Egypt begins work on ‘tallest building in Africa’

The 390 metre Iconic Tower is under construction in the new administrative city being built outside of Cairo

AGPE90 Johannesburg skyline at dusk Carlton centre in foreground Gauteng South Africa. Alamy
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The foundations for what could become Africa’s tallest building, a 390 metre tall tower in Egypt's new administrative capital, will be poured within days, according to the country's prime minister.

"Iconic Tower" is one of several Dubai-style mega projects being built in Egypt's new administrative capital 45 kilometres east of Cairo. It is hoped that when completed it will stand as the tallest building in Africa, though several other taller buildings have been proposed elsewhere on the continent.

Since 1973, the tallest building in Africa has been Johannesburg's Carlton Centre, at 223 metres in height.

The plan for the new Cairo development – which is being built by a number of Egyptian construction companies in collaboration with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) – shows the site could eventually have 20 skyscrapers.

During a visit to the construction site, Mr Madbouly said the concrete foundations for the tower would be poured continuously over 80 hours. Further building works will begin in March.

Construction of the business district, which began last year, is expected to be completed within three-and-a-half years, CSCEC's chief executive officer told Xinhua News Agency.

The new administrative capital is one of several mega-projects launched by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi since he became president in 2014 in an effort to stimulate the economy of the most-populous Arab nation.

The three-phase project aims to transform a 700 kilometre square area of desert into a modern hub for government buildings, foreign embassies and major companies, easing pressure on traffic-choked Cairo, which is home to 23 million people.

epa07266231 General view of the newly inaugurated Cathedral of Nativity in the New Administrative Capital, Egypt, 06 January 2019. The Middle East's biggest cathedral is inaugurated by Eygpt's President a day after a deadly bomb blast near a church. Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas Day on 07 January, according to the Julian calendar.  EPA/KHALED ELFIQI
The newly inaugurated Cathedral of Nativity in the new administrative capital of Egypt, 6 January 2019. EPA

Earlier this month the Egyptian President opened the Middle East's biggest cathedral and a mega mosque in the new city.

Whether or not the "Iconic Tower" will eventually become the tallest building in Africa is unclear, as the the Zaha Hadid-designed Nile Tower also reportedly in the running, as are megaprojects in Kenya and Morocco.

The 70-storey Nile Tower building was designed in 2007 with a unique design that sees it twist from a triangular base into a rectangular skyscraper.


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