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Local official's insult to Upper Egypt spurs development plans

A comment by Local Development Minister Abu Bakr al-Gendy concerning citizens of the Upper Egypt governorates has shone a light on the area's extreme poverty and highlighted the need to pursue economic development.
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CAIRO — Underdevelopment and extreme poverty in Upper Egypt recently hit the headlines when a comment by Local Development Minister Abu Bakr al-Gendy sparked an outcry among Upper Egyptians. Speaking by phone on “Al-Hayat al-Youm” on Jan. 14, Gendy remarked on the need to “encourage investments in Upper Egypt that create job opportunities to stop Upper Egyptians from taking the train to Cairo, where they create slums.” Upper Egyptians were, as one might expect, offended.

Gendy apologized the following day on “Ala Masouliyati,” the talk show hosted by Sada al-Balad. He explained that what he meant was that by developing Upper Egypt governorates, residents would no longer be forced to migrate to Cairo in search of jobs. The controversy over his choice of words has ignited discussion about the economic situation in Upper Egypt — the location of 10 of Egypt’s 27 governorates — and the measures needed to improve life there.

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