Transportation Corridor for Sustainable Development in Egypt: Enhancing Science-Based, Fast-Track Economic Growth Featured

25 Jan 2016
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By: Dr. FAROUK EL-BAZ*

Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University, Boston MA 02215, U.S.A.

1  ABSTRACT

In January 2011, the youth of Egypt revolted against a corrupt government, which lacked vision and imagination.

They had lost hope in a bright future for Egypt – a vast country whose population remained confined along the Nile River and Delta. Its cities and villages are severely overcrowded, and its education and health systems cannot cope with the dense population. In addition, over the past 20 years, fertile land has been lost to urban growth at the rate of 30,000 feddans per year. At that rate all of Egypt’s fertile land of 5.5 million feddans would disappear in 183 years. Thus, there is a dire need for major changes, including the opening of new land for living, not only for the present 80 million people, but also for the expected addition of 60 million by the year 2050.

This proposal of a Development Corridor is designed to solve the looming crises. It includes a north-south axis starting at a new port near El-Alemein along the Mediterranean coastline. This axis would run parallel to the Nile Delta until the latitude of Cairo then southward parallel to the Nile Valley to the border of Sudan, a total of 12,000 kilometers. It would include an eight-lane highway, a railroad track, a water pipeline (about one meter in diameter) from Lake Nasser for human consumption and services, and an electricity line to be connected to the main grid for future production of solar energy.

The living area east of the north-south axis would be served by at least 12 east-west branches to connect the main axis to densely populated cities along its path. The new strip of land that would be open for development in the plain between the north-south axis and the inhabited land is 10.5 million acres. This is nearly double the presently used land area. This expanse of land would be utilized in new urban communities, education cities, hospitals, agriculture, agro-industries, factories, sports arenas, tourist sites, etc.

Such a major project would require a decade to complete; perhaps the first five years would be devoted to the east-west branches to immediately ease population pressures. Another five would be devoted to establishing the main north-south transportation and energy axis. However, form the start, young people would either secure jobs in the building phase, or plan for economic development activities along the east-west branches, with hope for a better future.

2 INTRODUCTION

Younger generations of most Islamic-majority countries are disillusioned by the status quo. They see the world around them develop and prosper, yet their own countries lag behind in all critical development indicators. The revolt of Middle Eastern youth in what is known as the “Arab Spring” paints a clear picture. These young people belong to a technically astute information generation; they wish to end unemployment and underemployment; they seek an opportunity to excel and innovate; and they are willing to compete with their equals worldwide.

The problem is that in most of these countries, and particularly in Egypt, the political system has been stagnant for over a half century and became incapable of considering change. Thus, new approaches must be offered to entice the young generations to focus on the future with a perspective that is different from that of the status quo. Such approaches require implementation of decades-long, visionary projects that promise great economic and social development.

It has been repeatedly proven throughout history that adequate transportation routes and mechanisms are essential to social and economic development. From the time of establishing the Egyptian State some 5,000 years ago, the Nile served as a mechanism to transport people, news, products, armies and tax collector – all aspects of a unified, sustainable state. Similarly, the Greek, Roman and Muslim dominions assured the ease and security of travel within the boundaries of their vast territories. More recently, European development was greatly assisted by the ease of transportation at the rise of Western Civilizations. It is also clear that the east-west railroad followed by the federal highway network allowed the United States to better utilize its vast natural resources to reach its present position of prominence.

Figure 1. Trace of the proposed Development Corridor on a satellite image map of Egypt.

In the case of Egypt, it is not possible to foresee establishment of a modern network of transportation systems within the confines of the Nile Valley and its Delta, because that would further encroach on agricultural land. The fertile soil within the inhabited strip of Egypt was deposited by the Nile River over a million years, and it is irreplaceable. In the meantime, the growth of population negates the potential of continuing to utilize only 5.5% of the land area. Thus, it is imperative to open new vistas for expansion outside of the inhabited strip. This requires innovative solutions to the space problems that face Egypt today, which will be multiplied by population increases in the future.

