FILE – New Administrative Capital
CAIRO – 21 December 2018: In the face of an ever-growing population, the Egyptian Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, under the supervision of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who has paid great attention to fourth generation cities since his first term as president, is currently constructing 20 fourth generation cities on a total land area of 580,000 acres. According to calculations and approximations, the 20 cities should be able to house 30 million people.
Yet, this is not all that they will be doing; they will also lead to an increase in investments, provide hundreds of thousands of job opportunities and create more diverse living sites and working positions for Egyptians, as well as ensure the affordability of houses in Egypt by creating abundance in the real estate market. The cities are also expected to lead to a significant rise in production, which, in turn, is expected to lead to a rise in gross domestic product (GDP).
The 20 cities are: the New Administrative Capital and South of New Cairo in Cairo; new 6th of October City, October Gardens, extension of Sheikh Zayed, New Sphinx, new Al-Warraq in Giza; El-Obour City, El-Qalyubia Governorate; New Alamein city in Marsa Matrouh; new Mansoura City in Dakahlia Governorate; extension of New Nubaria in Behaira Governorate; East Port Said “Salam” in Western Port Said; new Bir al-Abd inNorthern Sinai; new Al-Fashn in BeniSuef; new Mallawi in Minya Governorate; Western Assiut; Western Qena; New Luxor; and Toshka in Aswan.
Most prominently in this list, of course, are: the New Administrative Capital, the East Port Said City, the New Ismailia City, the New Alamein City and the El-Galal Plateau.
Here is some background information about each of the five most prominent cities.
The New Administrative Capital
Early October 2017, Egypt celebrated the launching of the first phase of the new Administrative Capital. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi opened the ceremony with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail by his side. The new Administrative Capital will be the first smart city in Egypt.
“It is too early to say we have achieved anything… this is only the first step,” Sisi said, noting that the New Administrative Capital will be registered in history as a major achievement and a turning point in Egypt’s development.
Head of the Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority Kamil El-Wazir said during the opening ceremony that the authority started working on the project in July 2016. “We were assigned to work on the government district, which will spread over 1,133 feddans and will include buildings of ministries and the parliament.”
He added that they are working on the residential district, the New Capital Airport, universities and a network of roads and tunnels.
The New Administrative Capital is the government’s ambitious means of expanding urban development in Cairo and accommodating the rising population of Egypt. The project has been announced in 2015 and is being developed by the New Administrative Capital for Urban Development.
The project’s first phase is worth a total of $8 billion and spans over 12,500 feddans, featuring 25,000 residential units and infrastructure projects, according to the Minister of Housing and Urban Communities Mostafa Madbouly.
Approximately 96 kilometers of roads, water supplies, rural sanitation projects, and irrigation systems will be included in the same phase where they’ll be constructed by 17 contractors.
The entire project features a total of 20 residential neighborhoods worth $15 billion, eight of which will be built in the first phase. The residential areas in the project will include an array of accommodation units including apartments, villas, town houses, office spaces and commercial areas.
The Egyptian government has created a master plan for the New Administrative Capital City, which is supposed to include residential districts, educational facilities, hospitals, 40,000 hotel rooms, a theme park, solar panels, and an international airport, making it a local and regional investment hub.
The government has offered several land plots in the mega project to developers and investors earlier this year to include active agents in the developments such as the Arab Contractors, Concord for Engineering and Contracting Company, and Talaat Mostafa Group Holding Company.
Considered one of the world’s largest hotels, Al Masah Capital Hotel has been opened in the third quarter of 2017. It spans over 10 acres of land and features a conference area, lakes, mosque, and a mall.
The project features 20 towers including the tallest tower in Africa that will have a height of 345 meters according to Madbouly’s statement.
CEO of the New Administrative Capital for Urban Development Company, Ayman Ismail, has stated earlier at the Euromoney Conference, which was held in September, that the mega project is meant to feature mixed-use developments accompanied by a full transportation scheme.
Ismail has spoken during the conference about the benefits of building mixed-use developments serving larger numbers of the Egyptian population; elaborating that the company needed to expand urbanization and land was the main source of accommodating the growing population of Cairo that contains over 20 million citizens.
