CAIRO — China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) finalized on Wednesday a $3 billion deal to build a massive Central Business District (CBD) in Egypt's new administrative capital, some 50 kilometers east of Cairo.
The deal was signed by CSCEC Vice-President Zheng Xuexuan and Egyptian Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly, in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo.
Under the deal, CSCEC will build the CBD on a total area of about half a square km. The district includes a 345-meter high skyscraper, the would-be highest building in Africa, 12 business complexes, five residential buildings and two hotels.
The whole project is scheduled to be finished within 43 months.
Song told Xinhua during the signing ceremony that the deal is important in three ways.
First, finalizing the deal, whose initial signing was witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Sisi during Xi's first state visit to Egypt in January 2016, manifests the depth of the China-Egypt cooperation.
Second, it is part of the China-Egypt cooperation within the framework of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Third, the project has symbolic significance as it will be a long-lasting sign of the China-Egypt friendship for next generations to come.
Egypt had previously sought to develop the project with a Dubai real estate company before reaching a deal with the Chinese developer after overcoming all points of disagreement.
China and Egypt enjoy strong and growing ties politically, economically and culturally, as they celebrated the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2016, which was marked as the China-Egypt Cultural Year.
The two countries have also raised the level of their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
At Xi's invitation, Sisi visited China in early September to attend the 9th BRICS summit of the economic bloc including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Xi reiterated China's support for Egypt's stability and development, vowing to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership with the Arab country.
Egypt is also a major hub in China's Belt and Road Initiative launched four years ago, which is designed to revive ancient trade routes to link China with a number of countries in Asia, Africa and Europe through trade and infrastructure networks.
The construction of Egypt's new administrative capital is a national mega project that is designed to gradually expand over an area of 700 square km.
With government departments and ministries moving in after its completion, business centers, residential housing, hotels, green spaces and other facilities will also be built, which will provide vast job opportunities.