Plans to build Egypt’s new capital city east of Cairo were unveiled.
“If and when it is completed it will be about the size of Singapore with an airport larger than Heathrow.”
The BBC reported a couple of days back that the Egyptian government has announced at an investment conference, plans to build a new capital to the east of the present one, Cairo at the costs, according to Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly of $45bn and would take five to seven years to build.
He adds that the objective was to ease congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next 40 years as well as revive the Egyptian economy. The Minister added that the population of greater Cairo, estimated at about 18 million, was expected to double within 40 years. The idea is to distance Egyptians away from the chaotic sprawl of Cairo.
The Egyptian parliament and its government departments and ministries, as well as foreign embassies, would all move to the new metropolis, he said that is planned to be built over 700 km² and house about five million residents.
“We are talking about a world capital,” he added.
Developers say the new city – the name of which has not been revealed – would include almost 2,000 schools and colleges and more than 600 health care facilities. They say the project will create more than a million jobs.
The long planned economic conference, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has attracted pledges worth $12bn in aid and investment from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The new city is designed to help kick-start Egypt’s struggling economy.
Planners say the proposed city’s site “is situated along the corridor between Cairo and the Red Sea, providing linkages to significant shipping routes.
It will be built by Capital City Partners, a private real estate investment fund led by Emirati Mohamed Alabbar. The Dubai businessman built the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
“It is a natural extension for the city of Cairo,” Mr Alabbar told the BBC, saying that the new development would sit on the edge of the existing city. The proposed city would have “large green spaces, an international airport, a theme park seven times bigger than Disneyland in California, 90 km² of solar farms, and an electric train” to link with Cairo
“It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to design something from scratch, and to design it keeping in mind the needs of the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government.”
He said that the builders would be deploying the most advanced design techniques on the project, and that the city would breed “confidence” and “pride” in Egyptians.
The new capital is as yet unnamed, but it sounds like an Egyptian version of Shangri La. It’s being billed as a smart sustainable city, on a grand scale.
The authorities say it will spark a renaissance in the economy. Perhaps, but many here recall other flagship projects – which stalled in the past.
The UAE is set to be a partner in the development, which will be led by Capital City Partners, which describes itself as a private fund of global investors that will cooperate with the Egyptian Ministry of Housing.
Egypt’s investment minister Ashraf Salman said the project would be entirely funded by private investors. “The government will incur zero cost in the city, and this will be totally developed, master planned and executed by a private sector company – a developer from the Gulf.”
According to a UK newspaper the project is based on an election pledge by the president, who last year promised to extend Cairo to the Red Sea port of Suez if voted into power.