The proposed Development Corridor (Figure 1) would allow modern transport over strips that add up to 2,000 kilometers. This particular zone was chosen because of its unique natural characteristics. It is basically flat with a gentle northward slope from west of Aswan to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (Figure 2, left); the lack of topographic prominences makes it easy to develop, particularly for urban and industrial growth (El-Baz, 2006 and 2007a & b).

 

Figure 2. Topographic data (left) and sand distribution map of Egypt (right).

This strip of land is also devoid of east-west crossing valleys that are prone to flashfloods, as in the case of the Eastern Desert. It passes through (in the north) or close to (in the south) vast tracts of fertile soils that are amenable to reclamation; most of such regions have potential for groundwater resources. The strip is also comparatively free of sandy areas; it is not crossed by lines of shifting dunes as in the case of regions farther to the west (Figure 2, right). Furthermore, the region is endowed with plentiful sunlight and persistent northerly wind. These conditions allow the generation of renewable solar and wind energy in the future.

3  CORRIDOR COMPONENTS

The proposed infrastructure of the main north-south axis of the Development Corridor includes: (1) a superhighway to be built using the highest international standards, 1,200 km in length, from west of Alexandria to the southern border of Egypt; (2) at least twelve east-west branches, with the total length of approximately 800 km, to connect the main axis with high-density population centers; (3) a railroad for fast passenger transport and two-way shipping of products; (4) a water pipeline from Lake Nasser or the Tushka Canal for human consumption and services, such as fuel stations and rest houses along the main axis; and (5) an electricity line to be available for large scale generation of solar (and wind) power in the future.

 

3.1 North-South Highway

The superhighway of the north-south axis of the Development Corridor runs parallel to inhabited land from Egypt’s Mediterranean Sea coastline to its border with Sudan. Its distance from fertile fields varies from 10 to 80 kilometers, based on the nature of the crossed land. It begins at a point close to El-Alamein, perhaps near El-Hammam, to be selected for the establishment of a new international port. Egypt requires a technologically advanced port to serve future needs of import and export.

Near the southern terminal point, branches extend to Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel, and the Tushka depression – all regions that have promise in development of fisheries, tourism, and agriculture, respectively. The highway ends at the border with Sudan to allow future extension to better link the two neighboring countries. Ground links between Egypt and Sudan are essential for the proper development of the economies of both countries.

The aforementioned characteristics of the superhighway require the establishment of a private sector organization to manage the road and its maintenance. The organization would be responsible for manning the toll stations, providing emergency services, and maintaining the utility of the superhighway. Naturally, such an organization requires a specific mandate and clear laws and regulations by the Egyptian Parliament to assure the safety and utility of the highway, while placing limits on excessive government regulations or company profits.

3.2 East-West Branches

These are four-lane highways with parallel rail tracks to be oriented in a roughly east-west direction to connect the north-south axis to the main centers of population along the length of Egypt (Figure 3, left). They assure easy transport between the overpopulated cities of Egypt to the main production areas and the outside world. Such branches may include, at least, the following:

Alexandria Branch: an east-west branch that connects the main north-south axis to the road leading to Alexandria, its port and airport. This northernmost branch of the highway extends eastward through the Nile Delta coastal highway to Rosetta, Damietta, Port Said, and to El-Arish in northern Sinai, as well as Rafah at the border of Palestine. The westward extension leads to Mersa Matrouh and Sallum and onward to Benghazi, Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers and Casa Blanca along North Africa’s coast.

Figure 3. Sketches of the main north-south transportation axis (left) and the east-west branches (right) of the proposed Development Corridor.

Delta Branch: This connects the north-south axis to the heart of the Nile Delta, at the beltway of Tanta city. The branch would be a straight line in the open desert and then follows the existing road leading to Tanta. It may be elevated in certain sections to limit encroachment on fertile land. It also might require a new bridge over the Rosetta Branch of the Nile River. From its terminal point at Tanta, it connects with roads leading to cities and towns throughout the Nile Delta. This would assure better links between the Delta and the rest of Egypt, and the world.

Cairo Branch: This connects the north-south axis with the Cairo-Alexandria desert road and farther east to Cairo. It opens a large territory for new communities, government offices, and other facilities, away - but not too far - from the capital city. An eastern extension would link it with upgraded roads leading to Maadi and further to the east all the way to Suez. This would allow the use of cargo land transport between Alexandria and Suez (the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea) as an alternative to the Suez Canal when necessary.

Faiyum Branch: The loop around the Faiyum Depression would allow the development of the desert north of it by establishing sites for industry to the west and tourism in the east as well as new communities along the proper segments. It also would allow the initiation of solar energy generation along a swath of land that receives the highest concentration of solar rays. In fact this location would be most appropriate for the so-called “Desertec” project for concentrated solar energy generation in the Great Sahara, as stated below.

Bahariya Branch: This branch improves the existing road to the Bahariya Oasis, which is the northern link to the New Valley Province. It would complete a loop connecting the oases of the Western Desert with the Nile Valley. It would also allow further development of the natural resources of the Bahariya depression including ore deposits.

Minya Branch: The city of El-Minya has been one of the major population centers from ancient times. However, like other southern cities, little development has reached its shores because of the centralization of economic development projects in and near Cairo. It has a university and can generate numerous avenues for local and regional development if it were better connected to the national market. A similar setting is that of Sohag farther to the south, where another branch has appropriately been suggested.

Asyut Branch: This case is identical to that of Minya. In addition, the city of Asyut has an airport that could be upgraded for more efficient human and industrial transport. It is also the end point of the road from Kharga Oasis, the capital of the New Valley Province. This road was paved over part of the ancient Darb El-Arbain (track of the forty days), the road of camel caravans connecting the Nile Valley and the oases of Selima as well as Darfur in northwestern Sudan. The road may be upgraded and revitalized for better connection with northwestern Sudan.

Qena Branch: This connector would open - for agricultural development - a vast area south of the Nile from the Qena Bend in the east to Nag Hammadi in the west. This plain represents fan deposits of streams that were more active during wetter climates in the past; therefore, it would be underlain by groundwater resources. It is significant to note that the extension of Wadi Qena to the east promises to be viable for expansion of agriculture. In addition there is a road and a parallel rail track that connects Qena to the Red Sea, thus making an eastward link to the Red Sea, in addition to that of Suez farther north.

Luxor Branch: This is a unique case that would allow unlimited growth of tourism and recreation on the plateau that overlooks the largest concentration of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites. It allows the erection of hotels and resorts on top of a magnificent plateau overlooking the Nile Valley. The views of the Nile Valley in the distance below the plateau with sail boats and green surroundings amid a bright, rose-colored desert are unique. That vantage point would rival any other worldwide. The territory is virgin and the land strip is pristine, having never been used in the past. Its development in eco-tourism would have no equal anywhere in the world.

Kom Ombo-Aswan Branch: More than the Qena branch, the Kom Ombo-Aswan segment opens up a vast tract of fertile land west of the Nile for reclamation. The region once hosted a channel of the Nile; segments of its ancient courses were recently revealed by radar images from space. Because of geological reasons, the Nile shifted its course consistently eastward to its present location. Therefore, the abandoned land to the west would include fertile soil of ancient Nile sediments. This makes it an excellent location for the expansion of agriculture west of the Nile. The Aswan segment connects to the city of Aswan. It would allow the transport of products to and from the northern parts of Egypt and the outside world. It would also allow the expansion of winter recreation resorts and tourism near the many archaeological sites near Aswan and west of the High Dam region.

