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Egypt unveils plans for new administrative city

Egypt pens deal with Emirati real estate developer to build a new city outside of Cairo to attract foreign investment
A delegation looks at a scale model of the new Egyptian capital displayed at the congress hall in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on 14 March, 2015 (AFP)

The Egyptian government on Saturday signed a contract with Emirati-based real estate developer Emaar to build the first phase of a new administrative capital with investments worth $45bn.

The contract was signed on the sidelines of a three-day investment summit that kicked off on Friday in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh with the aim of attracting foreign investment and shoring up Egypt’s economy.

The deal was signed by Egypt’s Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the United Arab Emirates’ Prime Minister Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum attended the signing ceremony.

Addressing the summit on Friday, Madbouly said that the new administrative capital - which will be built on 1,500 feddans (3,500 hectares) - will take five to seven years to complete, and will include new locations for the presidential palace, the parliament, the cabinet as well as a diplomatic district.

He said the new capital, located 45 kilometres east of Cairo and near the Suez Canal, will be the focus of economic activities.

The minister said the new city, the name of which has not been revealed, will create around 1.7 million jobs.

“The idea to build the new city originated from our awareness that Cairo’s current population will double in the next 40 years,” Madbouly said during the presentation to global leaders and diplomats at the conference.

The new city will have “an international airport, a theme park four times bigger than Disneyland in California, 90 kilometres of solar farms, and an electric train” to link the new city with Cairo, he added.

The website of the city revealed that Cairo’s population is expected to grow to 40 million by 2050 from the current 18 million. The new city will house up to five million people in 25 residential districts.

The Egyptian government has unveiled a host of investment projects at the conference in hopes of luring investment to revive its economy.

Egypt received a total of $4.7bn worth of foreign investment during the 2013/2014 fiscal year.

The Egyptian government expects a four percent GDP growth in 2014/2015, up from 2.1 percent the previous fiscal year.

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