A first tranche of public employees is scheduled to begin work in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital next month. The move has been delayed by almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Late last week, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi directed the cabinet to start “actual relocation” to the Government District in the New Administrative Capital in December, beginning a six-month phase during which government buildings and electronic systems will be tested.
Located between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, the new capital will house 6.5 million people when completed. The new city, which Al-Sisi has said will embody the values of modern Egypt, was due to be inaugurated mid-2020 with the move of more than 50,000 employees.
The New Administrative Capital’s 360 feddan Government District includes 10 complexes that will house 34 ministries, the headquarters of the cabinet, and the House of Representatives.
Khaled Al-Husseini, public relations manager for the New Administrative Capital Urban Development Company, told Al-Ahram Weekly that December’s relocation will involve the opening of government offices but not housing projects for employees which are not yet complete.
The first phase of a housing development in Badr City for government workers moving to the New Administrative Capital includes 376 residential buildings, comprising 9,024 housing units, each between 115 to 120 square metres. The project costs LE3.2 billion.
Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli says state employees who have their workplace relocated to the New Administrative Capital can choose between receiving a transport or a housing allowance.
Employees can secure an apartment in Badr City with a LE110,000 down payment — 25 per cent of the discounted property’s value — with the rest paid in instalments. According to official statements, the average cost of constructing each apartment was LE700,000.
Employees who are unable to move to the Badr housing units will receive a transport allowance, the amount depending on their position, but starting at LE2,000 per month.
The new capital will be connected to Greater Cairo by a transport network that includes Egypt’s first monorail train, scheduled to begin operations in late 2022.
State employees say they have been informed of the available bus routes to their new workplaces, which they will use until the monorail and Light Rail Transit (LRT) networks come online.
The 56.5km and 22 station Nasr City monorail, one of two planned monorails, will start from Nasr City. A second, 42km and 12 stations, monorail is planned to begin from 6 October city. They are being constructed at a cost of 2.695 billion euros, and with maintenance contracts worth 1.567 billion euros covering 30 years. When they are complete, a commuter from 6 October will be able to take the monorail to Mohandessin, a 42km ride, change to the third metro line and travel to Nasr City’s Cairo Stadium, and then take the second monorail east to the New Administrative Capital, a 56km ride.
The first phase of Nasr City monorail is planned to be operational in mid-2022. The LRT’s first phase, due to open this year, will connect with the third line of the Cairo underground network at Adli Mansour metro station, linking Cairo, Obour, Shorouk, Mostaqbal, Badr, and 10 Ramadan with the New Administrative Capital. It will have 16 stations over its 90km length and is estimated to cost LE35 billion.
“We have not yet been told the exact date for moving to our office in the new capital,” a public employee due to be relocated told the Weekly. He added that only 30 per cent of employees who will eventually move to the New Administrative Capital are being included in the six-month pilot phase.
The new capital, which has been under construction since 2015, will eventually cover 170,000 feddans (714 sq km) — nearly two times the area of Cairo.
It is part of Egypt Vision 2030, which aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and expand urban areas to cater for Egypt’s rapid population growth.
The Egyptian Armed Forces’ Engineering Authority, which oversees hundreds of private companies working on the construction of the New Administrative Capital, has announced a public contest “for all Egyptians” to select a name, logo, and slogan for the new capital. Readers can submit their proposals at www.egbranding.eg/ by 18 November.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 11 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly