Forty percent of all Greater Cairo residents live in informal housing, according to a Ministry of Housing source, as reported by the privately owned daily Al-Shorouk Monday.
The unnamed source said that most of these informal neighborhoods, covering some 24,000 acres, were built on agricultural lands. He added that the deteriorating living conditions in Greater Cairo are a consequence of the huge population increase in the second half of the twentieth century.
In 1922, an estimated one million people lived in the area now known as Greater Cairo. By 1973, that number had jumped to six million. Today, the population is 18 million.
The source said that development had not kept pace with the growth in population.
“With these population leaps, the concept of Greater Cairo developed, including Cairo, Giza, and Qalyubiya [governorates], and their urban extensions that are connected with random narrow streets,” he said. “Those streets look in aerial maps as single blocs of population, even though they are administratively divided between the three governorates.”
If no measures are taken to control internal migration and lower the birth rate, Greater Cairo is expected to be home to 25 million people within the coming two decades, he said.
“The population increase in Greater Cairo will jump to 475,000 annually out of one million, Egypt’s overall annual population rate increase. Cairo is expected to rank thirteenth in the list of the world’s most populated cities, surpassing Beijing, Jakarta, Istanbul and Moscow,” he added.
The source warned that measures should be taken to narrow the gap between living conditions in Greater Cairo and other governorates, from which people continue to migrate.