Tushka Branch: The north-south axis goes through the northeastern edge of a major depression, where a canal from Lake Nasser has created the Tushka Lakes. This region is slated for agricultural expansion. It is presently devoid of an adequate transportation infrastructure. The Development Corridor provides all necessary mechanisms to transport people, material and products to and from the region. Thus, it would alleviate present problems of the Tushka agricultural project.

Lake Nasser Branch: This connector is to be selected at a site that is amenable to the development of a major fishing port along the shores of Lake Nasser to the north (downstream) of Abu Simbel. Plentiful fish from the lake could be transported via the railroad to distribution centers throughout Egypt. The branch might also increase the potential use of Lake Nasser for eco-tourism.

3.3 Modern Railway

Egypt was among the first countries to establish a rail system in the 19th century; the first rail track connected Cairo and Suez as far back as 1854. Thus, its rail tracks are very old and were laid on relatively soft soils that do not allow fast movement by heavy loads. Thus, the need exists for an advanced rail system to serve present and future requirements of trade and economic development. A rail track parallel to the north-south highway would serve that purpose. As deemed necessary by railroad experts, connecting tracks should be established along all the east-west braches to facilitate efficient transport of people and products all along the Development Corridor.

The north-south axis of the Corridor ends at the southern border of Egypt along the Edfu-Selima camel caravan route, which is part of Darb El-Arbain. At this point, a short segment of road would connect it to the shores of Lake Nasser across from the town of Wadi Halfa, near the southern border to link with eastern Sudan. Thus, it would facilitate transport between Egypt and the main cities and town of Sudan.

In the meantime, it is envisioned that plans should be made to extend the proper segments (e.g., the road and railroad) of the Development Corridor southward to Khartoum and Juba. In the future there must be an easy way to link people and products of Egypt and Sudan. From ancient times, linking the Nile people in the north and the south was of great advantage of both.

Roads and rail tracks have been the backbone of economic development plans worldwide. For example, in the early phases of its development plans during the past half century, India upgraded the transportation infrastructure in the center of the subcontinent from its northern tip at Srinagar through Delhi all the way to Bangalore, and along both coastlines through Kolkata to Chinnai in the east and through Mumbai in the west (Figure 4, left).

Furthermore, a plan for the economic development of Palestine envisioned an arch-like development corridor. It is a proposal based on a study supported by the Rand Corporation (Vaiana et al., 2009). It called for a sweeping infrastructure along a corridor linking urban centers within and between the West Bank to link all its towns (Figure 4, right), with a possible extension to Gaza to assure a sustainable Palestinian State.

3.4 Water Pipeline

No development could be assured without the presence of freshwater. Northern areas of the path of the north-south axis promise the existence of groundwater, specifically west of the Nile Delta. However, a pipeline of fresh water (from the Tushka region) is required to run the length of the north-south axis for human consumption and services along its path. It is envisioned that a pipe of about one meter in diameter would provide the necessary resources for this purpose.

Figure 4. Development corridors in India (left) and a proposed one for Palestine (right).

Agricultural and industrial development along the east-west branches would be supplied by groundwater resources. In some cases it might be necessary to extend subsidiary canals from the Nile as conditions might dictate at various locations.

The length of the required pipeline is about 1,100 km. This is less than half that of the Great Man-Made River Project (GMRP) in Libya. In the latter case, the main pipeline is four meters in diameter, and is buried under seven meters of soil. Water is supplied from numerous wells with smaller pipelines (1.6 meters in diameter) to feed the main pipeline. In comparison, the proposed pipeline for the Development Corridor is neither technically difficult nor economically taxing to accomplish.

For the water from the Tushka Lakes (or Lake Nasser, if advisable) to be lifted onto the plateau requires pumping-up less than 300 meters. However, it would flow northward along the topographic gradient without any need for energy. It is even possible that the water flow down-gradient might be usable to produce mechanical energy that can be converted to electricity or used for light industries along the length of the north-south axis.

