CSCEC returns to New Cairo scheme

By Thomas Allen17 October 2017

New Cairo project

Model of the New Cairo project, for which CSCEC is set to build the central buisness district

After pulling out of a similar deal earlier in the year, state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has signed a contract worth US$3 billion to build the central business district of a planned new administrative capital east of Cairo, Egypt.

As part of the New Cairo mega-scheme, CSCEC has agreed to build a 345m-high skyscraper, which is set to be Africa’s tallest building. The company will also construct 12 business complexes, five residential buildings and two hotels over half a square kilometre.

In total, the new capital will cover an area of 50km.

At the start of 2017, CSCEC withdrew from a $3 billion contract to build offices in the new capital as a result of disagreements about costs. An agreement between the Egyptian government and the International Monetary Fund to float the Egyptian pound in return for a $12 billion bail-out towards the end of last year caused the currency to depreciate in value dramatically, pushing construction costs up.

However, the fact that CSCEC has re-entered the megaproject signals its diplomatic importance to China.

Song Aiguo, China’s ambassador to Egypt, was present at the signing and said that it was part of the co-operation between the two countries within the framework of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.

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