The skyline of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) will be forever changed after the Iconic Tower, Africa’s tallest building was completed, thanks to the latest Sino-African cooperation.
Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, Essam el-Gazzar, said the new 385-metre skyscraper was modern Egypt’s latest architectural achievement. Construction of the mega-project began when the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) broke ground in May 2018.
The composite skyscraper is 78-storeys tall, with an additional two underground levels, and will house offices, a hotel, sightseeing tours and other businesses.
Located around 50 kilometres from Cairo, Egypt’s new CBD – sometimes referred to as Hope City – will ultimately feature at least 20 skyscrapers and cover around half a million square metres.
The new administrative capital was designed to relieve the significant congestion in Cairo, whose 20 million inhabitants endure some of the most cramped living spaces in the Middle East.
Egypt’s government is expected to relocate to the new economic hub at the end of the year and other state institutions are expected to follow, creating around two million jobs, according to Daily News Egypt.
The Iconic Tower was emblematic of China-Egypt relations, said Chang Weicai, general manager of CSCEC’s Egypt operations. He praised the fortitude of the building crews who worked through the Covid-19 pandemic without disruption and said both Chinese and Egyptian engineers benefited greatly from the exchange of expertise and construction methods.
In February 2021, construction of the Tower’s base, which required 18 500 cubic feet of cement and 5 000 tons of iron, was completed in a single 36-hour stretch. The Prime Minister of Egypt, Mostafa Madbouly, called the feat miraculous, comparing the gleaming steel and glass tower to the country’s famous pyramids.
At full manufacturing capacity, the core tube was growing as fast as a storey every four days, according to the Tower’s general manager, Wei Jianxun.
Cooperation between the two nations has not been confined to the engineering industry. On Sunday, a spokesperson for the Egyptian Health Ministry, Khaled Megahed, confirmed that Egypt would begin production of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine.
The VACSERA factory complex would be tasked with the production of nearly 40 million vaccines this year, with the first batch of two million doses expected to be made within a month, said Megahed.