Egypt’s new administrative capital is located 45km east of Cairo on the way to the port City of Suez. The project is supposed to offer thousands of jobs and stimulate the economy. When complete the new capital is expected to accommodate a population of 5 million people solving the chronic congestion issue in current capital Cairo. Below is Egypt’s new administrative capital project timeline and all you need to know about the project from beginning to the present date.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in 2015 between UAE based Capital City Planners and the government of Egypt to undertake the US $58bn project that would give rise to a modern, new city in Egypt to replace the old. The announcement was received with excitement but scepticism still remained and would be validated in September the same year when the MOU was withdrawn by the government siting lack of progress on the part of Capital City Planners.
A new MOU later the same year was then signed with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) with the main focus being centered around putting up buildings that would house government ministries and agencies as well as the president’s office. The Chinese were to build a new parliament complex, 12 ministerial buildings, a convention center and an exhibition area at what is believed would be a whooping US $45bn. This would undoubtedly form the nucleus from which the rest of the city would grow as demand for other amenities such as housing and shopping would stem.
The Central Business District (CBD) contract was signed by CSCEC and the country’s Ministry of Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities. With a total area of 1,900,000 square meters, the project consists of 20 buildings, including 12 high-rise office buildings, five high-rise apartment buildings, two luxury hotels, and a 385.8m tall Iconic Tower, which will be the tallest in Africa. The whole project is scheduled to be delivered by 2022.
The government of Egypt through the country’s Ministry of Antiquities signed a cooperation protocol with Almasa Group for the construction of a new grand museum near the pyramids.
CSCEC officially started the CBD project in May
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated Egypt and Middle East’s largest cathedral called “The Nativity of Christ” in the NAC and the grand mosque called “Al-Fattah Al-Aleem Mosque” the second largest in the world after the Great Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Construction of the Iconic Tower in the CBD begins.
In January, according to Chang Weicai, general manager of CSCEC Egypt, they had finished constructing 16 floors, 100m height of the Iconic Tower. The construction speed rate at the tower had reached 5.5 or six days per floor. The tower is expected to be 385m high by the end of 2020
In March, CSCEC finished the capping of the first skyscraper in the 20 tower CBD; C03.
Soon after Covid -19 (coronavirus) hit Egypt in early April, president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi postponed construction to curb the spread of the deadly disease. However, officials sought to keep the mega-projects going to protect jobs. Construction has since resumed but on a smaller scale, utilizing the shift system.
In September, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) held an online open-day event on the Central Business District (CBD) project in Egypt’s new administrative capital. The event showcased the construction progress of a series of landmark buildings.
Waleed Ramadan, technical engineer of the project, said that CSCEC had immediately taken preventive measures since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in January. This has ensured the orderly operation of construction works, whilst effectively protecting the safety of its staff and contractors.
Civil Engineer Mohamed Nagar introduced the “building machine” used for the iconic tower. This self-developed technology can finish building one floor in five days when operating at its full capacity. The tower, with 80 floors in total, has been built to its 40th floor so far.
In the same month, Egyptian-Chinese Consortium Samcrete Engineers & Contractors won the bid for executing the Ain Sokhna to Alamein high-speed electric rail with the cost of US $9bn. The 534km rail will pass through the cities of the New Administrative Capital, Sixth of October, Burj al-Arab and Alexandria making it the first electric railway in Egypt since 1854. The consortium also includes the Chinese companies CCECC, CRRC, and CR20.
The final route for the high-speed electric train covering Ain Sokhna/Administrative Capital/al-Alamein will include 15 stations. The stations include: Ain Sokhna/the New Administrative Capital/Wagh Quibli/6th of October I/6th of October II/ Rawd al-Farag/Wadi al-Natroun/Burg al-Arab/Bahig/al-Hammam/al-Omayed/New Alamein City/Burg al-Arab Stadium/al-Amreya/Alexandria.
In late September, Egypt launched its first ministerial headquarters in the New Administrative Capital project, in preparation for the transfer of the most prominent government headquarters in Cairo to the new location in the coming months. The headquarters of the Ministry of Finance has been furnished and equipped as a model for the rest of the ministries.
Furthermore, Hill International was awarded a contract to provide project management, design review, and implementation supervision services for the New Administrative Capital’s Monorail project. Built by Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels, the estimated US $4bn project represents the first monorail project in North Africa and, once complete, will be the longest monorail system in the world at a combined 98.5 km.
The project’s first line will extend 56.5 km from East Cairo to the New Administrative Capital. The second line will be 42 km long to connect 6th of October City to Giza. These are the first mass transit links to connect Greater Cairo with New Capital City and 6th of October City. With operating speeds up to 80 km/h, the journey time for the new Capital City will be around 60 minutes (for 56.5 km line) and around 42 minutes for 6th of October City (42km line). Once complete, the two lines will transport approximately 45,000 passengers per hour at peak capacity, greatly improving mobility for Egyptian citizens in a safe and sustainable manner.
The project will use the design-build-operate-and-maintain (DBOM) delivery method, and includes 34 stations, including both elevated and at-grade locations, and associated works including maintenance facilities, depots, and an Operations Control Centre. The monorail will also intersect with the Cairo Metro’s Line 3 as well as Cairo’s High Speed Rail network, further connecting the dynamic Cairo region.
In early October, Siemens-Hassan Allam consortium won the tender to construct an electricity control center in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) at US $56.1m. The scope of works include the construction of the power control center, developing communication networks, and improving electrical transmission over a two-year period.
In late October, UAE-based leading sustainability pioneer Bee’ah was awarded a contract appointing the firm as the waste management and city cleaning partner for Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) by the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD).
