EGYPT: Major building boom, a breath of fresh air in the 37 new smart city projects

Building boom underway as president el-Sisi seeks to modernize and transform the Middle East’s most populous country. [Image: courtesy]
Egypt—Situated nearly 45km east of Cairo, Egypt’s New Administrative Capital has already taken shape and played host to several glitzy events

The aptly named city, which Egyptian officials liken to South Africa’s Pretoria, is where the new government headquarters are situated care situated.

Relocation of some 50,000 state employees is planned to begin within a few months.

The first phase of construction work has been underway for the past five years, with $20bn of investments pumped into an area spanning 40,000 feddans (16,800ha).

When all three phases are complete, the fully developed new capital should be able to accommodate up to 6.5 million people on 70,000 ha- almost the size of Singapore.

It has been a boon for construction companies both domestic and foreign. China State Construction Engineering Cooperation won a deal in 2017 to build 20 big towers in the New Administrative Capital and they are due to be completed by next year.

The building boom is also a boot for Orascom Construction, a local company that signed $ 1bn in projects in the last quarter of 2020, with almost two-thirds of them in Egypt.

In September, Orascom, the Arab Contractors, and Germany’s Siemens signed a deal with the government to build a high-speed rail from Ain Sokhna to Alexandria.

The Arab Contractserts company is building the new Senate, the new parliament, and a huge Islmaic cultural center in the newly constructed city.

Hundreds of kilometers to the west on the Mediterranean – New Alamein, Egypt’s second most eminent mega-development, has been growing since 2018 on a 20,160-hectare parcel of land and is designed to house two million people.

Like the new capital, New Alamein bristles with towers and skyscrapers (which are rare in Egypt) as well as government offices.

Both projects are part of 37 smart cities that are either at the planning stage or are already doing build under the auspices of the government and the military, which is heavily entrenched in the contracting business.