Chinese state-owned construction giant, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), has announced the completion of the first of 20 new skyscrapers that will form part of the skyline of the new administrative capital of Egypt.
The massive operation is part of Egypt’s ‘New Administrative Capital’ project announced in 2015. The project aims to relocate the administrative capital in Cairo nearly 50km east of its current locale.
The new capital will house an $80 billion administrative centre, complete with new parliament buildings, foreign embassies and government ministries.
It is hoped the move will significantly ease congestion in the overcrowded metropole area in Cairo. Similarly, West African compatriot Nigeria moved its capital city from Lagos to Abuja in the 1980s.
Egyptian ground was broken in 2018 and the project is planned to finish in 2022. Tallest of all the large structures being built is the “Iconic Tower”, an 80-floor, 385m skyscraper. Once complete, the tower will be the tallest on the continent.
Construction has been hit by obstacles along the way. The Egyptian Pound crashed in late 2016, threatening the programme’s initial progress. The Pound has since recovered, although it, along with most other emerging currencies has suffered since the beginning of 2020. Access to building materials like steel and other resources materials has been severely stifled owing to the shutdown of major land-based transportation routes in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.
Relief came with the delivery of a four ton shipment of steel crucial to the operation. On 28 February, despite the Covid-19 outbreak, CSCEC announced it had received a sea shipment that landed in the Port of Ain Sokhna, Egypt. According to CSCEC, more than 70% of all materials are sourced locally, with the remainder imported.
General Manager of the Iconic Tower project, Wei Jianxun, said shortly after the delivery that it was an important morale booster for workers on the ground. Jianxun said the new shipment would help the project finish on time.
The project is the result of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the North African nation and CSCEC in 2015. It forms part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Egypt is one of 40 African states to partner with China since the programme started in 2013. Aimed at forming solid trade alliances with developing nations, the initiative is often regarded as the modern Silk Road.
For more on China’s Belt and Road initiative and Africa: https://whychinese.co.za/2019/04/07/chinas-one-belt-one-road-initiative-whats-in-it-for-africa/