3.5 Electricity Line

Initial phases of the proposed project require energy for lighting, refrigeration, etc. Therefore, supply of electricity is one of the requirements of the project. The required power can be first supplied by any one of the power plants along the Nile Valley as deemed appropriate.

Urban communities, industrial plants and agricultural farms to be initiated along the east-west branches should be encouraged to utilize solar and/or wind energy resources as much as possible. This encouragement can be in the form of tax breaks or grants from the Egyptian Government or international environmental agencies.

In the meantime, the erection of an electric line to be connected to the main grid is a vision toward the future. The segment selected for the north-south axis of the Development Corridor is known to be part of the driest place on Earth, where the received solar radiation is capable of evaporating 200-times the amount of rainfall (Henning and Flohn, 1977). Thus, this region is the most appropriate for solar energy generation in all of Great Sahara of North Africa. It would be ideal for the generation of concentrated solar energy in the future. Thus, erecting an electricity line connected to the power grid of Egypt would limit the cost of solar energy generation in the future. This way, Egypt would present the best example for generating solar energy on a large scale. It would give credibility to the Desertec concept, which was developed by an international network under the direction of German physicist Gerhard Knies and HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. (For more information see: http://www.desertec.org/en/global-mission/).

 

4 PROJECT BENEFITS

The evaluation of the pros and cons of the proposed Development Corridor is naturally left to others. The only question that comes to mind that I could not answer is “how long it would take to secure a return on the investment of such an elaborate infrastructure?” This question can only be answered by the experts based on a detailed economic feasibility study.

In the meantime, it is possible to list the benefits of the proposed Development Corridor for the social and economic development of Egypt. These benefits may be enumerated under the following sub-headings:

4.1 Utilizing New Land

Opening of 10.5 million feddans of land in a strip that is directly adjacent to the present living area of Egypt allows the initiation of thousands of new development nodes. Figure 5 indicates the location of that strip just west of the presently used space. Utilization of this added space is essential for two reasons. First, it is the necessity to provide land for urban growth away, but not too far, from the fertile land. As stated above, the latter is being destroyed at the rate of 30,000 feddans per year by urban encroachment. Continuation of this alarming rate (average during the last 20 years) would mean that all the fertile land of Egypt would disappear under cement in 183 years! The second reason is that Egypt must provide for the growth of its young population. It is estimated that the population will increase by 60 million people by 2050. Thus, development plans must provide the space and the opportunities for such an increase in population

4.2 Upgrading Transportation        

Providing transportation arteries, with the potential of future expansion, away from the fertile land of Egypt is essential to saving the irreplaceable fertile Nile soils. It has been repeatedly proven worldwide that a viable and modern transportation network and ease of movement are critical requirements of progress and development. In the meantime, any plans for additional roads or rail tracks within the fertile valley would encroach on the productive land. Thus, there must be a visionary way to deal with transportation mechanisms in Egypt, which are required for both present and future needs. In addition, starting the north-south axis near El-Alemein allows the potential of building a new international port to serve an expanding maritime activity. This requirement would underline the need for removal of the landmines left by warring parties during WWII in that region. For as long as the area remained uninhabited, there was no urgency to do this. However if the mine clearing necessity is to be presented to them as a prelude to major economic development, then England and Germany would contribute to the initiative. This is exactly what the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation plans to do.

Figure 5. Usable flat land (white strip) west of the Nile and east of the Development Corridor.

4.3 Countrywide Development 

Allowing varied development initiatives along the whole length of Egypt, particularly in its undeveloped southern provinces, is one of the great facets of the proposed project. It is historically known that Egyptians are emotionally tied to, and prefer not to venture too far from, their town or village of origin. It is for this reason that the east-west branches are designed to gradually extend from dense population centers along the Nile, one kilometer at a time. More significantly, the east-west branches are distributed equally along the length of Egypt to provide equal opportunities throughout the land, particularly in the less developed southern parts.

