As soon as it was announced in March of 2015, Egypt’s plan to relocate its capital from Cairo to a plot of desert 28 miles east received a healthy dose of skepticism from critics at home and abroad.
With political turmoil dominating headlines and no shortage of economic suffering, Egypt’s issues, it seemed, were simply too significant to allow such a move. Last week, however, an unexpected source pushed the project toward completion: China. Reviving the two nations’ shared centuries-old history, dating back to the Silk Road, several Chinese companies have come forward to contribute the billions of dollars needed to fund the development.
The latest commitment comes from the China Fortune Land Development Company (CFLDC), whose $20 billion pledge recently made headlines, joining a previous promise of $15 billion from another state-owned Chinese entity. What’s in it for China? you may wonder. According to the Atlantic, which featured the capital project earlier this month, the Eastern nation is in the process of bolstering its ties to the region in order to encourage Chinese business development abroad.
For some time, relocations like this have been a favorite urbanization tool of the Egyptian government, meant to provide better living conditions to residents without making infrastructure changes in the nation’s existing major cities.