How Egypt Deals with Informal Areas

Source: The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Author(s): Mohammed Ezz

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Established by presidential decree in late 2008, Egypt’s Informal Settlements Development Fund (ISDF) has come to the forefront in spearheading efforts to eliminate so-called “slums” or “informal settlements.” Since its creation in 2008, the ISDF has launched various projects to map out these areas, such as Duweiqa, and plan related intervention policies, dealing with residents and relocating them to other housing projects. By working with local authorities and the Ministry of Housing, the ISDF aims to “achieve social justice and ensure citizens’ rights to adequate, safe housing, and developing their economic status,” improving their economic situations in comparison to the areas where they previously lived.

Such interventions, however, had a detrimental effect on the social and economic conditions of people living in these unsafe areas. Most ISDF interventions were focused on Cairo, particularly in the districts of Downtown and Old Cairo. These interventions mainly end with the eviction of dwellers for the sake of land value and investors’ development plans, instead of effectively guaranteeing the rights of inhabitants and helping them maintain their work and livelihood.


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