With a promise of land reclamation for Egyptians, then presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was the first to discuss the possibility of reclaiming 4m acres of land, making it a key part of his economic platform.
During an interview with an Egyptian satellite channel, Al-Sisi showcased maps and discussed his ideas on how the land would be reclaimed. Al-Sisi said that the land contained “good soil and access to water to allow this.”
In his plan, Al-Sisi targeted offering between 50,000 and 100,000 acres of land to various Egyptian governorates to help with housing, agriculture and industrial projects. The distribution of these lands would be overseen by the state.
Following Al-Sisi’s election
A year after Al-Sisi’s election as president, developments in the project have been progressing at a snail’s pace.
He assigned the Ministry of Agriculture to start urgent operational plans to accelerate the implementation of field irrigation development in the Delta and the Nile Valley. The project was prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture to irrigate 5m acres and reclaim 1.5m acres as part of a national project for land reclamation.
In previous announcements made by the Affairs Sector Vice President at the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), the authority said it started reclaiming 10,000 acres in Farafra, located in the New Valley.
An official statement released by the presidency in June 2015 stated that more than 500,000 acres of land have been reclaimed for agricultural use and community development in 2014.
After June 2015
In October, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly announced that NUCA would make the initial investment in the mega project. Giovana Ceglie, representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s in Egypt, said that the organisation will participate in the project.
Earlier this month, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hussam Moghazy stated that the implementation process on the project will start before the end of this year. He added that the first phase will include the reclamation of 0.5m acres in Minya, Marsa Matrouh, Qena and Toshka.
Moghazy said that the additional 1m acres will be reclaimed within three years. Currently, the infrastructure of the land is being prepared and water wells are being drilled.
The latest announcements were made by Minister of Agriculture, Essam Fayed, who mentioned that 10 specification documents were prepared for the first phase of the mega project.
Fayed pointed out that these documents would set how Egyptian and foreign investors as well as university graduates would use the land. He added that studies on the types of land and the climate of each area had been finalised, adding that plots were specified and maps were drawn up for the project.
On 6 December, Fayed headed a meeting that included 11 other ministers at the General Authority for Reconstruction Projects & Agriculture Development to discuss the mega project’s development.