Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Bloomberg’s Ahmed Feteha has a depressing article about the historical failure of planned cities in Egypt. What incentive do Egyptians have to move from the Nile valley that is already the natural centre of their country?
The sun-bleached portrait of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in military regalia that marks the entry to the city he built is testament to its brief flourishing and steady decline.
What began in 1978 as a vision for a new administrative capital today has a population of about 150,000, smaller than many rural towns. The recreation area at its center is unused and it’s not even linked to the national railway.
Four decades on, the latest Egyptian strongman to retire his uniform and rule as a civilian president, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, is taking another stab at building an alternative to congested Cairo. Featuring glass skyscrapers, landscaped neighborhoods and a theme park, his $75 billion project is likely to be financed by funds from Gulf Arab monarchies.
Developers say building the new city will create more than a million jobs. It’s part of El-Sisi’s drive to revive Egypt’s economy through mega-projects, including an $8 billion waterway parallel to the Suez Canal. Much like Sadat’s, critics say, the grandiose ambition is as misplaced as the governing priorities it exposes.
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Trying to shift Egypt’s population from the Nile Delta is especially challenging. Every president since the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy has tried and “they’ve all failed,” said Samey El-Alayly, former president of Cairo University’s urban planning department in an interview.