Egyptian New Administrative Capital takes shape

While Egypt’s economy stumbles due to coronavirus, construction of a new capital east of Cairo continues at full throttle after a pause to adjust working practices, officials say. The level of activity at the desert site – where trucks rumble down newly built roads and cranes swing over unfinished apartment blocks – reflects the new city’s political importance even as government grapples with the pandemic.


Known as the New Administrative Capital, it is the biggest of a series of megaprojects championed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a source of growth and jobs. Soon after coronavirus started spreading, Sisi postponed moving the first civil servants to the new city and delayed opening of a national museum adjoining the pyramids to next year.

Productivity dipped as companies adapted to health guidelines and labourers stayed home. Officials sought to keep the megaprojects going to protect jobs and after 10 days of slowdown construction resumed at the new capital on a shift system, said Amr Khattab, spokesman for the Housing Ministry, which along with the military owns the company building the city.

“The proportion of the labour force on site doesn’t exceed 70%, so workers don’t get too close,” he said showing the R5 neighbourhood, which includes 24 000 housing units. “We work less intensively, but we do two shifts.”

Sisi, who publicly quizzes officials responsible for infrastructure projects about timetables and costs, launched the new capital in 2015. Designed as a high-tech smart city that will house 6,5 million people and relieve congestion in Cairo, it includes government and business districts, a giant park and a diplomatic quarter as yet unbuilt.

A senior official said last year the cost of the project was about $58 billion. Some Egyptians see the new capital as a source of pride for others it is extravagant and built to benefit a cocooned elite. READ MORE HERE