Capital Cairo – Is This Egypt’s Future Capital?
Egyptian emergency workers have loud speakers so they can plead with drivers to make way for them to pass. “Chaos” describes the traffic in Egypt. There are 2.2 million cars on the streets of Cairo, the nation’s capital, says Safwan Khedr, an engineering professor, that results in 1000 road accidents, with half of them being pedestrians, and injuring 4000 people on an annual basis, according to the World Bank.
Solution: Build a new Capital Cairo City.
The “Global City” will be 150 square miles, the size of Denver. “It will be a brand new city with shops, retail and industrial areas,” says Egypt’s investment minister Ashraf Salman. It will include 663 health intuitions, 40k hotel rooms, 700 kindergartens and 1,800,000 meters squared of large retail malls and 90 km of solar farms, housing 5 million people and providing 1.75 million jobs overall. More importantly, government buildings such as embassies and presidential palaces will be relocated to the new capital after a 5-7 year construction period.
While ambitious, this mega project comes at a steep price. “It’s estimated to cost $45 billion”, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly said during an economic development conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. As a result, the crowd’s reaction echoes an anxious sentiment: “How can we afford a brand new city when we can’t afford new roads or schools?” said Mosaab Mansour, a student. Whereas, others think it will take away from Cairo’s significance in terms of mosques and architecture. But investment banker Ahmed El-Houssieny is quick to squash the last claim, “You have lots of great cities that have been able to drive traffic away from the center and still maintain the capital’s glory”. The ambitious plan is in line with other countries which have changed capitals: Myanmar moved from derelict Yangoon to Naypyidaw and Brazil built Brasilia out of wilderness 50 years ago. A group of real estate investors led by Emirati developer Mohamed Alabbar will fund the project.
He’s best known for funding Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world standing at 2,716.5 feet. “The Gulf knows that Egypt is a good place to invest. I hope they make this new capital as beautiful as Dubai,” says Clothing store owner Rami al-Rafie.
- “Burj Khalifa.” Emmar Properties. N.p.. Web. 20 Mar 2015. <. N.p.. Web. 20 Mar 2015.>
- Bushra, Shadi, and Yara Bayoumi. “What can $300 billion buy in Egypt? A new capital or a pipedream.” Yahoo. N.p., 19 3 2015. Web. 19 Mar 2015.
- “Egypt’s New Capital City Revealed.” Egyptian Street. N.p.. Web. 19 Mar 2015.
- Walker, Brian. “Egypt unveils plan to build glitzy new capital.” CNN. N.p., 16 3 2015. Web. 19 Mar 2015.
ALAN DER OHANNESSIAN
Aspiring Tennis Pro Official