In 2015, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, presented a bold new plan – a brand new capital city, built in the desert 28 miles east of Cairo and up and running by mid-2020. He envisaged a 700-square kilometre, £47 billion home for the government and finance industry, along with 7 million people.
Fast forward to 2019 and The New Administrative Capital, as it is known, is taking shape. The first phase will cover 168 square kilometres and will have ministries, residential neighbourhoods, diplomatic quarters, a financial district, hotels, a conference centre and both a large mosque and cathedral.
Work has now begun on a £2 billion network. Although the equipment suppliers have not yet been named, it is being managed by state-controlled Telecom Egypt. Telecom has been digitally transforming its infrastructure, with deals with companies such as Microsoft and Liquid Telecom. It will also provide both the new capital’s smart services and its security systems, according to an announcement by the Egyptian cabinet.
Microsoft is extending their cloud network into Egypt, with Telecom Egypt providing low-latency connectivity across the country. A new point of presence in Egypt will have a direct connection to Microsoft’s global infrastructure.
Meanwhile Liquid Telecom has already invested £325 million in Egypt over the last three years. Its partnership with Telecom Egypt will provide data centres and enable the incumbent to connect businesses to the rest of Africa.
At Capacity North Africa in April 2019, the CEO of Telecom Egypt – Adel Hamed – said that Egypt is poised to become the gateway to Africa, and a key digital hub on the continent. Speakers pointed out that Egypt now has a surplus of reliable electricity, is an important landing point for international subsea cables, and has the potential to become a key data centre location.
Other purpose-built capitals
- Abuja (Nigeria) – 1991
- Ankara (Turkey) – 1923
- Belmopan (Belize) – 1970
- Brasilia (Brazil) – 1960
- Canberra (Australia) – 1913
- Gaborone (Botswana) – 1964
- Islamabad (Parkistan) – 1960
- New Delhi (India) – 1912
- Ottawa (Canada) – 1857
- Putrajaya (Malaysia) – 2002 (administrative capital)
- Quezon City (Philippines) – 1948
- Washington DC (USA) – 1800
- Unnamed New Administrative Capital, 28km east of Cairo (Egypt).
- Purpose-built capital in eastern Borneo (Indonesia) to replace Jakarta.