The debut last weekend of a showcase of Egypt's economic might was dominated with optimistic attempts to fuel private sector investments, but the bravest and most audacious of them was a plan for a new administrative capital to the east of Cairo.
The project hopes to house five million inhabitants in a 700 square kilometer plot of land between the current capital and the Suez Canal. The entire project would be 12 times the area of Manhattan, seven times larger than Paris, and four times that of Washington DC, according to the press releases.
Mostafa Madbouly, Egypt's minister of housing and urban development stayed late into the evening on Friday to detail the plans at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. He was adamant that it must be a model 21st century city for the region.
"It will include neighborhoods for all groups of Egyptian society and be a critical center for new employment. It will be truly diverse, catering to all groups of Egyptian society, allowing Egypt to enter new era," he said.
The first phase of construction would cost $45 billion and would take 7 years. Reports from Reuters, who quoted Mohamed Alabbar, the United Arab Emirates real estate tycoon, said it could total $300 billion for completion.