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News Every Day |

Cairo is bursting at the seams, so Egypt is building a new $58 billion capital 30 miles away. Take a look.

Egypt New Administrative Capital
The Iconic Tower.
  • In an attempt to tackle overcrowding in Cairo, Egypt's government decided to build a new capital. 
  • The city, which already holds Africa's tallest building, is expected to cost $58 billion to build.
  • The eye-watering cost of the project has drawn criticism from some quarters.

Like Indonesia, Egypt is building a new capital — although in this case, it's responding to the challenge of overcrowding.

The existing capital, Cairo, is home to about 22 million people, making it one of the world's most densely populated metropolitan areas. Policymakers believe that constructing new city could help to reduce congestion there.

It has yet to be given an official name but is often to referred to as the New Administrative Capital.

The city is being built in the desert 30 miles away from Cairo and already hosts an imposing skyscraper in the central business district.

Egypt's government has forecast that the new administrative capital will cost $58 billion to complete.

More than 1,500 families have already moved there, CNN reported, citing Khaled Abbas, chairman of the Administrative Capital for Urban Development, which oversees the project.

The plan is for it to eventually have 6.5 million residents. Take a closer look at the details.

Egypt announced its plan for a new capital in March 2015
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Egypt's government unveiled its plan to build the capital over nine years ago, estimating at the time that the project would cost $45 billion. The new city is one of several mega projects announced under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's leadership. He's also mulling further whether the Suez Canal can be further expanded.

The government is trying to ease overcrowding in Cairo
Cairo overcrowding

When the project was announced, then-housing minister Mostafa Madbouly said it was part of a plan to reduce congestion in Cairo over four decades. Greater Cairo's population was on track to double to about 36 million within that timeframe, he added.

Officials picked a site in the desert, 30 miles east of Cairo
Map of Egypt new capital

The new city is located between Cairo and the seaport city of Suez. It's connected to the old capital by an electrified light railway system that opened in July 2022.

Here's what the area looked like before construction started
New Capital Egypt

The Atlantic used past satellite imagery from Google Earth to take a snapshot of what the Egyptian government's chosen site looked like 10 years ago before construction started.

This is how it’s changed since then
Egypt new capital

The site now has government, business, and residential districts, and is home to many civil servants and their families. Fourteen government ministries and entities have relocated to the new capital as of this month.

At the center of the city is the Iconic Tower, Africa's tallest building
Egypt New Administrative Capital
The Iconic Tower.

The skyscraper, which was completed last year, stands at around 396 meters. It has 77 floors for a mixture of residential, office, and hotel uses.

The new capital is also home to one of Africa's largest mosques ...
Egypt grand mosque

The Grand Mosque can hold 107,000 worshippers, the BBC reported. As of last year, it was home to the world's heaviest chandelier, which weighed more than 50,000 pounds.

... and a massive stadium
Egypt Stadium

The venue, known as the New Administrative Capital Stadium, can hold nearly 94,000 people. It's part of the "Olympic City" complex, which the government hopes will help it win the right to host major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup.

But some are concerned about the project's huge cost
Egypt capital

Egypt has said the project will be funded by state-owned enterprises and money it can rake in from selling land — but some critics believe the country shouldn't be spending so much money on a new capital.

Political analyst Maged Mandour previously told The New York Times that the government was "borrowing money from abroad to build a massive city for the rich," reflecting the fact it's taken out billion-dollar loans from the IMF.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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