4.4 New Urban Communities          

Encouraging economic growth is necessary in all aspects of development, including urban communities, industry, agriculture, tourism, services, etc. The addition of a vast area (10.5 million feddans) to the utilized space (5.5 million feddans) opens up the potential for development in all its forms. Most significant is the potential for urban growth, including cities, villages, new schools, universities, hospitals, sports arenas, etc. This also allows the expansion of industries of all sorts away from population centers and taking the wind direction into consideration (see Figure 3, right). Also, the placement of the main transportation axis above the plateau allows future expansion of storage facilities, packaging of agricultural products, etc., on a strip of land that could not be used in agriculture or human dwelling.

4.5 Groundwater Resources           

Limiting agricultural expansion to areas with proven groundwater resources excludes use of additional quantities of Nile water for crop production. It alleviates future problems of Nile water volume committed to Egypt. This is doable because the flat land west of the Nile and east of the Western Desert plateau is partly covered by fertile Nile silts and numerous fans of wadis. This land has also been proven to be underlain by groundwater resources. Numerous areas have been utilized in agriculture using local water as shown by the 8 examples in Figure 6. If only 10% of that flat strip of land is good enough for agriculture, it would mean the addition of more than one million feddans to Egypt’s 5.5 million now under cultivation. This would help in assuring food production for the growing population.

4.6 Utilizing Solar Energy   

Erecting an electricity grid infrastructure would allow large scale utilization of future solar power generation along the north-south axis of the Corridor. The proposal of an electricity line along the main axis assures the initiation of this costly infrastructure at the outset. In reality, the electricity line is not essential to the function of the Development Corridor in the initial stage. The required energy could be produced locally at each location as necessary. However, the establishment of that infrastructure at the outset would limit the expense and necessary linkages of solar power generation in the future. To the west of the north-south axis, in particular, energy from the sun has been measure to be higher than anywhere else in the world. Solar radiation in that part of the Earth is able to evaporate 200-times the amount of received moisture (Henning and Flohn, 1977). Thus, Egypt should certainly plan now for how to fully utilize this unutilized resource in the future.

Figure 6. Examples of eight areas in the flat land east of the north-south axis of the Development Corridor where groundwater resources have already been used for agriculture. Wells were drilled by local communities to water cropland, some by circular spray irrigatiom.

4.7 Public Financing

Suggesting project financing by issuing bonds to Egyptians first allows the government to subsidize more urgent projects in the Sinai and elsewhere. It is clear that the Development Corridor opens up unlimited potential for growth and development throughout Egypt, particularly for future generations. For this reason it is conceivable that its funding would be based on issuing bonds. These could be offered to Egyptians first, in country and abroad. In reality, the estimated 8 to 12 million Egyptians working abroad could substantially contribute to the project’s initiation. If the collected funds were not enough, the bonds could be offered to Arab investors, and if that would not be sufficient, to international investors. If that is accomplished, then the government may commit its scarce resources to more pressing development programs. As stated above, these include such projects as the development of the Sinai Peninsula, which has been neglected for too long. It also includes regions of the oases of the New Valley Province and the wadis of the Eastern Desert, as well as viable segments of the northern coastal region.

4.8 Southward Extension    

Establishing possible future extension southward to Sudan assures the potential of benefits from commercial exchanges with African nations. Thus, extending the north-south axis of the Development Corridor, or at least essential parts of it, to Sudan is a visionary possibility. Egypt has for long neglected its role as a major African nation. For this reason it is suggested to consider the future extension of the Development Corridor southward all the way to Cape Town (Figure 7). Several east-west connectors would link major parts of the continent. From the economic development point of view, Egypt should at least consider the potential of trade between African nations and others. During 2010, the trade volume between China and African countries added up to $141 billion. The same between India and Africa was $35 billion, and between Brazil and African nations reached $24 billion. Thus, Egypt could become the outlet of a major component of this vigorous trade activity. This should be seriously considered because this trade is expected to increase in the future.

