Egypt’s new administrative capital : an historic unprecedented project for the country

Egypt’s new administrative capital : an historic unprecedented project for the country

Egypt’s new administrative capital is expected to cost US$45 billion and take between 5 and 7 years to complete.

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Cairo has been the Egyptian capital for 1,000 of years however over population and congestion have made maintaining it as Egypt’s capital city for the next 1000, 100 or even 10 years unthinkable.

Mostafa Madbouly the Egyptian housing minister initially announced the plans in March 2015, explaining that the multi-billion dollar city which will be situated between the Red Sea and Cairo would be a source of “pride and inspiration” to all generations of Egyptians, particularly the young, and that over the next 40 years would also ease the problems of overpopulation and congestion in Cairo.

The initial plans drawn up in 2015 were provisionally put on hold following disagreements about the timescale of the project and the overall cost.

The scale of the project is historically unprecedented for Egypt

The new city is still to be given a name, however on completion assuming the current plans remain unchanged, the city will cover an area of more than 270 square miles, making it almost as big as Singapore.

It will also include a park twice as big as Central Park in New York, a theme park four times as big as Disneyland and an airport bigger than London’s Heathrow.

The still unnamed administrative center will not only include a new presidential palace, government and diplomatic offices but also schools, universities and 663 clinics/hospitals. The brochure describing the plans also detail the inclusion of 21 residential districts, 25 “dedicated districts”, 1,250 mosques/churches and 1.1 million homes, expected to initially house a minimum of 5 million residents.

The projects website includes pictures that make the new city resemble something much closer to Dubai than Cairo, including soaring skyscrapers rivaling those currently found in Dubai. Construction on some of the 6,000 miles of roads being built as part of the project have already begun, with a focus on those connecting Cairo with the new administrative center.

All government services will relocate to the new city within 12 years of its completion and the new capital is seen by many as an essential way of also making room for the growth of the private sector.

State-owned developers from China become major investors

During a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh in 2015 when the preliminary project discussions were occurring; Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait pledged to invest US$12 billion, significantly less than the amount required. In fact, in May 2016 the housing minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that the project would cost US$45 billion and take between 5 and 7 years to complete.

The most recent and significant investments have been made by two Chinese state-owned companies, one of which has invested US$15 billion and the other US$20 billion. These two new recent investments have not only ensured that the US$45 billion required in order to start the first phase of the project is now available but that the project is now primarily funded by Chinese developers.

Pictures : aswatmasriya.com and bbc.com

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