Egypt’s plans to construct a new massive capital city may cost around $300 billion to complete, according to Reuters, citing the head of the UAE group leading the mega-project.
Egypt’s announcement of a plan to create the new mega-city came last week following a major high profile international investment summit, Egypt The Future: Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC), which was aimed at ramping up global investment in the nation.
The initial announcement estimated that the cost of the new mega project would be around $45 billion, according to Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli, however this estimate appears to be far south of what the project will actually cost.
An initial phase that will cover 135 sq km, is estimated to cost some $45 billion, which will only scratch the surface of the total cost of the 700 sq km mega-city.
The project will cost some $300 billion to complete, according to Mohamed Alabbar, the project chief and billionaire UAE real estate tycoon whose company Capital City Partners group has constructed the Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world, located in Dubai — and is constructing megapolis: the King Abdullah Economic City, in Saudi Arabia.
To put that in perspective, the CIA handbook says Egypt’s total gross domestic product in 2013 was $262 billion.
The official website of the city – named simply as ‘The Capital’ – reveals plans for massive projects such as a theme park that will be seven times larger than Disneyland in California, an airport that will be larger than London’s Heathrow Airport, a building taller than Paris’s Eiffel Tower, more than 10,000 km (6,200 miles) of roadways, and an unknown amount of hotels with a total of 40,000 rooms within the 700 square kilometer city that will be around the size of Singapore.
The new capital city, which will be located next to Cairo, will be constructed with funding from Gulf states and will house an estimated total of five million people in over 1.1 million homes and will create around 1.75 million jobs.
Investment Minister Ashraf Salman has estimated that the development of the new city would take about twelve years, however Housing Minister Mustafa Kamel Madbouli said the city would be completed in around five to seven years, which would require a breakneck pace of construction.
The plans for the new city follows a pledge of $12 billion of investment to Egypt from Gulf Arab allies, which was a big boost to President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi as he continues to work on reforming the economy following years of political upheaval and grapples with recent attacks by militant groups opposed to his government.
The new pledge of investment adds to the total of over $20 billion that has already been contributed to the nation since the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi nearly 20 months ago.
“The aim is to put Egypt back on the map of international investment, and send a message to the world that the country is safe and attractive,” said International Cooperation Minister Naglaa al-Ahwani during a press event on the plan to construct the new capital city.
Egypt has suffered a collapse of its tourism industry, which is a major source of hard currency, following the the Arab Spring of 2011.
The pledge of investment will help boost Egypt’s balance sheet as its international reserves fell to around $15 billion in January, down from $17.3 billion a year earlier and $36 billion before the uprising in 2011.