Seventeen government ministries and 11 government entities were involved in the first phase of relocation to Egypt’s New Administrative Capital in a process which lasted for two months. They included the Ministry of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs, the Ministry of Local Development, and the Central Agency for Organisation and Administration. They are now being joined by a further 19 ministries and entities.
Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli confirmed last week that the cabinet has completely relocated to work from the new capital.
The 1.5 million m2 Government District comprises 10 ministerial complexes that will house 34 ministries, the cabinet headquarters, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. As many as 50,000 public employees will work in the Government District when the relocation process is complete.
By mid-June, all ministry headquarters will have moved, said the chairman of the state-owned Administrative Capital for Urban Development Company Khaled Abbas. So far 13,000 to 14,000 employees have had their workplaces relocated to the new capital.
According to Abbas, the yet to be completed monorail, the already in service light rail transit (LRT), and shuttle buses will transport employees who live outside the New Capital to their new workplace. Already relocated employees rely heavily on shuttle buses, provided by the Administrative Capital for Urban Development Company, to travel to and from work.
Madbouli had previously stated that state employees whose workplaces were relocated could opt for either a transport allowance or apply for a new housing unit closer to the new capital. But given the non-deliverance of housing units, the cabinet directed that all employees involved in the first phase relocation receive a LE2,000 travel allowance.
While Madbouli said last week that housing applicants would receive their units in Badr City “within few days”, details remain scarce.
“I receive the LE2,000 monthly transport allowance though my request for a housing unit in Badr City was accepted and I paid a deposit of LE35,000,” a female state employee, the mother of two children whose workplace was relocated early in April, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
“I have not been informed of the date of delivery, or how the rest of the purchase price is to be paid.”
According to official statements, the average cost of constructing an apartment is LE700,000.
The first phase of a housing development for government workers in neighbouring Badr City, almost 10 km away from the new capital, included 376 residential buildings, comprising nearly 9,000 housing units.
The female employee relies on shuttle buses to transport her from her home in Nasr City to the new capital, paying LE60 for the round trip.
“To be able to reserve a seat daily basis, I need to pay a monthly subscription of LE1,500,” the employee said.
The number of these buses will be increased according to the number of employees, according to Abbas.
Employees who live on the other side of Cairo must use the LRT, followed by a bus to the Government District, to get to work.
“I am among the third phase of relocations scheduled to be in August,” another state employee told the Weekly. Commenting on Abbas’ remarks that all ministry headquarters will have been relocated by mid-June, he commented that it may well be the case but “no one briefed us on a new date for relocation.”
Earlier this week, the cabinet said the new capital’s Central Park, dubbed the Green River, will be ready for inauguration in late June. When complete, the park will be the “largest city park in the Middle East, and the second largest park worldwide,” according to Arab Contractors, the construction company.
The Green River will be a central hub for the new capital, and a gathering place for the city’s neighbourhoods, Madbouli said during an inspection tour early this week. Stretching east to west, the Green River starts in the landmark Central Business District (CBD), which houses 20 skyscrapers, including the 78-floor Iconic Tower, the tallest building in Africa.
When complete, the Green River will include an Islamic-themed garden, a heritage park, an art park, an educational garden for children, as well as several lakes, according to a cabinet statement.
President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has hailed the inauguration of the new capital and relocation of government employees as marking the “birth of a new republic” and “a new era of modern governmental work”. The project is an integral component of Egypt Vision 2030 which aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and expand urban areas to cater for Egypt’s rapidly growing population.
Located between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, 60 km from downtown Cairo, the new capital will house 6.5 million people when complete and cover twice the area of Cairo governorate.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 18 May, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly