Egypt is building a new administrative capital in the desert, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. The first phase of the project will cost an estimated $45 billion. The city is yet to be named by the Egyptian government.
The first phase of the project involves the expansion of the outskirts of Cairo, the current capital to the east, adding an additional 105 kilometres (60 miles) of development. Construction has commenced already; Egypt’s Al-Ahram states that engineers have begun work on infrastructure including bridges and 210 kilometers of roads.
According to the project’s website, the new capital is expected to accommodate 5 million people and create 1.75 million jobs. The plan for construction was announced in March 2015. The Egyptian housing minister Mostafa Madbouly called it a source of “pride and inspiration” to young Egyptians.
Some of the proposed projects include residential districts, shopping malls, a 30-feddan (12.6 hectares) mosque, an Islamic museum, an exhibition centre, a 5,000-seat conference centre that would be the largest in Africa, a smart village, and industrial zones.
The Chinese have taken a major role in bankrolling the capital construction. The China Fortune Land Development Company (CFLD) said it will provide $20 billion (£16 billion) for the city’s construction. A China’s state-owned construction company has also signed a $15 billion agreement with the Egyptian government to finance 14 government buildings, a zone for trade fairs and the 5000- seat conference center.
An Indian company is also planning to build a medical city three times the size of Cairo’s Kasr El Aini Teaching Hospital. The city would include a university, nursing institute, and hospital. A Saudi firm proposes to build a 12.6-hectare mosque and Islamic museum.
The project is expected to take at least seven years to complete. The new capital would help reduce congestion and overpopulation in Cairo, estimated at 30 million and has been the Egyptian capital for over 1,000 years. Construction of the road linking Cairo to the new administrative centre has already begun.
The new capital will help to strengthen and diversify the country’s economic potential by creating new places to live, work and visit.
Several countries in Africa have switched their capitals. In 1983, Cote d’Ivoire moved its capital from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro; Nigeria switched its capital from Lagos to Abuja in 1991. Tanzania is currently moving its capital from Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma.