Egypt’s new capital - a smart city in the making
Aside from the recent troubles in Gaza threatening war in the Middle East, decades of population growth and unplanned urban sprawl have taken their tole on Egypt’s economy.
The Government is building several cities, including a new capital, one million low-cost homes, plus an infrastructure of highways and bridges.
This bustling regeneration has helped Egypt remain in growth in 2020, despite the economic shock of the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, some people are not happy. Citizens have been displaced and lost their homes to the building work. Others have seen their neighbourhoods transform too quickly. Analysts wonder how much of a difference the infrastructure boom will make while economic problems persist.
A new capital city
Under construction in the desert, east of Cairo (due to open later this year) is a a futuristic-looking city that many are calling “the new capital city”. Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi recently referred to it as “Hope city”. It’s officially referred to simply as the “New Administrative Capital”. It will be Egypt’s first smart city and is expected to house 6.5 million people. Covering 700 square kilometres of desert, it’s the size of Singapore.
Some people worry that the pace of change in Egypt is too fast and that the “old ways”, such as selling tomatoes from a donkey cart or driving a rickshaw, are being bulldozed and the people who rely on them forgotten.
Investing in the future
On the positive side, in Eastern Cairo and beyond, 1.1 trillion Egyptian pounds ($70 billion) (€53.7 billion) will be spent on transport between now and 2024. A third of that is for the new road network, which will connect many more citizens to transport networks, basic services and create the foundations for a raft of mobility services.
While being interviewed on television recently, Sisi was emphatic about the new developments: “We need to do this so we can make people’s lives easier, so we can reduce the amount of lost time, reduce people’s stress and stop the fuel being used causing more pollution.”
A 2014 World Bank Study put the cost of congestion in greater Cairo at 3.6% of gross domestic product. But while new roads are being built, old ones are poorly maintained.
Middle East’s first mobile natural gas fuel station opens in Egypt
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has launched the first mobile facility to supply cars with compressed natural gas as part of the sector’s efforts to increase the supply of the fuel across the country.
The new station can transport and store up to 5,000 cubic meters of gas and supply up to 1,000 cars every 24 hours to public, industrial and commercial facilities.
The Ministry has plans for 10 new mobile stations across the country, especially in areas of seasonal consumption, such as tourist spots and resorts.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Will Egypt’s smart city be a step too far or will it become a shining example to the rest of the world? Time will tell.
*Image courtesy of Shutterstock