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Egypt signs deal with China Construction to build, finance, part of new capital

Reuters , Monday 7 Sep 2015
A model of a planned new capital for Egypt
A model of a planned new capital for Egypt is displayed for investors at the opening of the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, about 550 km (342 miles) south of Cairo, March 13, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt signed an agreement with a Chinese company on building and financing part of a planned new administrative capital east of Cairo, the investment minister told Reuters on Monday.

The memorandum of understanding calls for China State Construction Engineering Corporation, also known as China Construction, to "study building and financing" the administrative part of the new capital, which will include ministries, government agencies and the president's office.

Egypt had so far only highlighted the involvement of the UAE's Capital City Partners (CCP), which signed an initial agreement for the mega-project at a March economic summit.

Egypt's housing minister in June acknowledged "complications" in contract negotiations with UAE businessman Mohamed Alabbar, the founding partner of CCP.

The new capital is one of a series of mega-projects announced by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi designed to attract foreign investment and create jobs in a country with a booming population of 90 million.

The proposed city, which Egypt plans to build within five to seven years at a cost of $45 billion, has been criticised by some Egyptians as unnecessary and ill-conceived.

The project, planned to be the size of Singapore, aims to include an airport larger than London's Heathrow, a building taller than Paris's Eiffel Tower, and more than 10,000 km (6,200 miles) of boulevards, avenues and streets. 

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