He strictly emphasized that the project is not a replacement for the actual capital of Cairo but is a further expansion to it, and that it will also not operate in the same manner as recent developments in areas like New Cairo and 6th of October City.
“Cairo is facing a challenge with government institutions and offices being centered in downtown, and the plan here is to relocate these offices to the project in the ‘government district’ while also serving an economic purpose of acquiring revenues worth $10 billion by 2030, and being in proximity to Cairo and the SCZone,” Ismail explained.
Ismail added that the government district will be finalized by 2018 and state institutions will be relocating in 2019.
The headquarters of the Egyptian presidency will be relocated to the New Administrative Capital by June 2019, said Chairperson of the New Administrative Capital for Urban Development Ahmad Zaki Abdeen.
He added in an interview with CBC that the New Administrative Capital is planned to be a sustainable and smart city, housing the ministries, parliament, Egyptian Media Production City, presidential palaces, and embassies.
Abdeen pointed out that 25 public and private construction companies have been mandated to carry out the infrastructure projects and build the residential neighborhoods of the new capital, while the armed forces are only responsible for managing the project.
He added that the company provided about 170,000 jobs in the construction operations and the coming phases of the project will require more workers, stressing that the state treasury does not bear the burden of financing any phase of the project.
Abdeen expected that housing prices in Cairo will decline significantly in the coming years because of the rise of supply in the market after completing the construction of the planned 350,000 housing units in the capital.
The New Administrative Capital Company is 51% owned by the armed forces and 49% by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA). The paid-up capital of the company amounts to LE 20 billion, including contributions from the armed forces and NUCA, and the authorized capital is LE 204 billion.
With an area of 170,000 feddans, the new capital will include 20 residential areas expected to accommodate 6.5 million people and a road network 650 km in length. The capital will include an international airport and an electric train to link it with the 10th of Ramadan and El-Salam cities.
It will feature 1,250 mosques and churches, a 5,000-seat conference center, nearly 2,000 schools and colleges, over 600 medical facilities, and a park that is projected to be the world’s largest.
It has been confirmed that the New Administrative Capital will include six international universities from the United States, Britain, Hungary, Canada, Sweden and France, said Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdul Ghaffar early November 2017.
This was during the International Education Conference held in the United Kingdom November 1, 2017, entitled “Cross Boundary Education in Egypt and the Chances of Investment in the Higher Education.”
“The universities will improve our educational system, as they will qualify graduates for competing internationally,” Abdul Ghaffar stated, adding that the universities' role will not be limited to education only, as part of the budget will be spent on scientific research.
The Egyptian government is concerned with providing all the necessary needs of the Egyptian youth regarding higher education through inserting different fields in both governmental and private universities, as well as providing international education in Egypt.
Egypt seeks to restore its position among high education centers in the Middle East and Africa and to double the number of overseas students. This would increase its national income, attract foreign investments in the higher education sector and help establish branches of international universities in the New Administrative Capital.
During his speech, Abdul Ghaffar stressed on the good relations between Egypt and the U.K., particularly in the scientific and cultural fields and the partnerships promoted between Egyptian and English institutions.
Abdul Ghaffar reviewed Egypt’s 2030 vision, asserting that this vision requires a strong infrastructure and human personnel qualified for growth and development.
The East Port Said City
In a ministerial decree (No. 18) issued January 20, 2015 and a prime ministerial decree (No. 1,115) issued May 6, 2015, 19,351 acres were located to the East Port Said City. The integrated, all-rounded city is a natural extension of Port Said and will be able to accommodate a million people.
Located in Egypt’s Port Fuad at the northern side of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), the East Port Said Industrial Zone covers an area of 16 kilometers squared and is developed and promoted by the East Port Said Development Company.
Investments in the industrial zone are estimated at $1.8 billion and will provide some 8,000 direct and 20,000-25,000 indirect jobs. The dredging operations are carried out by the Suez Canal Authority over three stages at a total cost of $325 million; more than 80% of the dredging work is complete and the project is expected to be ready by September 2019.
