China lends Egypt $1.2bn for railway to new capital

China has signed a deal to lend Egypt $1.2bn for the construction of a 68km electric railway running from the outskirts of Cairo to the planned New Administrative Capital in the desert to the east of the capital.

The new railway will link the 10th of Ramadan City outside Cairo to the new capital, taking in El Salam and other new cities.

The loan from China Exim Bank, signed on 16 January, comprises $739m at an interest rate of 1.8% for infrastructure, and $461m with a 2% interest rate for the trains, reported Daily News Egypt.  

The loan is to be repaid over 15 years, with a five-year grace period. An initial agreement for the loan was signed in September 2018 during the visit of President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi to China.

Officials said there would be 11 stations, and that the speed of the trains would reach 120km/h.

Photograph: Artist’s sketch of the New Administrative Capital planned east of Cairo (Urban Development Consortium)

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