El-Sisi’s order to paint Egypt’s ‘uncivilized’ buildings puzzles residents

President El-Sisi has led a drive to make Cairo and Egypt more beautiful. (AFP file photo)
Updated 25 January 2019
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El-Sisi’s order to paint Egypt’s ‘uncivilized’ buildings puzzles residents

  • Buildings in cities must be painted “dusty colors,” while coastal buildings will take on shades of blue
  • Egyptians question whether cosmetic improvements to buildings should  be a top priority

CAIRO: A decree from Egypt’s president to paint all the country’s red brick buildings in an effort to make the country more beautiful has been criticised by residents.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has ordered buildings in cities must be painted “dusty colors,” while coastal buildings will take on shades of blue, according to the decree.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the buildings will be colored based on a scheme reflective of the area.

“The plan is to have unified colors for the buildings instead of this uncivilized scene,” Madbouly told a cabinet meeting last week.

Provincial leaders have been told how crucial it is to improve the appearance of urban and rural settlements.

According to Madbouly, each governorate will have a certain color scheme.

Governors will be given deadlines and those who don’t comply with the decree will be fined.

The decree comes as a part of a move to improve and restore the overall appearance of Egypt’s different governorates.

But many Egyptians have questioned whether cosmetic improvements to buildings should  be a top priority for a government of a country facing a massive housing crisis.

“Enforcing monetary penalties on people to have more dusty-colored buildings sounds problematic to me,” Ahmed Mostafa, a Cairo resident, told Arab News. “Painting buildings will not help solve Egypt’s housing problem. There are millions of homeless people who can’t even find a red brick building to live in.”

The changes already have started in Khedival Cairo are, with painters and workers on-call to paint the buildings.

Red-brick building are common in the Egyptian capital, accommodating up to 11 million people - nearly two thirds of the vast city’s population. 

Urban planning expert David Sims, author of “Understanding Cairo: The Logic of a City Out of Control,” said there are an estimated 10 red-brick buildings in Egypt.

last year, the Egyptian government vowed to eliminate slum neighborhoods from Egypt and to put an end to informal housing by the end of 2019. The slum areas house up to 40 percent of the Egyptian population. Approximately 14 billion Egyptian pounds ($782 million) was allocated to complete the project.


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