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A Smart City in the Desert? Egypt Is Building a New Capital

A new administrative building will run the country and house 6.5 million residents.

Egypt has plans to build a new smart capital that will be the country's new administrative hub and house more than 6.5 million residents, according to ZD Net. The city will deal with Egypt's constant population boom.

Egypt adds about two million people a year to its population, according to Reuters. By 2050, the country's population is expected to reach 150 million, up from just over 100 million today.  Cairo is already overcrowded, so a new city will be required to house all these new people.

The new capital is said to cost between $45bn and $58bn and cover or 270 square miles (or 700 square kilometers). It will be located 21 miles (35 kilometers) east of Cairo. The city will include Egypt's largest airport and minaret, Egypt's tallest church steeple, Africa's tallest tower, the Middle East's largest opera house, a $20bn entertainment district, a giant urban park, a new parliament, and a presidential palace.

The government is aiming to move 34 government ministries to the new capital next June.

In an interview with NBC News, former Brig. Gen. Khaled el-Husseiny Soliman, the international coordination manager with the Administrative Capital for Urban Development, said the project would create "the first smart city in Egypt."

As exciting as the project may seem, it also comes with its fair share of critics, especially since the country is dealing with inflation and unemployment.

“For the country to watch the government spend tens of billions on this while also hearing them say we all have to tighten our belts, it sends a contradictory message,” told NBC News Timothy Kaldas, a nonresident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Cairo.

Will the new city succeed in relieving Cairo of some of its overcrowdedness? Or will it be built in vain? Will it create new jobs and foster a better economy? Or will it be money wasted?  One thing is for sure, it will be the most advanced city ever seen in Egypt.

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