11 min read
Is Egypt finally about to move its capital?

At present, the metropolitan area of Cairo, the capital of Egypt, has exceeded 21 million, and the urban population density is also the first echelon in the world.
At this rate of development, it is estimated that by 2050, the population will exceed 40 million. To ease the pressure on the capital, the Egyptian government announced in 2015 that it would build a new wealth in the desert 45 kilometers east of Cairo.
Egypt is already a country with a population of 100 million, and its growth rate is still high-speed. This growth rate, plus the urbanization process, Cairo's population of 40 million is not an exaggeration.
Building a city in the desert is not easy, especially for the current Egyptian economy. (Base image: Shutterstock)▼

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To Due to funding constraints and the disruption of the new crown epidemic, only 60% of the first phase of the project was completed. However, the Egyptian government, which is eagerly looking forward to the new capital, does not want to wait any longer. It plans to start 50,000 civil servants in the new capital beginning in July this year. This unique desert city is expected to be officially opened to the public at the end of the year.
The desert can be planned at will, but it isn't easy to form an actual city. (Unbuilt block, picture: google map)▼

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This part of the building is still a rough house and waiting someguys who wants to live in it. (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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1. Why did the Egyptians move their capital?

In 639 AD, the Arab Empire invaded Egypt and established barracks at the Nile Delta and the Nile Valley. These barracks gradually developed into a city and slowly merged with other surrounding towns. This is the origin of Cairo. After centuries of development, Cairo became one of the most important cities in the Arab world in the Middle Ages.
Cairo is still an essential metropolis in the Arab world.  (Photo: Shutterstock)▼

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Although Egypt's domestic development is not as good as the emerging Arab countries, it has not encountered a devastating war, and the historical buildings of Cairo have been preserved. Besides, the modernization process started late, and the old city of Egypt even retains a particular medieval style.
A commercial distribution center developed in the Middle Ages (photo: Shutterstock)▼

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On the other hand, the relative stability of society has led to the continuous expansion of Cairo's population. Modernization started late, leading to a lack of municipal scientific planning in large areas of Cairo, insufficient land use, and historical building districts often turned into slums. The streets here are narrow, lacking essential public services such as garbage removal, fire fighting, and even sewers. As for trivial things like random wiring, it is seldom considered a problem. The Cairo slums are in a deadlock that cannot be demolished and is challenging to rebuild.
Slums in Egypt (Photo: google map)▼

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Egypt’s "urban swelling" and unemployment problems have become hidden dangers affecting social stability. How to relieve the severe overpopulation of Cairo has become a significant headache for successive Egyptian governments. Increased government investment and boosted employment have also been made, and the satellite city has also been repaired. As a result, Cairo has an increasing population, forming a cycle.

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Therefore, apart from going to Cairo, there are not many choices for Egyptians. Therefore, Greater Cairo, with a population of 21 million, is not its ultimate form. If no effective intervention is made, the people of Cairo will double in the future.
Cairo has actually built New Cairo in the east, and the new capital is in the desert further east. (Photo: Shutterstock)▼

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2. The city of hope for the Egyptians

In 2015, Egypt's political situation had just stabilized, and the economy tended to collapse due to long-term political turmoil. To avoid further fermentation of the problem, 112 countries sent representatives to participate in the Egyptian Economic Development Conference (EEDC). Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, and other countries directly contributed funds to support the economic development of Egypt.
In layman's terms, it means attracting investment.Not only are there direct charitable pledges from oil-rich countries,There are also multinational companies that have agreed to invest here. (Photo: US State Department)▼

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At this critical meeting, the then Housing Minister of Egypt announced the New Administrative Capital (NAC) plan.

This unnamed new administrative capital is located 45 kilometers east of Cairo. Once completed, it will cover 715 square kilometers, four times that of Washington, DC, the capital of the United States. It has 21 residential areas and 25 functional districts, which can accommodate 6.5 million residents.
A magnificent new city will naturally not rise from the desert overnight. The construction of the new capital needs to be carried out in stages. The first phase of Xindu construction covers 16,800 hectares, and the core area is 4140 hectares. Of course, the most important of these is the new government office area with about 500 hectares.
The effect picture looks majestic. (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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In this area, a new presidential palace, a parliament building, and 34 departmental office buildings will be built that blend ancient Egyptian, Byzantine, and Islamic architectural styles. Among them, the new Ministry of National Defense Building comprises ten octagonal facilities, 8 of which are enclosed in a large octagonal shape on the outside, and two are located in the circle, forming a vast and magnificent building complex. Once completed, it will become one of the most significant buildings in the world.

