieving security and safety rates as well as creating job opportunities.
About 1.7 trillion Egyptian pounds were allocated from June 2014 to June 2024 to implement projects in all transport sectors, noting that 474 billion pounds for road and bridge projects, 225 billion pounds for railway projects, and 837 billion pounds for electric traction projects.
Meanwhile, Alaa Abed, head of the Transport and Communications Committee in the Egyptian parliament, said the projects that have been inaugurated, including road axes on the Nile bridges and tunnels, will accelerate the rates of economic and social development in Egypt.
The Upper Egypt has suffered for decades from the lack of development, while the region is now witnessing mega projects in all fields within the framework of an integrated and comprehensive vision, Abed told Xinhua.
“The unprecedented achievements that Egypt is currently witnessing open the door wide to foreign and national investments,” he said.
For his part, Saeed Hassan, head of Al-Saada Contracting Company, said that the leap that Egypt is currently witnessing in the field of transport, especially in the fields of roads and bridges, has never happened in its entire history in terms of quality and time for implementation.
“I expect that these projects would strongly help attract investments and establish new urban, industrial and investment communities, in addition to providing job opportunities,” Hassan, whose company is implementing some road projects in Upper Egypt, told The Southern African Times.
He pointed out that most of the projects currently being implemented are carried out by Egyptian companies, whether governmental or private, noting that this confirms the experience and capabilities that Egyptian companies have reached to implement mega projects inside and outside Egypt.
Karim Al-Omda, professor of transportation economics, emphasised that transport and roads mainly represent the “backbone” of any economy and serve as a locomotive for investments.
“We all suffered from overcrowding in Cairo for long periods of times, and this was one of the reasons for the reluctance of investors, in addition to the poor road networks and the modesty of logistics services,” he said.
“These projects increase the strength of the Egyptian economy and make it more flexible. They also double the confidence of international economic institutions in the Egyptian economy and improve its financial and economic indicators,” he added.
In April, Egypt launched the second phase of its economic reform program that was initiated in 2016, targeting structural reforms in industry, agricultural, communication and information technology sectors.
The Egyptian government aims to achieve a growth rate ranging between 6 to 7 percent at least over the next three years, in addition to reducing the total deficit to 5.5 percent.