by Marwa Yahya
CAIRO, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The appointment of Nadia Saleh, Egypt's first-ever female to serve as a governor, unexpectedly contrasts with Egypt's tradition of naming retired military men or policemen as governors, particularly in provinces with international borders.
Served as deputy governor for the same province since 2013 and sworn in on Thursday as Beheira governor, Saleh said she seeks to develop Beheira with innovative ideas out of the box.
"I plan to turn the province's largest city of Rashid into an international touristic hub," Saleh said after the swearing-in ceremony.
She said she also plans to establish an industrial city, hospitals, universities as well as residential projects.
In the Delta province of Beheira, located north to the capital Cairo, Saleh deemed that eliminating the shortage of water and completing sewage projects in the poorest villages are top priorities on her agenda.
Saleh was named as a governor due to her advocacy for greater hepatitis C treatments in the region, state-run Ahram newspaper reported.
Around 10 percent of Egypt's 90-million populations were infected with hepatitis C in 2015. Roughly 40,000 people die from hepatitis C every year in Egypt, which has the world's highest infections rates of the virus, according to a World Health Organization report in July 2014.
As a member of the General Assembly of the World Water Council, a France-based international organization to promote awareness about dangerous water conditions, Saleh said she plans on opening more hospitals in the Beheira region to combat the epidemic.
"Naming Saleh breaks Egypt's traditions of appointing only men in that post," said Soaad Hamdy, a housewife citizen from Beheira.
"This is a victory for women. Saleh is a hard-working lady and she deserves the post," added Hamdy.
Hamdy called the new governor to tackle the province's toughest problem of water sanitation.
Graduated from the Faculty of Engineering's Chemistry Department in 1968, Saleh has obtained the master's degree from Alexandria University in the field of environmental health.
She was appointed as chairperson of state-run water supply company in the city of Alexandria for a decade from 2002 to 2012.
In an interview with independent al-Watan newspaper, Saleh said she has an ambitious plan to carry out national project to solve the province's water problems.
She also said that she would pay much attention to establish a logistic region and a factory for paper production in collaboration with Chinese investors, as well as control the market prices.
"I will work on access to clean water for all villages in the province," she claimed.
Additionally, Saleh said she will work on encouraging the youth to invest in the province instead of migration, as Beheira is located on Egypt's northern coast and owns the country's highest rate of illegal migration.
Her husband, Mahmoud Sidqy, chairman of Alexandria Rotary Club, said that "there is no difference between men and women in terms of good management, and efficiency is the only criteria."