The industrial park is the SCZone’s wing that includes light and medium industries, most prominently: automotive assembly parts, construction and building material, home appliances and electronics, textile and ready-made garment, agri-business and food processing, pharmaceutical, and Information and Communications Technology, as well as other similar general industries.
To lure companies into the industrial park, the Egyptian government provides a number of incentives, including zero tax and duties on tools, machines and raw materials for the production of goods that will be exported.
During an inspection by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in March 2018 of the major projects in eastern Port Said region, Port Said Governor Adel Al Ghadban stated that the first complex for small-scale industries that is home to 58 factories was set up, adding that three other factories for fish packaging, utensils manufacturing and power-saving lamps were established.
Another factory for producing car tyres and another for producing cooking oil will be set up by the end of 2018 at total cost of LE 4 billion; the factories are expected to provide some 5,000 jobs for young individuals in the area.
Port Said Governor Adel Al Ghadban added that the City Hall has established a factory for garbage recycling with the aim of creating a clean environment in the governorate.
Additionally, two industrial waste recycling plants are under construction; the waste plants will be constructed at a cost of LE 5.2 billion, approximately.
To ensure that unemployment levels decline and that more and more young people are given the chance to reach their potential, more than 20 training programs have also been set up for young individuals. The programs’ objective is to prepare young men and women to work in major projects and in different industries.
So far, the program has placed 7,000 young individuals in jobs after undertaking the training program.
Commenting on the importance of the East Port Said Industrial Zone, Head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish said that the industrial park is expected to turn Egypt into a regional hub for maritime trade, given its geographically strategic location on the on the Eastern entrance of the Suez canal.
The New Ismailia City
Launched on November 6, 2014, the New Ismailia City covers an area of 2,175 acres along 11.3 kilometers, between the two navigational routes of the Suez Canal. As a natural extension of Ismailia, the city provides urban living, with high standards, for about 60,000 individuals. The city, which is being established on the Suez Canal’s eastern coast, will provide some 100,000 jobs for those living in the area.
The city, which comes as part of the development project in the Suez Canal, will also serve the development project; the city will depend primarily on alternative energy sources and clean energy. Generally speaking, Ismailia is set to be Egypt’s first electronic city.
The city’s plan stipulates that the city will have 5,754 residential units, 620 semi-detached town houses, 373 villas, health case facilities, social service centers, sports and social clubs, schools, markets and hospitals. The city will also be established on seven stages, each one will see one district finalized, each of which will be home to 700 residential buildings and service shops and centers.
The Alamein City
On March 11, 2017, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issues a decree to form a committee headed by presidential aide for national and strategic projects Ibrahim Mahlab to study allocation thousands of feddans of state-owned land for the New Alamein City project in Marsa Matrouh governorate. The project was first announced in 2014.
The decree allocated 41,703 feddans to the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), responsible for urbanising and modernising Egypt, as well as establishing new cities to keep up with the country’s ever-growing population. The decree also allocated 7,268 feddans of coastal lands along the Alexandria – Marsa Matrouh road for the New Alamein City.
The New Alamein City will also include a national university that comprises a number of applied science faculties, an opera house, a library and a museum, and is designed to include 5,000 housing units to accommodate more than 400,000 inhabitants.
All land and touristic sites under the Ministry of Tourism or owned by the Armed Forces within the allocated land will be excluded from said decree.
With the government allocating $59.6 billion from the state budget for the developmental and infrastructural needs of the project, the first phase of the project was inaugurated by President Sisi on March 1, 2018.
The first phase includes eco-city and will include an international tourism center (including a museum and galleries), an international park, a university, a service center.
Meanwhile, a ‘Latin Qarter’ is also being built by six Egyptian companies in the classical architectural style of Greco-Roman similar to that found in Egypt’s old capital, Alexandria. The ‘Latin Qarter’ will cover an area of 450 feddans, including 12,000 housing units, educational, health, religious and commercial facilities.
