Building Egypt’s New Capital

A Modern Egypt

It is virtually impossible to receive a speeding ticket in Cairo, speeding requires an open road ahead – only a dream for drivers in the city. Egypt’s capital had a total of 2.5 million inhabitants during the 1950’s, the Capital has seen exponential growth in its population, exceeding a whopping 20 million today.

Cairo is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa – 1/5 of the entire population are crammed into the Capital… Social distancing who?

Viewed as one of the world’s most congested cities, Cairo’s population is expected to double by the year 2050.

Cairo’s chronic congestion has amounted to great economic losses for the capital – A world bank study in 2010 found the financial losses resulting from traffic congestion was 4% of Egypt’s GDP. For those rubbish at math like myself, Egypt loses $50BN a year due to traffic congestion.

What is Egypt’s solution?

Well, following the election of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2014. The Egyptian government announced that Egypt would undergo a large-scale project. Creating a “New Administrative Capital” for the Egyptian people.

This historic operation is one of the most ambitious urban projects to date, situated 45KM east of the original Cairo; the new capital will extend over 700 sq kilometres – equivalent to the size of Singapore.

Aiming to be the business and cultural centre of Egypt, the new Capital is estimated to be the home of up to 6.5 million people by 2050.

$58BN is being invested into the mammoth operation, $20BN of that coming from Chinese investment, backed by the China state construction engineering corporation (CSCEC).

The proposition for New Cairo

Plans for the new capital

Egypt’s new capital will be made up of 100 separate neighbourhoods, each boasting local schools, and hospitals. Religious buildings will stand in each of the 100 neighbourhoods, as the Government insists the new Capital will represent a “modern Egypt”.

Every neighbourhood will have its own public square, similar to the iconic Tahrir Square – the hub of the Egyptian revolution back in 2010.

Not impressed yet?

There will be a grand total of 1200 Mosques and churches, 553 hospitals, and 40,000 hotel rooms.

Currently, Cairo only has 3 metro lines; Egypt’s new capital will consist of new high-speed rail links and electric busses. With the climate in mind, the Capital will be powered by a 90 sq mile solar energy farm, with buildings maximising natural ventilation.

Going Green was crucial for foreign investment and helping combat global-warming. According to a Business Insider report in 2018, Cairo ranked first for the most polluted City in the world.

Fun Facts

  • The newly constructed Capital will be home to the “Green spine”- a large Central Park, twice the size of New York’s.
  • A large theme park is currently under development, designed to be four times the size of Disneyland California
  • 20 Skyscrapers will oversee the outlandish business district
  • Scared of heights? Egypt’s new Capital will have an 85-storey tower named the iconic tower – Africa’s tallest building
  • Arguably designed for Egypt’s wealthiest, the new Cairo will consist of 100,000 affordable homes.
  • A brand-new international airport is currently under construction for the City in the sand
  • Work on Egypt’s largest Mosque and Church has already been complete in the new City
The “Iconic tower” will be the tallest building in Africa

The controversy

Cairo has been Egypt’s Capital since 972 AD, with heaps of history and culture. Many Egyptians believe the new Capital will diminish the historical wellbeing of its beloved Cairo, with the new Cairo leaving the old in its dust.

Egyptian architectures at the May El Tabbakh firm are at the forefront of opposing the new Capital, “One is fighting for a history we cannot bring back, it’s a challenge, but going out in to the desert for a new Capital is an easy way out. If we have the money, we should invest in to our Capital which is over 1000 years old, rich in history and culture”.

The vast majority of Egyptians will not be able to afford the cheapest house in the new Capital, leading to critics suggesting the city will be for the rich.

To Sum it up

Egyptians are no strangers to monumental projects, being the home of the 4000-year-old Pyramids – one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

To commemorate the win of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Egypt designed the 6th of October urban project – costing the government $8.5BN. Minuscule amounts compared to the New Cairo construction.

Egypt also boasts the world’s largest archaeological museum, “The Grand Egyptian Museum” costing just a small amount of $1BN.

What are your thoughts on Egypt’s ambitious plan? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

One of the 7 Wonders of the world – The Pyramids

Written by: Hassan El-Gendy

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