Egypt plans new capital city covering 700 square kilometres

Egypt is to unveil plans for a vast new privately funded administrative capital for seven million residents that would extend Cairo eastwards to the coast of the Red Sea.

The Capital Cairo project, due to be launched today by Mostafa Madbouly, Egypt's housing minister, at a development conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, would involve creating a new urbanised zone covering 700 square kilometres.

The north African country is hoping to secure backing for the £44 billion project from a Middle Eastern developer.

"We are talking to a master developer," Egypt's investment minister Ashraf Salman told Emirati newspaper The National. "A signature will take place by the conference, and after that the construction will begin."

Salman said the project would be entirely funded by private investors. "The government will incur zero cost in the city, and this will be totally developed, masterplanned and executed by a private sector company – a developer from the Gulf," he said.

The National reported that Dubai property developer Emaar, whose projects include the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was being linked to the project. Emaar refused to comment.

Salman added: "We're talking a very big city. It is just the size of New Cairo itself… It is the 'new New Cairo'".

According to the Financial Times, the project is based on an election pledge by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who last year promised to extend Cairo to the Red Sea port of Suez if voted into power.

The project will involve relocating government buildings and foreign embassies from central Cairo and is intended to relieve congestion in the existing capital, which is home to an estimated 18 million people.

The Egyptian government is also set to formally present plans for a 200-metre-high skyscraper modelled on the Pyramids at the development conference – an event it hopes will boost investment in the country's troubled economy.

If built, the tower would become the country's tallest building, surpassing the 143-metre-high Ministry of Foreign Affairs by over 50 metres.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.