Karachi, the next Cairo?
Recently a friend returned from a trip in Cairo, and the first thing he said when he got back was “thank God im back in Karachi.”
Cairo is a city of nearly 20 Million people, and like Karachi, is a raging metropolitan city where there exists a strong divide between the rich and the poor. Wikipedia says that Karachi is growing at roughly 5% a year (mainly attributed to Rural-Urban migration), so that means that by 2013 Karachi will have over 20 Million people. In just 6 years!
My friend described the scene to me that Cairo itself is far worse than Karachi and even worse than Delhi in terms of traffic, pollution, garbage, congestion, much more polarized society, more beggars and people trying to rip you off for more than they deserve and generally the tempers are shorter. Obviously this was a short term visit, but impressions last.
His first reaction was that this is where Karachi is heading within the next 10 years as economic and social rifts widen, traffic gets worse and pollution is on the increase.
Wondering if it is possible to learn from our friends in Cairo about what went wrong and how we can avoid such a fast paced population increase, when can’t even sustain our current population effectively.
Interesting also to note that there are benchmark cities that can be used to see what things could be like. I myself have yet to goto Cairo, and if it wasn’t for the Egyptian history and pyramids, im not sure I would be excited about visiting.
I would be interested to hear some of the solutions that are being brought forward to deal with these issue, whether governmental programs, or civil society involvement. I would also be interested to hear about other stories people could share about Cairo or perhaps other cities that are facing similar challenges.