Egypt aims to build a new capital city

Overpopulation has been a pressing issue in Egypt's capital city Cairo. The city boasts nearly 18 million people within roughly 450 square kilometres, and with the population continuing to grow exponentially, the demand for a solution is rising rapidly. To address the problem, the Egyptian government has come up with an unusual solution: creating a new capital city.

According to CNN, the Egyptian government is making plans to build a new, as yet unnamed, capital city in an undisclosed location. It is believed to be slated for a spot just east of Cairo near the Red Sea, situated between Ain Sukhna and Suez roads, two large thoroughfares.

The new city will span about 390 square kilometres and is expected to be home to some 7 million people eventually. The metropolis will include about 2,000 schools, 18 hospitals and almost 10,000 kilometres of road. It will also have an expansive tourism industry, featuring 40,000 hotel rooms and a massive international airport.

About the project
As Egyptian Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly revealed during an economic development conference, the building of the new city is expected to cost about CAD$57.5 billion in total. While expensive, there is great potential for return on investment thanks to what is hoped to be a thriving tourism industry. Additionally, it is expected to ease congestion in Cairo, where the population is expected to double within the coming decades.

For the development of the new city, the Egyptian government is teaming up with Mohamed Alabbar, a developer in the United Arab Emirates. Alabbar has established a name for himself in the world of architecture largely for his work designing Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on earth.

There are some major concerns about this huge project. As Cairo-based urban planner David Sims told The Guardian, a vast array of potential roadblocks may halt the development altogether.

"The scale is huge, and there are questions like: How are you going to do the infrastructure? How are you going to get the water? How will they move all these ministries?" Sims said. "In other words, I think it's just desperation. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it, but I rather doubt it."

Fortunately, Egypt will have examples to learn from, as the ambitious undertaking isn't the first of its kind. For example, in 1960, Brazil moved its capital city from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia, and Myanmar more recently moved its capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw.

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