a picture of an illegal settlement area.

A few weeks ago, there was a notable and worthy exercise in Egypt. A slum demolition exercise; was carried out in Cairo, the capital city. The world looked on with silent admiration as the inhabitants of Batn-el-Baqara, literally translated as “The Cow’s stomach” were moved from their 40-year-old slum neighbourhood to a new and safer environment. This new area is a planned settlement, given to the new dwellers free of charge by the Egyptian government. Egypt’s slum demolition exercise in Cairo isn’t the first and surely won’t be the last.

Moreover, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, since he came into power has shown concern for the slum areas in the country. Then, there is the issue of illegal buildings. These buildings popped up increasingly when chaos struck the country in 2011.

Egypt’s slum demolition exercise in Cairo will continue to take place until the government has cleared the whole area and moved the residents of these areas into the affordable housing projects.  As far back as 2014, the Egyptian government has been destroying slums in the country. Unplanned settlements have the tendency to be hazardous and dangerous to the lives of their inhabitants.

A lot of people have lost their lives due to building collapse. Also, living in the slums comes with terrible conditions. The residents of these slums and unsafe buildings encounter a lot of hardships. From lack of adequate social amenities, floods, presence of dangerous reptiles, for example, snakes coupled with dirt and filth.

Again, Egypt’s slum demolition exercise in Cairo will continue until the government has cleared the whole area and moved the residents of these areas into the affordable housing projects. President Abdel Fattah’s Tahya Misr Fund, launched in 2014, has been working on a strategy to get rid of the country’s shantytowns and re-house slum residents. These include but are not limited to the towns of Establ Antar and Ezbet Khair Allah and El-Deweika.

The Asmarat Social Housing Project. Photo Credit: Egypt Today.

In 2016, the Egyptian government brought up a housing project. This housing project seeks to demolish or otherwise upgrade these slums while relocating about 850,000 people. The country is dedicated to worldwide sustainability goals, which, in part states that cities must be made safer and more habitable by the year 2030.

The residents of Batn-El-Baqara have now been moved to Asmarat, a city outside of Mokattam area in Cairo. It was established to host residents of hundreds of slums that would be demolished. The apartments are furnished and have appliances such as fridges and stoves, and the entire area has a comprehensive infrastructure, green areas, and youth clubs.

Egypt’s slum demolition exercise in Cairo is one worth emulating by other leaders, especially those on the African continent. President Abdel-Fattah promised to relocate residents of slums to new flats and he isn’t going back on that, he is doing exactly that. Nevertheless, without its own costs and hindrances.

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