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Golden Triangle Project in Upper Egypt: Potential and challenges

The Egyptian state is witnessing a massive development revolution through the implementation of many huge national projects aimed at advancing the Egyptian economy and improving the lives of citizens, and taking into account standards of sustainability and environmental preservation. The state has paid special attention to the development of Upper Egypt, which has suffered from neglect and marginalization for many decades, even though it is full of promising natural resources, including agricultural, natural, mining, and human resources.

The Golden Triangle project is one of the most important national projects within Egypt’s Vision 2030. The project contributes to achieving sustainable development for the Upper Egypt region within the framework of the state’s comprehensive development strategy. The golden triangle means the area enclosed between the governorates of Qena on the western side, the Red Sea governorate on the eastern side, and the cities of Safaga and Qusayr to the north and Qusayr to the south (the tip of the triangle is the city of Qena and its base is the cities of Safaga and Qusayr).

The project will be implemented in 6 phases, the first phase of which will take 5 years, and the project will take 30 years to be completely completed. The area of the Golden Triangle is about 7,000 square kilometers, and it is scheduled to establish a capital for the Golden Triangle 100 kilometers away from Qena. The project’s investments amount to about $16.5 billion, and it is expected to generate annual revenues for the state ranging between $6 and $8 billion annually.

First: The objectives and importance of establishing the Golden Triangle Project

The Golden Triangle Project aims to implement an integrated plan to achieve the optimal exploitation of the natural resources available in the region and the creation of modern economic urban communities within the framework of the Sustainable Development Strategy 2030.

Egypt aims to transition to a disciplined market economy characterized by stable macroeconomic conditions, capable of achieving sustainable inclusive growth, characterized by competitiveness and diversity, and based on knowledge and innovation, and be an active player in the global economy

The project is important because it has a wide access to the Red Sea (between Qusayr and Safaga), which gives it access to the Gulf countries, East Asia, and Africa. Its proximity to the Aswan land and river outlets helps in the speed and ease of its connection with central and southern Africa.

Second: the potential and projects of the Golden Triangle in various sectors

This triangle is characterized by the density of unexploited mineral wealth and the multiplicity and diversity of its resources, as it contains Quartz ores along with large quantities of phosphate ores, oil shale, tin, germanite, gypsum, limestone and Tantum .

The importance of this area stems from the presence of closed gold mines in quantities exceeding the volume of production of the sugar mine, according to the studies of the Geological Survey, therefore, if the largest share of the project lies in minerals and raw materials, mining activity should not stop at extracting minerals only, but should extend to the activities of manufacturing and settling these industries within the spatial space of the project.

The mining activity in the Golden Triangle is based on the exploitation of four basic raw materials (phosphate-gold-glass sand-limestone)

Table No. (1) The volume of the reserves available in the Golden Triangle

the raw material Available reserve in the triangleThe reserve available in the country
gold2000 tons5000 tons
phosphate1.1 billion tons2 billion tons
glass sand1.5 billion tons5 billion tons
Limestone230 billion tons580 billion tons


1- Mining projects in the Golden Triangle

A project to exploit and manufacture phosphate ore south of the Qena-Safaga road and establish fertilizer factories (phosphoric acid production, phosphate fertilizer production, phosphate ore extraction and processing)
The cement industry, which depends on the exploitation of limestone raw materials and its manufacture in the north of Jabal Al-Dawy.

A project to produce glass, crystal, quartz, and silicon chips west of Safaga, and exploit glass sand ore.
North Marsa Alam gold ore exploitation project to extract, process, refine and refine gold ore.
The project aims to establish 44 factories with revenues estimated at about 24.5 billion pounds annually.

2-infrastructure projects (roads and ports)

– The Golden Triangle aims to establish roads and axes to connect the mining exploitation areas with the axes of the main roads and 2.5 billion pounds were allocated for these projects represented by the following:-

– Establishing a road network, mainly represented by:
Completion of the duplication of the Qena – Safaga railway route

Completion of the works of the first stage of the Upper – Red Sea Road and the duplication of the Upper-Red Sea Road

Duplication of the Red Sea coast road in the distance from Qusair to Marsa Alam.

