SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Egypt's government announced Friday plans to build a new capital adjacent to Cairo, in a massive new project that in its first phase would cost $45 billion and take up to seven years to complete.
Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the plan at the opening of the 3-day international economic conference held in this resort city and attended by hundreds of business executives and world leaders. The aim, he said, is to alleviate congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next 40 years. By that time, Cairo — currently home to nearly 20 million — would have doubled in size.
The first phase of the ambitious program, Madbouly said, is an expansion of the current outskirts of the capital to the east, adding an additional 105 kilometers (60 miles) of development. The area would be a new administrative center including government offices, diplomatic missions and housing as well as universities, a technology and innovation park, and 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of roads. Madbouly did not say what the new administrative center would be named.
The military has already began constructing the road linking Cairo to the new planned administrative heart of the capital, he said.
Eventually the new capital would expand to 700 square kilometers in size (270 square miles), much of it green spaces, linking up with the Suez Canal zone, Madbouly said, calling the project a source of "pride and inspiration" to young Egyptians
The ambitious plan is the latest mega project planned by the government, headed by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who elected in June last year. The other mega project is the expansion of the Suez Canal and the creation of an industrial zone around it.