The new city will also have 16 hotels, a cinema complex, a scientific research center, a yacht marine, a business centre and sports clubs. It is designed as a whole city; a continuation of Alexandria, experts have said.
The New Alamein City has also caught the eyes of the world, with many calling it the “New Riviera”, and other citing it as a ‘must go’ location.
“New Alamein City will change the map of that part of the country and give a major push to the Egyptian economy,” Tarek Shoukri, Chairman and CEO of Arabia Group, told Invest-Gate.
“There will be hotels, residential projects, a zone for agricultural production, and factories where these products will be manufactured for exporting to other countries,” Shoukri continued. The city, he points out, will be self-sustainable and is expected to be home to one million people.
“The North Coast will no longer consist of only closed resorts that merely work during the summer season. Facilities and services will keep it alive all year long,” he adds.
“The city will be a starting point for a new generation of new cities as it will rely on making use of natural resources, including water and energy. We will make use of the city’s proximity to the coast and provide drinking water through desalination using solar energy,” Mona Kamel, spokesperson of the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) has pointed out.
“The New Alamein City will be very attractive to investors and real estate developers as it will encompass hotels operating for at least six or seven months a year, touristic villages, a commercial zone and an entertainment park,” Kamel said to Invest-Gate..
El Galala Plateau project
Covering 19,000 feddans on the “al-Galala al- Bahareya”, which lies 700 meters above sea-level in the Red Sea area between Ain Sokhna and Zafarana, the Armed Forces Engineering Authority and more than 100 local civil companies are establishing an integrated city on the El-Galala Plateau.
Launched in January 2014, the project provides more than 150,000 job opportunities to workers, employees and engineers and is made up of three parts: the main road (82 kilometers, stretching from Wadi Hagoul tunnel on the Sokhna road until kilometre 10 on Beni Suef’s Zafarana road), the integrated city and an integrated touristic city in Ras Abu Al-Darag.
The project creates a new civilized community with all services and employment opportunities available, including a university, which is currently under construction, and phosphate factories. The University of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is also just 7 kilometers away.
In accordance with Egypt’s plan to diversify the types of tourism in the country, ranging from cultural, medical, religious and professional, as well as other types of tourism, the Plateau Project will also have a 1,000-feddan tourist resort, a hotel by the beach and another hotel on top of the mountain—both of which enjoy breath-taking scenery, an Aqua park that is home to three swimming pools and 18 different international-standard rides, yacht marina, a shopping centre and the largest telepherique (cable car) in the Middle East region; all of which are set to ensure El-Galala Plateau Project attracts many local and international tourists. The coastal hotel includes 297 rooms, 28 villas attached to the hotel and 48 chalets.
Water and energy resources for the plateau will be provided through the construction of desalination plant with a daily capacity of 150,000 cubic meters and the upgrading of Suez’s Ataqa power plant and Zafrana’s wind farms. The integrated city is set to have energy provided mainly through new and renewable energy sources.
During an inspection of the urban and service city by President Abdel Fatal al-Sisi in September 2018, the president stated the vitality of the project in achieving an urban community—President Sisi had focused on creating well-rounded urban cities during his first and second (current) term as president—where citizens can enjoy a decent lifestyle.
“President Sisi listened to detailed explanation of the integrated development project. Sisi paid a visit also to the giant water desalination plant in the Galala city with a capacity of 150,000 cubic meters per day. Then, he moved over the upper bridge and visited the Aqua Park of the Galala Marina,” presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi said in a statement.
“Sisi praised the efforts exerted to complete the project in accordance with international standards,” Radi stressed.
The presidential spokesmen went on to explain that the Egyptian President’s focus on the project comes as a result of the positive effect it will have on investment opportunities, tourism, the phosphate industry and providing citizens with a clean environment to live in.
The Galala Mountain project is one of over 253 national projects that the military engineering authority is supervising nationwide. Generally speaking, real estate and infrastructure projects carries out by the country are essential to ensure there is enough space for the ever-growing Egyptian population and to lure in foreign, as well as local, investors, and bring more tourists into the country, all of which will contribute to turning the economy around.