Egypt's Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar (standing) witnesses signing of loan deal with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to design and establish a central business zone in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) (Photo: Egyptian Cabinet)
Egypt signed on Sunday a $3 billion loan with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to design and establish a central business zone in the New Administrative Capital (NAC).
Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar, who attended on Sunday the signing ceremony with ICBC representatives in Beijing, said that Egypt would receive $834 million as the first tranche of the loan.
El-Gazzar said the first tranche will cover the expenses of designing and building seven tall towers on a total area of 600,000 square meters.
The central business zone would also see the erection of 20 towers, including a 385-metre-tall tower, which will be the tallest in Africa, the minister said.
The signing of the deal comes as Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi concluded his three-day trip to China to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative forum in Beijing.
China is among a number of countries who are funding projects in the new capital, which has seen its first phase completed.
During his visit to China, President El-Sisi discussed economic and investment opportunties with Chinese officials and regional and international counterparts; with El-Sisi announcing a plan to make Egypt a regional digital centre for the transfer of data between Asia, Africa and Europe.
In January, Egypt secured a $1.2 billion deal with the Export-Import Bank of China (EximBank) to finance an electric train that will run from one of the country’s main industrial zones, 10th of Ramadan City, to NAC.
In 2015, Egypt started construction on the new administrative capital 45km east of Cairo as part of the government's plan to reduce pressure on an overpopulated 20-million strong capital, expand urban areas and develop the infrastructure of the 100-million-strong million nation.
NAC, which is being built over 714 square kilometres by tens of thousands of workers, will be home to a government housing district, 29 ministries and other state institutions – including the cabinet and parliament buildings – and 20 residential neighbourhoods that can accommodate 6.5 million people.