While construction activity remains sluggish in many of the region’s states, Egypt is pressing ahead with its development plans.

The country does not have much choice. With a population forecast to rise to 90 million from the current 79 million in the next five years, it has the one thing that most of the Gulf states lack: People.

Cairo currently accommodates about 17 million people and with such a sharp population increase, the government must ensure its housing and transport projects progress as planned.

Cairo is keen to make sure the country’s infrastructure can cope with its rising population and it is turning to the private sector to meet this demand. Two wastewater plants and the Rod el-Farag highway are being carried out as public-private partnerships (PPP). As many of the region’s states mull over the feasibility of using the PPP model to develop infrastructure, Cairo is already making progress with its schemes.

At the heart of Egypt’s development plans is the country’s transport infrastructure. The metro has been up and running since 1987 and is the first metro in the Middle East and North Africa. Line 3 is under construction and bids for phase three are expected in October.

The planned Rod el-Farag highway will help reduce traffic in central Cairo and bids to expand terminal two at Cairo International airport are due in December. Unlike the speculation that drove the real-estate boom in places like Dubai, Egypt’s plans are grounded in reality.