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The New Cities in Egypt

Hany Kenawi

Author: Hany Kenawi
Senior Lawyer.

Guiding Principle
From a total area of approximately one million square kilometres, only 7.7% is inhabited in Egypt as per the estimates of the local authorities. Having a population of more than 104 million, the limited inhabited area represents a huge pressure on the lifestyle in Egypt. The lack of sufficient employment opportunities and poor services are some of the inevitable results of the population density, which is concentrated around the Nile Valley. Following 2011 uprising, the decision to start building new cities for absorbing the population growth came as part of the fundamental changes that Egypt witnessed thereafter. A new capital city located 60 kilometers to the east of Cairo and a new touristic city at the Egyptian north-west coast are two examples for the new cities currently under development, in line with the highest international standards as the Egyptian officials have indicated. The officials expect that these new cities will create new horizons for the national economy.

A. Population Density in Egypt
In 2015, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the state statistical agency in Egypt, has issued a statement showing that the inhabited area in Egypt is 7.7% only from the one million square kilometers representing the total area of the country.

This limited inhabited area resulted in high population density concentrated around the Nile valley. CAMPAS has further indicated that Cairo is the largest populated governorate in Egypt with a population of more than 9.5 million, reaching almost to 10% of the 104 million representing the total population of Egypt including Egyptians living abroad. Cairo governorate is part of the Greater Cairo area, which is the metropolitan area consisting of all cities in Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia governorates, with a total population estimated at about 22.5 million with an area of 1,709 km2 and density of 10,400 for each km2.

Giza is the second largest populated governorate as per CAMPAS statistics with approximately 8.5 million and percentage over 8% of the total population. The third largest populated governorate is Sharkia with approximately 7.3 million and percentage reaching 7%;

On the other hand, the governorates that are not located on the banks of the Nile are having a significantly lower density in spite that they are composed of larger areas. For instance, the population in governorate such as South Sinai is about 173 000 only, with a percentage of 0.2% of the population. Same for New Valley governorate having a population of approximately 230 000 while possessing 45% of the total area of Egypt and the Red Sea governorate with approximately 352 000 inhabitants.

B. Egypt after the 2011 Uprising
While the 2011 uprising in Egypt has succeeded in achieving its target by removing the former president Hosni Mubarak from power, it caused a lot of unrest in the country. As the new administration took control, it started a reform that included some fundamental measures including building new cities aiming to extend the limited inhabited area of the country. The plan included a new capital city instead of Cairo.

This is not the first time that Egypt builds new cities. However, cities such as 6 October in Giza, 10th of Ramadan in Sharkia and Burg Al-Arab in Alexandria are mainly industrial cities that included accommodation and recreation facilities for its inhabitants from the workers at the factories representing the base for these cities.

Later on, real estate developers started developing luxuries districts for the investors working in these cities who do not want to spend much time going back and forth to their factories. The new districts attracted other upper-class inhabitants who were looking for accommodations away from the crowded streets of the old cities.

However, the development of these cities did not help in solving the problem of the excessive population density at the Nile valley, as it was not built for that purpose in the first place.

C. New Cities
Unlike the abovementioned cities that were planned mainly as industrial cities only, the new cities are planned to be a comprehensively advanced cities attracting large population and possessing large areas. The new cities will include governmental, administrative, industrial and residential districts as per the highest international standards.

The building of new cities is a part of the new vision for the country “Egypt 2030”. The vision included in the urban development section, the target of increasing the inhabited area of the country to be 12% for accommodating the annual population growth.

Increasing the inhabited area is expected to stimulate accelerated economic growth through establishing major development projects and providing as a matter of urgency a variety of jobs.
Currently, 15 new cities are under development, which are: Administrative Capital, New Alamein, East Port Said, New Mansoura, October Gardens, New October, New Sheikh Zayed, New Ismailia, Galala city, New Obour, New Toushka, Naser, West Qena, New Malawi and New Fashn.

Some of these new cities that are currently under development are:

I. The New Administrative Capital City
In its efforts to develop the historical city of Cairo as a leading center for the MENA region through a thriving economic environment supported by diversified economic activities and sustainable development to ensure that the city historic and natural assets are preserved and facilitated by an efficient infrastructure, the Egyptian government announced its decision to move its administration head offices to a new city.

The Egyptian government intends to move all the governmental and administrative activities to a new city that will absorb a large part of the high density in Cairo.

The new administrative capital is currently under development, 60 kilometers east of Cairo. The location was chosen for its proximity to the Suez Canal area and the regional roads. The target population during the first phase is about 0.5 million people in addition to the number of 40 to 50 000 government employees that will be transferred to the new offices in the new city. It is planned to increase the capacity to 100 000employees after the first three years.

The total area of the city is 170 000acres, the population at the completion of the city’s growth shall be 6.5 million people, about 2 million job opportunities are expected to be generated.

II. The New Al-Alamein City
The Egyptian north-west coast on the Mediterranean sea is a popular tourist destination for Egyptians due to its mild atmosphere and the attractive beaches. For that purpose, a lot of tourist villages were built for Egyptians to use during summer vacation.

Planning to duly benefit from the current capabilities of this coast, the Egyptian government announced the start of the works for developing a new city directly on the shores of the north-west coast.

The new Al-Alamein City is a new model for the Egyptian coastal cities to achieve integrated development, providing a diversified economic base. The new city will be the first of a series of cities in the north-west coast in regions such as Ras Al-Hikma, Burani and others. The new city will be built over 48 000acres.

With a beach façade on the coast of the Mediterranean with a length of 14 km, the city is planned to accommodate 3 million people containing 25 000hotel rooms, 14 residential districts and 8 000 acres of industrial and logistics zones, 5 000 acres of commercial and service zones and 1 000 acres for universities and research centers including the University of Alamein for Science and technology, a branch of the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, and international hotel school, and a city of culture and science.

III. Galala City
Galala city is another new tourist city with an area of 17.5 000 acres that is currently established on the Galala plateau, which is located at Kilo 118 of the Cairo – Ain Sukhna road. About 60% of the city has been completed.

The new resort city features a marina for yachts fully equipped with a depth of 55 meters long. Any tourist may come from abroad as the city contains a border guard headquarters, a customs building, a catering and cafés districts and a tourist walk.

There is also the El Gouna area, a large area in the heart of the resort, with shops, cafés and tourist attractions to meet the requirements of tourists.

In the same place, there is a commercial centre and leisure centre with 8 cinema houses, which are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, an ice-skating hall, a video arcade, a restaurant complex with a meeting and conference hall, a hypermarket and a fountain in the centre.

The project also includes a 297-room beach hotel, 28 hotel villas attached to the hotel, 48 chalets, one attached to the hotel, and 96 chalets with 4 models.

The mountain hotel consists of 309 rooms designed to all overlook the sea, 8 VIP villas and water lakes.
A cable car line for 4.5 km track with 9 cabins at 665 meters height will be established at the city. A mountainous corniche with a track for bicycles.

The project will include the King Abdullah University and the Saudi German Hospital.
This in addition to the city of workers in the resort, especially that the size of the planned employment within the resort will be about 10 000 workers. This city will include schools, hospitals and cafés and all the necessary facilities for the workers of the city.

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