Construction of a new road in the eastern Nile desert as an extension of the Qena link on the Upper Red Sea – Upper Nile Road

There are two ways to reach the golden triangle, namely the Qena – Safaga road with a length of 164 square km and a width of 5.7 meters and the qafat short road with a length of 174 square km and a width of 7.5 meters

At the port level, the project includes :

– Establishment of Safaga Seaport with multiple berths (containers and cargo)
– Construction of Abu Tartour port with a dry pouring station, a liquid pouring station and a multi-purpose pier

3- Agricultural projects

The majority of Agriculture carried out on the land of the Golden Triangle is winter due to the temperature exceeding 50 degrees .

Many experiments have been conducted in this regard:

A-planting 35 acres of sunflower with German piety characterized by abundant production and special specifications.

The importance of this experiment is due to the fact that it will cover a very large part of Egypt’s oil needs, as Egypt imported about 97% of its oil needs.

B-experiments conducted by farmers to raise tilapia fish in agricultural water collection ponds .

C-Housing and reconstruction projects

The project aims to find new cities represented by the following:-

New city of Qena: it is planned that this city will become a secondary growth pole.

Safaga city: to become an economic, industrial and commercial center, being the southern entrance to the Suez Canal Project.

Qusair city: this city is expected to become the main growth pole in this project.
The new city of Akhmim, as well as another group of urban agglomerations.

4-Tourism projects

Tourism in the Golden Triangle region is divided into three main axes:

The first axis: the areas located on the coasts of the Red Sea, which is the base of the Triangle.

The cities of Qusayr and Safaga are one of the most important areas for practicing recreational tourism, such as diving, water games, safaris and mountain climbing, as there are many beaches in the city of Safaga.

The second axis: more than 30 archaeological sites in the region.
(There are more than 52 tourist villages in Safaga city, and the occupancy rate is currently 80%).

The third axis: natural reserves and the 22 most important islands in the Red Sea

The natural reserves in the governorates of Qena, Aswan, and the Red Sea constitute one of the most important tourism components of the Triangle region. Among these reserves are the Red Sea islands, numbering about 22 islands, characterized by the diversity of marine life and many rare birds. It is also distinguished by its possession of coral reefs with an area of 873 square kilometers out of 3,800 square kilometers in the Red Sea Governorate, the presence of 300 different types of coral reefs along the coast, and its possession of mangrove plants.

third: The challenges facing the Golden Triangle and ways to confront it

Major national projects may face many challenges

Environmental challenges

The occurrence of negative effects on the environment in the Golden Triangle area because the targeted industries in the area of mining and mineral extraction have environmental impacts and that the waste, emissions and discharge resulting from them are polluting the environment such as: carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and others, and these materials may result in smog and acid rain and have an impact on the ozone layer.

Challenges that threaten tourism

The development and expansion of the port of Safaga may affect fisheries and coral reefs.

Ways to meet challenges:

– Providing suitable lands for the establishment of industrial zones next to the areas of availability of raw materials.

– Treat the Golden Triangle area as not of a single nature (agricultural, industrial and tourist areas), each of which has its own style of development.

– Raising the efficiency and effectiveness of the exploitation of Natural Resources (the scope of beaches), both in terms of spatial distribution and in terms of seasonal use of tourism to use throughout the year through the services provided within the established projects and multiple recreational means that push to prolong the duration of the visit while ensuring the work of beach projects in the light of planning equations and standards to ensure that the environment is not degraded until an appropriate promotional service is provided to tourists.

– Development and optimization of festivals as a marketing tool for the tourism product in the Golden Triangle region.

– Activating transit tourism through ships passing through the Red Sea by setting programs for one-day visits and activating shopping tourism.

– Benefiting from the archaeological areas, upgrading them and marketing them in a way that benefits the national income and the national product of the sector and the country in general.
Prohibiting indiscriminate hunting and collecting plants and applying penalties for this.
Direct development to the back of coastal areas to not put pressure on the coast and waste environmental values.

Finally, the Golden Triangle project promises to be a new artery for Sustainable Development and a new economic industrial capital in Egypt, as it aims to establish giant mining, agricultural, industrial, commercial and tourism projects. It is expected that this project will achieve a breakthrough in the development of the south of upper.And to achieve a great economic benefit for Egypt in its foreign relations, especially with African countries, as Egypt’s privileged location and presence on the global trade corridor qualifies the Golden Triangle region to be a logistics port serving Egypt and Africa.

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