Since the Egyptian government announced in the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) its intention to launch a new capital city (called: New Administrative Capital) in Sharm El-Sheikh on 13 March 2015, the has been a public outcry that accused the government of launching a media crackdown and building imaginary success based on a far-fetched idea of expanding in the desert to become a colourful capital for Egypt. The people who accused the government stated that such a mega project would take not less than 50 years in light of the current economic circumstances.
Nevertheless, the government took on the challenge of completing the project, which was not expected to come to light in just two years.
The follow-up to the project will see the connecting of services and utilities, which are moving in full swing, and will also see the building of apartments and residential buildings, which have already been built next to villas and malls and also one of the largest international hotels, the latter which was inaugurated last week.
The city is planned to be built on an area of 170,000 feddans, the first phase of which is on area of 40,000 feddans, and the first priority with an area of 10,000 feddans, larger than Madinaty. Such an area is roughly the area of Shorouk and Sheikh Zayed.
The New Administrative Capital is located in the area between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads just east of the regional ring road. This is roughly 60 km from the cities of Suez and Ain Sokhna.
According to Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly, Cairo’s total area is estimated at 95,000 feddans, while the New Administrative Capital will be built on an area of 170,000 feddans, including 20 residential areas expected to accommodate 6.5 million people and a road network 650 km in length. The new capital city will have an international airport and an electric train to link it with the 10th of Ramadan and El-Salam cities.
On Wednesday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi laid the first stone of the New Administrative Capital project. Al-Sisi said in his speech during the launching ceremony that the New Administrative Capital comes in the framework of the state comprehensive development plan, stressing that the government works on several national projects simultaneously.
Inauguration of the first hotel in the Capital
On 6th of October City, Al Masah Capital Hotel, the first project to be finished in the New Administrative Capital was opened in the presence of Egyptian and Arab celebrities.
Al Masah Capital is one of largest hotels in the world. Al Masah Resort is more than 10 feddans in area, which contains a conference area, lagoons, mosque, and trade mall with unique architectural designs.
Electric train to connect the capital with the heart of Cairo
The Ministry of Transport, represented by the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels, signed the contract for the implementation of the 20 air-conditioned trains, which will be carried out by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The project aims to serve the development objectives in several residential and industrial areas by linking the cities of El Salam, Obour, Shorouk, Badr, Al-Rubiky, and 10th of Ramadan, to arrive at a later stage to the New Administrative Capital.
The estimated studies indicate that the project is expected to contribute to the transportation of about 350,000 passengers per day, in addition to saving about EGP 2.3bn annually as a value of time and energy savings and fuel consumption.
Implementation of gas lines and petrol stations
In order to feed the city with energy sources, the Ministry of Petroleum has completed the implementation of gas lines for the administrative capital to operate the power plant that was built in the city with a total capacity of about 4,800 megawatts. The cost of implementing the pipeline is about EGP 1bn and through which 200 million cubic feet of gas are pumped.
Petroleum companies, such as Cooperation, Misr, Mobil, and Total plan to build several petrol stations to serve the new capital.
Petroleum Ministry has implemented two pressure stations and gas networks to deliver gas to all properties in the city at a total cost of EGP 2.5bn.
Implementation of road networks for administrative capital
In order to facilitate transportation and communication to the New Administrative Capital, the Ministry of Transport implemented a plan for the maintenance and development of the Cairo-Suez Road, which is the main artery of the New Administrative Capital. The development plan includes doubling the road length and raising its quality to became one of the best Egyptian roads.
Minister of Transport Hesham Arafat said that the development process of the Cairo-Suez Road is the largest in the history of the road development strategy and included the development of 70 kilometres of it and the establishment of three lanes in each direction, in addition to the establishment of service centres.
Plans for the transfer of ministries
The government plans to transfer 18 ministries from downtown Cairo to the New Administrative Capital within two years, primarily the Ministries of Military Production, Justice, Endowments, Housing, Education, Higher Education, Supply, and Health, in addition to the transfer of the Presidency, the cabinet, and the parliament.
Sources expected that the actual transfer of ministries will be by next mid-year, after the completion of the new headquarters and after the completion of the residential neighbourhood of workers and employees of ministries scheduled to be transferred in the government district.
Global plans for the new city
The plan of the capital was inspired by the old Cairo, which is penetrated by the Nile River, so it was planned to establish a Green River in the New Administrative Capital where on either side would be residential neighbourhoods. The residential area currently being implemented is estimated to be 100 feddans in area and includes 25,000 housing units (buildings and villas) and all services are carried out by Egyptian contracting companies. The Ministry of Housing plans to open the first of these units for booking during the next few weeks.
The new capital includes a conference centre; exhibition city; governmental and residential neighbourhoods; medical, sports, and smart cities; the parliament’s headquarters; embassies; universities and schools. Furthermore, a civilian airport is being established called “Capital Airport”.
The administrative capital will include the largest cultural complex in the Middle East being established. The complex will include the largest mosque and church in the capital, as well as a cultural centre including the oldest manuscripts and heritage books to be the crossroads of civilisations in Egypt.
The Green River
The Green River was created to match the Nile River, which runs through the heart of Cairo. The Green River’s length is 35 kilometres, to be the longest river in the world with artificial green spaces on its sides, according to Madbouly during the conference of laying the first stone of the New Administrative Capital.
On the sides of the Green River will be some of the largest parks in the world, with a total area of 5,000 feddans. Furthermore, the parks will be for public and serve the people from Cairo, New Cairo, and New Administrative Capital.
The parks project is divided into seven sectors, including the historical park (historical nature), the health and population park (for children), the business and financial park, the international park, the sports park, the science park, and the botanical park.
During his speech, Al-Sisi noted that the large number of parks will be irrigated with treated water and will not affect drinking water.
The first phase of the Green River is stretched on 14 kilometres. Besides, universities, cities, and neighbourhoods are all connected to the Green River, in addition to a green area for every neighbourhood.
Examples for countries’ new capitals
The Egyptian experience to establish a new administrative city was preceded by a number of countries of the world, most prominent of which are Kazakhstan, Brazil, Nigeria, Morocco, and Malaysia.
Astana city, the capital of Kazakhstan, is an ideal example of linking European and Asian civilisations and includes major investments. In 1999, Astana was named the World City of UNESCO. In 2003, it was recognised by a number of international rating agencies as the distinguishing feature of Kazakhstan. The city hosted the largest sporting event in Asia, the “2011 Asian Winter Games”.
Malaysia decided to establish a “Putrajaya” city to be the new administrative capital to reduce the traffic and congestion from Kuala Lumpur, as all ministries and agencies were transferred to Putrajaya except for the Ministry of Tourism, which stayed in the old capital, which id the center of Asian tourism.
Putrajaya was constructed in 2010, located on 46 kilometres and for 20 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur and is connected by a state-of-the-art railway in the new capital and the rest of Malaysia.