Bee’ah Egypt’s facilities include a refuse-derived fuel facility, which can process up to 1,500 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily to generate fuel for cement industries and a Bee’ah Egypt medical waste facility that can process up to six tonnes of medical waste per day. Non-recyclable waste will be disposed of in an engineered landfill with gas monitoring and extraction in full compliance with responsible landfill management.
In November, Taj Misr Developments launched a commercial project with a total investment of US $95.8m in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital. Spanning over 23 acres, the EGP 2 billion urban project includes around 32 residential buildings and a shopping mall and is scheduled to be completed after three years.
In late November, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi inspected on several construction sites in the New Administrative Capital, including the arts and culture city and the new Opera House.
The president hailed the construction and designs of the arts and culture city, which will be the largest artistic city in the Middle East. The 127-feddan arts and culture city was established in line with international standards to be a beacon of arts and culture in the region.
The city will house several theatres, cinemas, libraries, and museums along with a mosque large enough for 600 worshippers. The president said the new Opera House will be the largest in the Middle East.
In mid-December, a consortium comprising Siemens Smart Infrastructure and Hassan Allam Construction secured a contract from Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) to build the new National Energy Control Center in the New Administrative Capital of Egypt.
Under the US $54.5m contract, the consortium will be responsible for constructing a power grid control centre that will monitor and control extra-high voltage transmission networks and power generation stations across Egypt with advanced software and equipment.
Other technologies will be deployed at the control centre to support future grid expansion while ensuring a secure energy supply.The new centre and the backup control centre located in Giza will be equipped with Siemens Spectrum Power 7 platform for transmission management in energy networks.
In the same period, the Egyptian Parliament’s Transport and Communications Committee approved a US $2.2bn loan facilitation agreement between the National Authority for Tunnels and GB Morgan Europe Limited and other financial institutions, for the construction of the monorail lines at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) and 6th of October city.
According to the Undersecretary of the Transport Committee Rizk Ragheb Daiallah, who chaired the meeting, parliament values the monorails project in NAC and therefore its implementation should be swift. “Members must have sufficient confidence in how to repay the loan without the state bearing any burdens, taking into account that the Egyptian citizen does not bear any financial burdens,” he said.
Daiallah further requested that the committee’s members provide a full feasibility study to work on paying the loan, as well as construction contracts. “Once the study is provided, the parliament will fully approve it.
In late December, Vodafone CEO Nick Read announced that the company intends to start experimenting with 5G mobile networks in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital due to its modern infrastructure.
This is in light of the group’s experience in communications and digital transformation and reliance on technological systems in managing new facilities and cities, which represent a fundamental pillar within the framework of the state’s plan for digitalization and comprehensive development in Egypt.
Read said that the balanced path that Egypt had taken in dealing with the coronavirus contributed to preserving economic, commercial and service activity in the country and to achieving positive growth rates.
In early January, Housing Minister Essam el Gazzar announced that 53 floors of the Iconic Tower have been finalized and fronts of other towers are currently under construction in the Central Business District (CBD) at the New Administrative Capital.
Meanwhile, the construction of the third residential district, Capital Residence, is also underway, with 90% of the district finished. Capital Residence is built on an area of 1,016 acres and includes eight neighborhoods, with a total of 24,130 housing units, the minister said.
Another district named “New Garden City”, is 82% complete. The district includes 295 residential buildings, 105 villas, 175 townhouses, 11 towers, and 96 mixed housing buildings, he added.
Gazzar confirmed that the Cairo Capital Central Park project will cover an area of one thousand acres, making it one of the largest parks in the world. The park will be divided into three sectors, each of them will include recreation areas, gardens, and commercial facilities.
In mid-January, the National Authority for Tunnels, a governmental authority under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport of Egypt, and Siemens Mobility signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) together with the local companies Orascom Construction S.A.E. and The Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Co.), to design, install and commission Egypt’s first ever high-speed rail transportation system.
Additionally, Siemens Mobility will be providing maintenance services. The agreement comprises a rail system with a network of 1000km, with the first being a 460km high-speed line. The order value of this initial high-speed line is around US $3bn.
In late January, NAC spokesperson Khaled al-Husseiny revealed that construction of the governmental neighborhood is 90% complete. The ministries, parliament, and governmental agencies are moving to the New Capital by 30th June transferring 40,000 employees who are granted residencies in Badr City lying few kilometers from their work location.
Husseiny further added that the project has raised the value of land around the project. The price of a square meter jumped from LE50 to LE50,000 in some areas of the New Capital.
Furthermore, Egypt and China signed an attachment agreement on completing works at the Central Business District (CBD) in the New Administrative Capital (NAC). A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the management and operation of the project was also signed. Egypt’s minister of housing Assem El-Gazzar urged the contractor to speed up workflow as the CBD project might host the launching ceremony of the first phase of NAC.
In early February, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker revealed that, New Administrative Capital (NAC’s) electrical power plant is the largest of its kind in the world. According to the minister the power plant, which was established only 2 and a half years ago, is cooled by air. It adds to Egypt’s aspiration to export renewable energy to Europe through modern networks.
Around the same time, Orange Business Services announced that it will design and build a new data center to provide cloud services for Egypt’s ‘New Administrative Capital’. The project will be implemented in collaboration with Orange Egypt, who will supply the required infrastructure and services, following their appointment as the project’s prime contractor by Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) – owner and developer of the New Administrative Capital.
The ACUD project has been designed as a smart sustainable city located 45 kilometers east of Cairo on a greenfield site, covering a total area of 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) mid-way to the seaport city of Suez.