Urban Expansion and Green Technology: Egypt and South Africa's Latest Projects

Egypt is building a whole new city, aiming to change the game for how cities are made in Africa.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Urban Expansion and Green Technology: Egypt and South Africa's Latest Projects
© X/Mynameisbakir

Egypt is building a whole new city, aiming to change the game for how cities are made in Africa. They're calling it the "New Administrative Capital," and it's not just about moving government offices and businesses out of crowded Cairo.

It's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's big push to modernize the country and boost the economy. And with Africa's tallest building and the biggest cathedral in the Middle East already going up, it's clear Egypt has some big dreams for this place.

The Journey Begins

Back in 2016, Egypt started an exciting project: building a brand new city called the New Administrative Capital. This huge task is being looked after by a group called the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD), and they're tackling the work bit by bit.

The first part is almost done, and they're getting ready to start on the next. Khaled Abbas, the boss of ACUD, is thrilled to see the city coming to life. Already, more than 1,500 families have moved in, and they're hoping to welcome 10,000 by the end of 2024.

But this new city isn't just about giving government workers a new place to punch in. It's becoming a buzzing center where 48,000 government employees are heading to work, thanks to a new electric train from eastern Cairo.

It's all part of a bigger plan to make this place the heart of Egypt's government and business world, bringing in parliament meetings and big company headquarters. It's a fresh start for how Egypt handles its business and governance.

The New administrative capital of Egypt has the tallest tower in Africa© X/manga_172

Financing and Challenges

This huge project of building the New Administrative Capital isn't cheap – the first part alone is set to cost around 500 billion Egyptian pounds (that's about $10.6 billion).

And the whole thing might end up costing around $58 billion when it's all said and done. The plan is to cover these costs with money from the group overseeing the project, ACUD, and by selling some of the land. But with the economy facing tough times and problems in the region, there's a bit of worry about spending so much.

This has led to some help from other countries and talks about needing to manage money better.

Urban Planning and Sustainability

Egypt's New Administrative Capital isn't just about building impressive buildings; it's about smartly growing a city while being careful not to make the mistakes that can happen when a place grows too fast.

This big project is trying to deal with a lot, like the country's money problems and the extra challenges from outside pressures. Some people are worried about how much it's all going to cost, especially with the economy going up and down, and they're also concerned it might make the gap between rich and poor even wider.

But the government is trying to balance things out by adding features like smart technology and lots of green spaces to make the city a better place to live. One of the big ideas is the "Green River" project, which aims to bring a lot of greenery into the desert setting.

But in a place that doesn't have much water, some folks are wondering if this is the best idea. The goal is to turn the New Administrative Capital into a shining example for how to build cities in Africa, focusing on being good for the economy, society, and the environment all at once.

The World's Largest Green Ammonia Plant

Now, let's head over from Egypt's sandy landscapes to the coastlines of Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa, where something equally exciting is happening. They're building what's set to be the biggest green ammonia plant in the world.

This project is all about using science for good – turning green chemistry into a powerhouse for cleaner energy and farming. It's a big move in the fight against climate change, aiming to cut down pollution from industries and grow in a way that's good for our planet.

South Africas Latest Project© X/inv_media

A Leap into Green Chemistry

The synthesis of ammonia, a compound vital for global food production and various industrial applications, has historically relied on processes fraught with environmental costs.

The new plant in South Africa seeks to alter this landscape by harnessing renewable energy sources to produce green ammonia, thereby significantly reducing the carbon footprint associated with its production. This venture is not just an industrial milestone; it's a beacon for environmental sustainability, promising to decarbonize sectors like shipping and potentially transform power generation.

Economic and Environmental Implications

The $4.6 billion investment into the green ammonia plant is not just a testament to environmental commitment but also a catalyst for economic revitalization, especially in a region grappling with high unemployment rates.

By creating at least 20,000 jobs, the project stands as a bulwark against economic stagnation, offering a glimpse of a greener, more prosperous future. Moreover, the plant's focus on utilizing renewable energy and desalinated water aligns with global efforts to mitigate climate change impacts, highlighting the pivotal role of innovation in achieving environmental sustainability.

As the global community faces the dual challenges of economic recovery and environmental preservation, projects like the New Administrative Capital and the green ammonia plant in South Africa offer valuable lessons in balancing development with sustainability.

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