Egypt is struggling to fund its new capital, official says

The man in charge of delivering a vast new capital for Egypt in the desert east of Cairo has said the foreign investment needed for the megaproject is not there yet.

"We need very extensive financing and the state doesn’t have money to give me," said Ahmed Zaki Abdeen, chairman of the army-controlled New Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD).

An estimated $58bn is needed for the scheme, which was launched in 2015 and is intended to house 34 government ministries and be a new business, finance and cultural hub, with a population of 7 million people.

Abdeen told Reuters that only around 20% of the investment so far had come from abroad, including loans from China amounting to around $4.5bn.

At the time of the launch, the Egyptian government believed global capital would pour in to create a clean, futuristic business hub.

But since then, talks with prominent investors, including Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC and China Fortune Land Development, have fallen through.

The Egyptian government has been forced to get a $3bn loan from China to build towers in the new capital’s central business district.

Image: Artist’s render of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, planned for a 725-sq-km site in the desert east of Cairo (Courtesy of the Urban Development Consortium, UDC+5)

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