Figure 7. Sketch of the possible extension of the Development Corridor from Alexandria in the north southward to Cape Town to serve as a north-south link throughout Africa.

5 CONCLUTION

It is my firm belief that the Development Corridor is a viable project that uses the special characteristics of the geology and the geography of the land. It offers the best possible way to assure younger generations of Egyptians of a better future. Only through giving our youth numerous possibilities to think, innovate and create in a new and expanding environment would Egypt be able to regain its glory. Anyone who considers the project’s basic features, thinks about what it adds now, and analyzes its future benefits, would strongly support it. What is required at this stage is to support a detailed economic feasibility study.

During the past twenty years, I have repeatedly written and widely lectured on the proposal at universities and research centers throughout Egypt. Audiences receive it with great enthusiasm and consider it ideal for a “national project,” that is something the whole nation, and particularly its youth, can get involved in its planning, execution and utilization.

The Egyptian Government initiated a preliminary study in 2006 that assured that the project assures the social and economic viability of the country. It further suggested the increase of east-west branches from 12 to 15. It also estimated the total cost to be $23.7 billion. The proposal is expected to undergo the required detailed feasibility study by a non-governmental organization in the future. Naturally this will have to await the stability of the nation after the numerous ‘aftershocks’ that followed the ‘earthquake’ of the revolution of 25 January 2011.

It is envisioned to involve experts from universities and research centers in the study and evaluation of various aspects of the proposed project in the future. It would also be necessary to plan the training of workers in numerous fields for employment in the various aspects of the project. In addition, each governorate or province should be able to initiate lists of the kinds of development projects that could be established in their territories once the project begins.

Because the project is proposed to assure a better life for future generations, it is advisable to involve the young in the planning process. University students could compete for prizes in recommending projects on either side of the east-west branches of the Corridor. High school students could be given opportunities to compete for other prizes for naming the east-west branches and the new towns and villages to be established along them. If a large number of people become involved in the project, it would have a better chance for being considered a “national project,” one that the society as a whole would own and protect.

From the earliest times of recorded history, civilization blossomed among groups of people who were collectively able to achieve: (1) production of excess of food, for the growth of their bodies and minds; (2) division of labor among the society, in a fair and well organized manner: and (3) easy living in urban areas, where some of them could create and innovate.

Therefore, Egypt needs to satisfy these three conditions before paving the road for the re-spread of civilization along the banks of the Nile River. It is my belief that the proposed Development Corridor would go a long way toward achieving these goals. This needs strong faith in the resilience of the descendents of the energetic builders of the Pyramids. It would require a mere generation or two for this development initiative to bear fruit. This is not a long time in the long history of Egypt – a country that deserves a distinguished position among great nations now and in the future.

 

References

El-Baz, F., 2006, Desert development corridor: Into the Sahara. Beyond, Supplement to Al Ahram Weakley. Spring 2006, 11-17 May 2006, p. 1+7-9.

El-Baz, F., 2007a, Development Corridor: Securing a Better Future for Egypt. El-Ain Publishing House, Cairo, Egypt. 167 p. in Arabic + 19 p. in English.

El-Baz, F., 2007b, Use of a desert strip west of the Nile Valley for sustainable development in Egypt.      Bulletin of the Tethys Geological Society, Cairo University, Egypt, March 2007, v. 2, p. 1-10.

Henning, D. and Flohn, H., 1977, Climate Aridity Index Map. United Nations Conference on Desertification, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.

Vaiana, M.E., Anthony, D.R. and D. Suisman, D., 2009, the Rand Palestine Initiative. Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, California. (For more information see the following web site:   http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/corporate_pubs/2009/RAND_CP562.pdf)

 

* Dr. Farouk El-Baz is Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Arab Academy of Sciences and Islamic World Academy of Sciences. He served as Science Adviser to the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, and member of the Higher Council of Science and Technology in both Egypt and Jordan.

 

Last modified on Sunday, 18 June 2017 11:00
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