On the north-western coast of Egypt near the Marsa Matrouh governorate, workers are racing against time to complete the first phase of a new multi-million-dollar eco-city under development to become Egypt’s “new Riviera”.

“New Alamein City will change the map of that part of the country and give a major push to the Egyptian economy,” Tarek Shoukri, Chairman and CEO of Arabia Group, says.

Shoukri adds that the New Alamein City would be a comprehensive project that includes touristic, residential, agricultural, and industrial segments. “There will be hotels, residential projects, a zone for agricultural production, and factories where these products will be manufactured for exporting to other countries,” he tells Invest-Gate.

Spanning an area of 48,000 feddans near the Mediterranean town of El-Alamein, the New Alamein City is being built at a total cost of USD 337 mn. The city  is expected to contribute to accommodating a booming population, curbing unemployment, and stimulating economic growth. 

Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly on site

“The city will be a starting point for a new generation of new cities as it will rely on making use of natural resources, including water and energy. We will make use of the city’s proximity to the coast and provide drinking water through desalination using solar energy,” Mona Kamel, spokesperson of the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) says.

In a videotape released by the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA), the New Alamein City features 16 hotels, sports clubs, a cinema complex, theatres, a scientific research center, a yacht harbor, a business center, residential projects, and resorts.

“The New Alamein City will be very attractive to investors and real estate developers as it will encompass hotels operating for at least six or seven months a year, touristic villages, a commercial zone and an entertainment park,” Kamel tells Invest-Gate.

The new city will host a 14-km-long Corniche which will be open to the public, a privilege many summer vacation seekers do not enjoy in that area as the North Coast only consists of closed tourist villages with high rental or purchase rates, Kamel says.

The new city is already turning heads, as many real estate developers and investors are encouraged to start residential and commercial projects in the area after the announcement of the project’s launch.

Shoukri says that the city is designed to be sustainable and will have a targeted total population of one million. “The North Coast will no longer consist of only closed resorts that merely work during the summer season. Facilities and services will keep it alive all year long,” he adds.

Arabia Group, Shoukri adds, was hesitant to establish a hotel in the North Coast before the announcement of the new city project. However, with the announcement of the new project, the company was encouraged to begin working on the idea. “Construction works of the new hotel will start in October after we conclude all necessary agreements with contracting companies,” Shoukri notes.

Chairman and CEO of Sabbour Consulting Hussein Sabbour, meanwhile, says that with the launch of the New Alamein City the government is aiming at reviving the Egyptian coasts after previous governments have failed to capitalize on the potential of the North Coast. “The government today is working on attracting foreign tourism to our Mediterranean shores and stop focusing only on locals,” Sabbour tells Invest-Gate.

Sabbour also says that, according to the government plan, the North Coast is to be divided into clusters starting by its shores, moving backwards till the middle of the desert. “The first cluster will include international hotels open[ing] directly on the coast. The second will include entertainment and retail facilities. The third part will feature permanent housing, followed by acres and acres of agricultural lands,” he notes.

The government first announced the establishment of New Alamein at a press conference in 2014. At an April, 2017 meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouli said that the first phase of the project is progressing according to the set timetable and would be concluded within a year.

The first phase, he added, comprises the establishment of an international tourism center, a museum, galleries, an international park, a university, a service center, and the upgrading of archeological sites. Madbouli stated that the government would also establish 10,000 residential units in the city during this phase, which will encompass 8,000 feddans.

Last year, the government earmarked USD 59.6 bn from the state budget to carry out developmental and infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, electricity, and sanitation networks in the new city.

The contract for the infrastructure work in the first phase of the project has been assigned to the Arab Contractors and the Société Egyptienne D’entreprises (known previously as Mukhtar Ibrahim).The city will include an industrial zone, an agricultural zone, a business zone, an educational zone, an international medical center, and renewable energy stations.

In the first phase, the expected population stands at 400,000 out of the targeted one million residents. A host of projects will also be offered to investors shortly after supplying the city with all basic facilities.

Kamel says that the New Alamein City will also be an eco-friendly urban community that relying on renewable resources. In the city, the government plans to establish a desalinization plant and solar energy stations.

Egypt has ambitious plans to develop clean energy options on the northwestern coast. In late May 2016, the Egyptian government received an EGP 222 bn (USD 25 bn) loan to finance construction of a nuclear power station in Dabaa, located west of Alexandria.

The loan will cover 85% of construction costs, while the Egyptian government will provide the rest of the funding. The government is close to finalizing plans with Russian nuclear firm Rosatom to construct the power plant. Construction works should be completed by 2022.

Experts say that if the New Alamein City project is successfully accomplished, it would heavily alter the North Coast and would have a profoundly positive  impact on Egypt’s future. The new city will be the first of its kind in Egypt in terms of addressing broader global issues of climate change and sustainability, helping create a sustainable future for the country.