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In addition to government office buildings, the most eye-catching is the ultra-high-standard central business district. According to the plan, this area will be composed of 20 buildings, including 12 high-rise commercial office buildings, five high-rise apartment buildings, and two star-rated hotels, as well as a 78-story, 385-meter tallest building in Africa. The total construction area of these buildings will reach 1.7 million square meters, with a total investment of 3 billion U.S. dollars, and will be constructed by the China State Construction Corporation. They are regarded as a milestone in China-Egypt cooperation and a model project of the "Belt and Road".
The CBD goal of Egypt is also to take on finance, trade, services, etc., and become the city and even the commercial and economic center of Egypt. (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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This project is not just as simple as building a new capital. Egypt regards the relocation of the money as a unique development opportunity and has placed many good wishes on the new capital. Therefore, Xindu's temperament in the plan is prosperous, inclusive, green, and future-oriented. From some details, we can see the good intentions of the Egyptian government.
On January 9, 2019, Egyptian President Sisi sent a signal to protect minorities and freedom of belief by participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of two iconic religious buildings in Xindu in order to appease the Coptic Christians who frequently attacked. The two buildings are the Nativity Cathedral, which broke the record for the largest cathedral in the Middle East, and the Fatah Alem Mosque, which broke the record for the largest mosque in Egypt.

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In the plan, new capital is an intelligent city: timely garbage collection, stable power supply, a monitoring center pays attention to the maintenance of infrastructure, guarantees public security, and has the ability to deal with traffic accidents and fires quickly. The roof will be covered with solar panels. Each resident will have 15 square meters of green space, and cashless payment will be realized in the future.
The planning and functions of the new capital are aimed at solving a series of complex problems in Cairo and creating a modern new wealth that is more livable. (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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Regardless of whether these seemingly idealistic visions can be realized, this project will create 2 million jobs, and it will boost Egypt's economy and employment while building a large number of civil engineering projects. After completion, it will become a point of sustained economic growth for Egypt.
Ultimately build a new city, The scale of infrastructure is not comparable to building a road or building a bridge. (Photo: shutterstock)▼

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3. Egypt's new urban agglomeration plan

The Egyptian government originally planned to start the first phase of the capital relocation in mid-2020, relocating various departments and 52,300 public officials to the new capital, but the new crown virus pandemic disrupted the plan and the capital relocation time was postponed to mid-2021. The railway and light rail are currently under construction and are expected to be put into use when they settle in new capital in July.
The new capital International Airport has been put into operation,It is a necessity for international exchanges and the development of tourism economy. (Photo: Ziad Rashad/Wiki)▼

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As the relocation date approaches, in mid-March 2021, the Egyptian Presidential Palace announced an allocation of 96 million US dollars as housing or transportation allowances to promote the relocation of civil servants. At present, public officials are still more optimistic about Xindu, at least they are bullish about housing prices. Among the 20 residential areas, the fastest-built one is expected to be put into use in May, and 20,000 houses have been sold as of mid-March.
In order to meet the needs of different classes,The residential area classification of the new capital is also unambiguous.There are both single-family villas and high-rise dense residences. (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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(Picture: google map)▼

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Large construction projects require money. In addition to the aforementioned international financing, another important method for the Egyptian government to raise funds is to sell land, but the specific income from the Egyptian government has not been disclosed.
In addition, the relocation of the capital is not just an isolated incident. In addition to the new money, there are 13 fourth-generation cities under construction across Egypt. Among them is the coastal city of New Alamein in the northwest. This city also has its own central business district, consisting of 15 high-rise buildings including one 300-meter-high building and four 200-meter-high buildings. It is expected to accommodate 3 million people. China State Construction is also the contractor of this central business district. The Egyptian government hopes to build this place into another tourist center in Egypt, and become Egypt's Dubai. By attracting investment from around the world, it will promote the sound development of the economy.
New Alamein has a planned area of nearly 200 square kilometers and a target population of 2 million. Beach towers, heritage projects, and universities of science and technology are all under construction. (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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On the other hand, the construction of new cities does not mean that Egypt’s previous large cities, Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said have been abandoned. These cities will develop together with the new towns. In the future, the population of Egypt will continue to rise, and the process of urbanization will accelerate. Without these new cities with well-planned, well-equipped facilities and a beautiful environment to relieve the population that is constantly pouring into cities. The extensive city disease in Egypt will become more and more serious.
New cities where no one has moved (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Housing)▼

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Building numerous infrastructures will not wipe out all the population problems in Egypt, but it is also considered a courageous attempt in the race between social development and population explosion. If successful, the history of Cairo's dominance will be broken. Several new urban agglomerations have appeared in Egypt, and their status in Middle Eastern countries will also be significantly improved in the future. Even if it is unsuccessful, it can boost the short-term economy and leave valuable experience for the Egyptian government.

Disclaimer: The above views do not represent the position of Jinan LIJIANG Glass, and the copyright belongs to the original author and source. The content of News is the author's personal opinion, and it does not mean that Jinan LIJIANG Glass agrees with his opinion and is responsible for its authenticity. Jinan LIJIANG Glass only provides references and does not constitute investment and application advice.

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