The New Administrative Capital, located 45km east of Cairo on the way to the port city of Suez, has in store a promising future for Egypt. The modern smart city is being built over a stretch of 28 miles, which is equal to the size of Singapore.
Egypt announced the government will be relocated to the new capital during the Sharm El-Sheikh Economic Forum in 2015, amid arguments about how much this step represents a dire need for the future of Egypt.
According to the scheme, initiating the governmental transition should be in the last quarter of the current year. The Information and Decision Support Center reported that the first departments to be transferred will be those concerned with communications, information technology, finance, and engineering.
The New Republic:
Cairo is a deeply rooted historical city, which has been the capital since the Fatimid era in 358 AH till present. However, there were ancient times when Cairo was not the capital. For instance, Alexandria used to be the capital of Egypt since Alexander the Great built it in 332 B.C. The Islamic leader Amr Ibn El Ass had to move into another capital in order to be protected from sea attacks; this was also the way how he launched a new era in Egypt.
It is only normal, in this light, that moving to a new capital is associated with launching a new political era. President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi launched the New Republic, reiterating the notion on several occasions. Hence, he wanted to prove that the new capital is not just a city with new progressive buildings, but it is the birth of a new country which has been planned to be a leading political, economic, and cultural center in the whole Middle East region and north of Africa.
Solving the Population Crisis
Cairo, home to nearly 18 million people, is a very crowded city. Its centrality for decades has made it a target for rural citizens. Government programs and initiatives have not succeeded in reducing immigration rates to the capital. Added to this, experts figure out Cairo streets will turn into a huge garage according to the current population growth rate in just a few years. Thus, exodus from the current capital was a pressing need on the road to progress and development. The New Capital’s targeted population during the first phase is about five million inhabitants (according to the Ministry of Housing, Utility and Urban Communities) in addition to 100,000 government employees who will be transferred from Cairo to the new capital. The government is seeking to ease the population burden on the current capital.
Egypt seeks to create an attractive urban model to be emulated in other local urban centers. In addition, the new capital is intended to become a model of inclusive and sustainable urban development in the Middle East. It is also meant to overcome the major problems present in Egypt’s older cities, such as the decaying urban environment, random immigration, infrastructure management and overcrowded transit systems. Furthermore, job creation is among the main goals of the city.
Egypt is building its new capital with huge technological potentials. As an illustration, Egypt’s future government, in the new capital, has been established in order to keep up with the latest world updates in digitalization, and to meet up with digital transformation goals as stated in the Egyptian 2030 Strategy. The Egyptian Ministry of Communication is currently working on the digitalization of all government procedures. In other words, it will be a smart city where citizens do not have to travel long distances to finalize their paper work. Instead, he/she would have the ability to get the necessary papers online through online applications.
As for achieving the state target for a smart, safe city, the New Capital will contain a network of at least 6,000 cameras that will monitor activity on every street, tracking pedestrians and vehicles to regulate traffic and report suspicious activity. Officials say surveillance technology will detect crime and enhance safety, and Egyptian law and international standards will protect that data. Added to this, people will be able to use smart cards and applications to unlock doors and make payments.
In conclusion, the New Administrative Capital is not a regular residential compound. Relocating the capital is meant to redraw the economic and political dimensions of the state. It was essential to build the New Administrative Capital to overcome the problems of Cairo, such as the weak infrastructure, poor planning, and its inability to achieve Egypt’s Vision 2030. The New Capital will have great contributions in boosting the Egyptian economy as well.
According to Oxford business group, construction has been one of the most dynamic sectors in Egypt’s economy during the recent years, Between 2013 and 2017, the country channeled over EGP 1 trillion ($61.6 bn) towards infrastructure investment, according to the African Development Bank.
In 2018/19, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) reported that the construction and building sector’s contribution to GDP at the current prices grew by 24.8 percent to reach EGP 320.8 billion ($19.8 billion). At fixed 2016/17 prices, its contribution grew by 8.8 percent to reach EGP 233.6 billion ($14.4 billion). Construction and building represented approximately 6.2 percent of the country’s GDP in 2018/19, up from 5.9 percent the previous year. The CBE reported that a total EGP 48.7 billion ($3 billion) was invested in the sector over this period, up to 286.5 percent from EGP 12.6 billion ($776.5 million) in 2017/18.