CAIRO: Egypt's communications ministry will begin work on a 40 billion Egyptian pound (US$2.44 billion) telecommunications network in the first phase of a new capital city being built east of Cairo, a cabinet statement said on Wednesday.
The communications ministry signed a cooperation agreement with the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD,) the new capital's owner and developer, to begin working on the network over a period of six months.
The new city, known for now as the New Administrative Capital, is eventually expected to cover about 700 square km.
The first phase, covering about 168 square km, will have ministries, residential neighborhoods, a diplomatic quarter and a financial district. A large mosque and cathedral, as well a hotel and conference center, have already been built.
Ahmed Zaki Abdeen, a retired general who heads the company building the new city, said that ACUD would provide the funding for the network.
Egypt's government wants to start running the nation from the new capital in the desert from mid-2020.
(US$1 = 16.3700 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Momen Saeed Atallah; Writing Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Bernadette Baum)