Case of urbanization and industrialization in Shubra el-Kheima, Egypt (English)
Shubra el-Kheima has been one of the fastest growing cities in Egypt, where the textile, and garment industry played an important role in generating this growth. The paper describes how this industry was initiated, and developed, the major structural ... See More +
Shubra el-Kheima has been one of the fastest growing cities in Egypt, where the textile, and garment industry played an important role in generating this growth. The paper describes how this industry was initiated, and developed, the major structural changes occurred, and the problems the industry faces. A description of the city's population growth, and the state of public services follows, as well as an outlook on the role the government played in fostering, or hindering the industry's growth. One of the main problems affecting the textile industry, was the high cost of producing coarse cloth, on the basis of high quality domestic cotton: the short staple cotton produced elsewhere, was ideal for cheap cloth, and hence cheap garments; but the government (from the 1930s to the 1990s) banned the import of this cotton, and, concentrated on the export of fabric, which as of 1948, an export tax was imposed on all varieties of cotton. Yet, as of the 1950s, cotton yarn production experienced a rapid growth, and exports provided the major stimulus for its production growth. However, it is important to note that this export market was not functioning at prevailing world prices. Whereas in the 1980s', small garment factories and shops rapidly emerged stimulated by exports, in Shubra el-Kheima it was local demand which drove growth - the Cairo private sector wholesale and retail markets, and large local informal markets. Regrettably, the Government has not played a positive role, neither in facilitating the industry, nor in servicing the growing city, a sharp contrast with its attitude towards industries in new industrial cities, and the effects of trade liberalization, can make it difficult for the city's industry to survive.
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