Focus on Egypti’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) built by state-owned developer Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD)

Highlighting the why and the what of Egypt’s New Capital built deep eastwards in the of the River Nile in the desert in a break from historical vertical pattern of cities near the Nile

The crowning jewel of a slew of megaprojects in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital where they hope to move all the ministries and build a range of mix-use infrastructure to host events, conferences and sporting events on a regional scale, 35km east of Cairo. The new capital city lies between the regional ring road, the Cairo-Suez road and Cairo-El Ain El Sokhna road. The development will include an international airport, monorail and electric train to link it with the 10th of Ramadan and El-Salam cities. Geography vs. demographics is challenged ambitiously, as the New Cairo capital is thrown way out east deep into the desert compared to most other cities that hug the Nile River all the way up to the fertile Nile Delta.

population density egypt
Population density Egypt. Source: CAPMAS (Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics)

Cairo is already a congested, polluted, and overcrowded city that is predicted to double in size by 2050 to 40 million people. By then, the country’s wider population is expected to jump to 150 million, up from just over 100 million today. “Forget ISIS, Egypt’s population boom is its biggest threat,” Newsweek declared in 2017. Egypt has faced challenges in its sluggish economy since the events of the Arab Spring such as rapid inflation, unemployment, a downturn in tourism, “shoddy infrastructure” and “modest” job creation – that the country has faced in recent years. But there are positive signs in all these areas and President Sisi’s government has brought stability and an IMF restructuring plan that is slowly heading in the right direction despite austerity measures.

Image from Bombardier map of monorail routes and light speed rail train, which will take 60mins from East Cairo to the New Capital.

Political analysts say a strong, stable Sisi regime despite its economic challenges continues to be a regional power described by King Hussein of Jordan as the ‘linchpin’ of the region, exerts massive influence in culture, history, military strength and its role in mediation of conflicts and maintaining stability all while taking in Sudanese refugees, helping to resolve a conflict in Libya and battling an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai, yet maintaining a cold peace with Israel and military and strategic coordination on the borders. The European Union’s most recent further commitment to helping with debt proves Egypt is ‘’too big to fail’ in the wake of multiple refugee crises and risk of a greater regional war escalating next door on its Palestinian border.

Tallest tower in Africa

tallest tower in africa new administrative capital cairo egypt
The tallest tower in Africa – already built

Also aiming to become a financial hub, a miles long central park and a main business district with a Chinese-built tower and a massive defense complex known as the Octagon along with all the ministries it plans to transplant there from the crumbling infrastructure and overcrowding of Greater Cairo.

The minister said that the central business district includes 20 towers with various uses, including the iconic tower, which is the highest tower in Africa, with a height of about 400m. The project investments are estimated at approximately $3bn, and it is being developed in cooperation between the Ministry of Housing, represented by the New Urban Communities Authority, and the Chinese company CSCEC, which is one of the largest contracting companies in the world.

board of sisi in new administrative capital egypt
Welcome to the New Administrative Capital of Egypt

Despite an early partnership with UAE fell through but Egypt’s military stepped in. ACUD owns 51% of the project. Cost of phase 1 is 58 billion. This means you can invest in the surest player in the market, the ACUD itself as a developer as the government privatizes 35 of its nationally owned companies offering up 10percent of its shares for the Egyptian Exchange in the first half of next year 2024.

Apartments start around 80,000 USD which targets a more affluent customer segment than average Egyptian real estate but an intriguing investment compared to the bloated price tags of the affluent neighborhoods in central Cairo that are running into more issues with services and traffic and dominated by legacy contracts and diplomatic and corporate buying power. 

The Capital City project in New Cairo was designed by leading London firms for modern, luxury living with top safety features, and these affluent projects go quickly. Master Group has sold 80% of the residential space, saying that the diverse units meet demand, with sizes ranging from 95 to 396 square meters. Recreational services distributed intelligently include play areas, yoga, pools, green spaces, and The City Mall.

new administrative capital plans
Image: ACUD

Best-In-Class Amenities and Cultural District

Plans for the city include a new parliament and presidential palace, Egypt’s largest airport, Africa’s tallest tower, the Middle East’s largest opera house, a $20bn entertainment district, and a giant urban park bigger than Central Park in New York.

The New Administrative Capital project includes green spaces, lakes, playgrounds, bike lanes, restaurant complexes, recreational areas, and a space designated for establishing future investment projects. Moreover, the project includes the following components; lake for reading and science, educational park for children, ceremonial square, lake of arts, heritage park, country club, sports club, central square, restaurant complex, open cinema, interactive garden, artworks park, lake of boats, oasis of luxury and Islamic garden. The pace of construction has been fast and the dream to create green spaces in the desert in stark contrast with densely populated urban Cairo is evident in the design and strikes quite an image.

This presents a chance to get in fresh on an investment that is almost sure to climb quickly when city gains momentum in operation. Relocating government ministries and institutions to the NAC began in March 2023. More than 50,000 public employees will work from the 1.5 million m2 Government District when the relocation process is complete. Foreign diplomats have promised to move there when the ministries finish relocating to the new capital.

One key driver behind the initiative is the country’s rapid population growth. A new baby is born in Egypt – the most populous country in the Middle East – every 15 seconds, which translates to about two million new people a year.

The Minister of Housing said the New Capital’s R3, Capital Residence, is located on 1,016 feddans, and it comprises eight neighbourhoods, and includes 24,130 housing units, distributed as follows, 697 residential buildings, with 19,944 housing units, and 328 villas, with 328 housing units. In addition to, 157 townhouse buildings, containing 624 housing units, and 64 mixed residential buildings, containing 2,560 housing units, and 151,360 sqm commercial and administrative area, and nine buildings for mixed-use properties, containing 674 housing units, and a number of service projects have been completed in the R3.

El Gazzar elaborated that the R5 area, New Garden City, (quaintly named after its downtown Cairo namesake, an affluent neighborhood historically known for its trees and gardens) is located on 885 feddans, and it encompasses 22,466 housing units

Urban neighbourhoods and fully sufficient city

Education is a part of the project and there is already two internationally accredited branch campuses Coventry University from England and Nova university from Portugal operated by the El Sewedy conglomerate while a host of Canadian universities have also opened with large campuses making it an attractive option offering Egyptians who want a world class education without traveling an option 30mins away from Greater Cairo.

Health us also a big part of the New Capital’s facilities. A medical complex the Allegra Medical Project has been unveiled in the region’s influential Cityscape exhibition showcasing an ambitious design for healthcare facilities that will cater to the urban project.

The first fully Smart city in Africa, it aims to be cashless with digital payments as the government seeks to encourage more than the 20 million people who already use electronic payment services as well as be green and energy-saving, using environmentally-friendly engineering and the Internet of Things to automate reducing consumption. This planned city for the future of Egypt aims to be an international city with an Olympic sports complex, international science hubs, and expo centers. 

A lot of foreign investment in the New Administrative Capital of Egypt

This video gives an overall perspective on the investment opportunities in the New Administrative Capital of Egypt.

And here is a more detailed analysis on the Cairo real estate market.

Investing in real estate in the New Administrative Capital grants foreign investors Egyptian citizenship

$300,000 in any real estate in the new capital entitles you, your children, and up to four wives to Egyptian citizenship. It’s a unique opportunity to make an interesting investment AND get a BRICS passport out of it.

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