Nature Middle East | House of Wisdom

El-Baz wants to solve Egypt’s problems from space

Following the recent and ongoing political upheaval in Egypt, Farouk El-Baz, the Egyptian-born director of Boston University’s Center for Remote Sensing, is suggesting his major development corridor construction project as a solution to Egypt’s biggest problems again, hoping the new government may be more attentive.

The project envisions building a “new Nile basin” parallel to the original river to the west, but one of asphalt instead. He wants to have an eight-line superhighway from Sudan to the Mediterranean, connected to all the major cities along the Nile basin. This should ease the population encroaching along the fertile Nile basin and offer millions of new land for agriculture and industry, El-Baz tells The Boston Globe.

El-Baz has been trying to sell his idea to successive Egyptian governments since Hosni Mubarak was president. While Mubarak’s governments was unresponsive, the first government formed after his ouster was excited about it and started selling the project as “Egypt’s salvation.” This government was dissolved under heavy protesting however, and the project was shelved again during the rule of Mohamed Morsi, the recently ousted president. Now, El-Baz is hoping the new government might bring the project, which would cost a whooping US$23.7 billion, back on the table.

There has been vast criticism of El-Baz’s project in Egypt, with some claiming it was overly optimistic, some arguing it was unaffordable and others suggesting the new population centres created would be prone to serious water shortages. El-Baz, who has been working for 30 years on this vision, refutes these claims and offers solutions to the problems. The funding, he says, should come from the private sector which would reap economic rewards immediately and the water can come from Nasser’s Lake, the large water reservoir at the High Dam.

You can read the full article at The Boston Globe.

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