Plans for relocating cabinet ministries and state employees to the New Administrative Capital (NAC) have gained momentum in recent days. President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi marked the advent of the holy month of Ramadan on 23 March by inaugurating the Strategic Leadership Centre at the NAC. “The relocation to the New Administrative Capital should usher Egypt into a new era of digital transformation, as part of the modernisation of the Egyptian state as a whole,” Al-Sisi said, adding that “this should be achieved not only through the modernisation of buildings, premises and headquarters, but also through the upgrading of the performance of state employees and allowing them to be able to use state-of-the art scientific techniques and methods of administration”.
“We want to build a new republic and to help achieve this dream we need the efforts, actions and sacrifice of all loyal Egyptians, and that these efforts should contribute to the establishment of an efficient and effective administrative system and lead to a switch towards a smart government as well as the beginning of a new era of outstanding digital services to citizens,” Al-Sisi said.
Al-Sisi held the first meeting of its kind in the NAC with cabinet ministers led by Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli. The meeting discussed the government’s plan to relocate ministries and the state’s various authorities and government offices and quarters to the New Administrative Capital, presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmi said, indicating that during the meeting President Al-Sisi was updated on the efforts being exerted to guarantee a smooth transition to the New Administrative Capital. Al-Sisi also met with workers and engineers implementing the new Administrative Capital’s projects.
Al-Sisi also inaugurated Egypt’s Islamic Cultural Centre at the new capital. He was briefed on the centre built in NAC’s government district and comprising the Egypt Mosque, which is the world’s second largest mosque, covering 19,100 square metres and has three main entrances mounted by Islamic domes, and a fourth service entrance. The mosque can accommodate 107,000 worshippers, including 12,000 in its 9,600-metre main prayer hall, 40,000 in the upper hall and 55,000 in the lower hall.
Managing Director and Board Chairman of the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) Company Khaled Abbas said that around 30,000 government employees had already been relocated to the new capital. The relocation began in January, with the ministries of transport and youth and sports moving to NAC first, while the ministries of planning and social solidarity will follow suit in April, said Abbas, indicating that each week, the employees of two or three ministries will be relocated. They should resume work from the NAC by April.
Abbas also pointed out that 9,000 housing units have been allocated for government employees moving to the NAC, while the Ministry of Housing is constructing another 20,000 units which are expected to be delivered starting this month until the end of the year.
Transportation, including the country’s first monorail, the light rail transit (LRT), and terminals will be available for employees who opted to continue residing outside the NAC, said Abbas, adding that government employees working from NAC have been attending training programmes to carry out work in designated government buildings digitally. NAC’s government district has 10 ministerial complexes that will accommodate 34 ministries, in addition to the headquarters of the cabinet and parliament, Abbas said.
On Monday, President Al-Sisi held a meeting to review the progress in implementing the NAC’s projects. He also reviewed the gradual relocation of cabinet ministries to NAC’s government district to ensure they are connected with Greater Cairo through an integrated network of mass transport systems and routes.
Recently, several cabinet ministries announced that their offices have already been relocated to NAC. Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Said said the ministry started moving to NAC on 14 March. As many as 14 of the ministry’s central units have so far been relocated to NAC and by 1 April the ministry’s headquarters will be located in NAC, Al-Said said.
Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine Al-Qabbaj announced that the ministry’s administrative departments will be completely relocated to NAC by 1 April. “Though the ministry’s downtown headquarters will continue to provide services to citizens, the administrative units have already moved to NAC and began operating in NAC,” Al-Qabbaj said.
Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi also said six of the ministry’s administrative units have relocated to NAC, while others will follow in the next two months.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ahmed Al-Sheikh said the ministry’s headquarters and premises will be completely relocated to NAC by May. Employees in departments offering services to the public will continue to perform from the ministry’s main office in downtown Cairo for some time, Al-Sheikh said.
Located between the Cairo-Suez and Cairo-Ain Sokhna roads, 60 km from downtown Cairo, the new capital will house 6.5 million people when completed and cover twice the area of the current Cairo governorate.
The government district comprises 10 ministerial complexes that will house 34 ministries, the cabinet headquarters, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Built on 1.5 million square metres, it will host nearly 50,000 employees when fully operational.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 30 March, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly