Upper Egypt Local Development Program (UELDP)
In 2016, Egypt launched its Sustainable Development Strategy “Vision 2030”, reflecting the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda adapted to the local context. Yet, geographical disparities threatened the achievement of Egypt’s vision 2030 as well as its contribution to the SDGs. In line with articles 27, 176, 236 of the 2014 Egyptian constitution highlighting the importance of the development of rural and upper Egypt, the Government of Egypt (GOE) and the World Bank (WB) launched the Upper Egypt Local Development Programme (UELPD) in 2017, which piloted in Sohag & Qena Governorates. It has inspired further scaled-up state-owned actions to address sustainable and inclusive development.
Lack of sustainable growth opportunities and poor access to services were strongly manifested in ten governorates in Upper Egypt. Qena & Sohag figured as two of the poorest Governorates. Accordingly, UELPD was piloted in the two Governorates to address the existing development gaps with its social, economic and environmental dimensions. UELDP worked on improving basic service offerings and invigorating local economic development at local level, while observing the social & environmental safeguards. This was made possible through national and international partnerships. It introduced national policy reforms that demonstrate Egypt’s commitment to inclusive & sustainable development embodied in poverty reduction, improving people’s lives and reducing disparities.
UELDP was instrumental in GoE’s efforts to reduce disparities & localize sustainable development. Implementation required inter-ministerial collaboration; whereas, the international partnerships built secured funding & developed operational mechanisms. Local Governments empowerment enhanced matching community needs & boosted water, sanitation, connectivity, industrialization, local economic development, employment generation & waste management services. UELDP inspired national policy actions to reduce disparities & mobilized resources for the development of more than 1500 villages across Egypt.
Under the guidance of the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee, UELDP enhanced Local economic development & service delivery by expanding Local Governments’ mandates. It established Local Implementation Units (LIU) in each Governorate to facilitate participatory investment planning & implementation of Annual Investment Plans. LIUs were supported by Local Economic Councils (LEC) comprising of members from the private sector. LIUs’ capacities were built in community consultations, Public Capital Expenditure Planning, procurement & contract management, environmental & social risk management to allow them to invest in sectors beyond their traditional scope. Additional capacity building efforts in spatial planning, asset management, engineering design & supervision are underway to improve planning. Disbursement-Linked indicators were jointly developed by GoE & WB to sharpen the focus of monitoring & encourage results-based management at local level. Through four planning cycles, more than 3700 projects were implemented and changed peoples’ lives. In collaboration with MPED, UELDP introduced a formula-based allocation system for public capital expenditure. The formula was the fruit of joint efforts from Ministries of Finance, Local Development, and MPED. It accounted for population, urbanization level, and poverty-levels to determine governorates budget allocation. In 2018, MPED issued a Ministerial decree roll-out the formula-based allocation system in all 27 Governorates of Egypt. This action resulted in the mobilization of resources directed to the poorest Governorates and inspired the initiation of “Decent Life” Programme in 2019. Funded entirely by the GoE, “Decent Life” is working on developing the basic services in more than 1500 of the poorest village across Egypt.
Joint efforts yielded 340% increase in Public capital investments to the poorest Governorates reaching 1.85 billion USD (SDG10,17). Results indicate improved connectivity, with more than 288 km of roads built & paved (SDG9). Industrial infrastructure upgrade gave rise to 12% increase in industrial zones occupancy (SDG8). Service improvement was marked by 232 km of drinking water networks, 18 sewage pumping stations, 9.5 km of irrigation canals upgrade, solar power plant, installation of 11200 lighting poles, 278 km of insulated wires & ground lines & the establishment of 27 firefighting & 8 traffic units in more than 138 villages (SDG6,7). Actions taken following the COVID19 outbreak improved resilience of health institutions and alleviated its effects (SDG3). At least 50% of the 5 million beneficiaries are estimated to be women (SDG5). As a result, poverty fell by 1.06% and 3.79% in urban and rural Upper Egypt respectively compared to levels recorded in 2017/2018 (SDG1,10).
UELDP benefited from a strong political support, reflected in the inter-ministerial Steering Committee composition. Co-funding favored ownership by GoE and gave way to national policy reforms. Interventions focused on lowering barriers to public & private investments, seen as root causes of poverty & disparity. Local government empowerment advanced implementation & ensured sustainability, whereas citizens’ engagement ensured correspondence to development needs.
Institutional reforms & improved capacities of Local Government, which ensure ownership & steadiness of progress, are crucial elements to sustain and replicate the outcomes of the practice. Other elements include: participatory capital investment planning which promotes transparency & satisfaction of community requirements, improved business environment promoting local economic development, and environmental and social impact assessments at project level signaling high commitment to SDGs. Another element is the formula-based public capital expenditure allocation system introduced nationally which marks Government ownership & commitment to sustainability. The resulting resource mobilization allowed replication through “Decent Life” program, extending & up-scaling the program to more than 1500 village across the country, relying on the operational model developed by UELDP and the enhanced capacities in Central and Local Governments and the inter-ministerial partnerships established.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a swift emergency plan was put in motion to enhance the local health system resilience, support preventive measures and alleviate the economic impacts caused by lockdowns. UELDP facilitated an interagency agreement between the Governorates and the Ministry of Health to increase local hospitals receptive capacities and medical equipment and supplies. After a brief interruption, the programme promptly shifted to new tools to resume its support through virtual meetings and trainings. Immediate actions to support the participation of local businesses and in local exhibitions helped alleviate the cashflow crunch caused by the downturn of economic activities.
SDGS & Targets
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Deliverables & Timeline
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Southern Upper Egypt particularly Qena and Sohag governorates.