business

China to Finance Majority of New Egypt Capital's Tower District

  • Chinese banks to finance 85 percent of CSCEC’s project
  • Grace period of up to 3 1/2 years before repayment to begin

A model of a planned new capital for Egypt.

Photographer: Thomas Hartwell/AP

Chinese banks will provide 85 percent of the funding needed for the $3 billion skyscraper-studded portion of Egypt’s new capital which is being developed by the China State Construction Engineering Corp., a senior official with the state-run company said Sunday.

Egypt’s Housing Ministry is responsible for the remaining 15 percent of costs not covered by the Chinese banks, Zhao Qiang, CSCEC Egypt’s deputy general manager, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

He said the company is negotiating with several local contractors, but declined to provide additional details. The business district is slated to include 20 high rises and a 385-meter-tower expected to be the tallest in Africa

Egypt will be given a grace period of 36 months to 42 months -- until construction is completed -- before repayment begins on the 10-year loan, Assistant Housing Minister Khaled Abbas said in an interview. Loan terms are still be negotiated, but the interest rate is expected to be between 2 percent to 3 percent, he said, adding that the Housing Ministry’s portion is also backed by a sovereign repayment guarantee.

The new administrative capital is one of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s flagship mega-projects -- a venture aimed at creating from ground-up a state-of-art city to which government ministries and other services would be relocated.

The project was unveiled as Egypt embarked on a series of sweeping changes aimed at reviving an economy battered after the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Egypt’s military holds a 51 percent stake in the project, with the Housing Ministry carrying the remaining stake.

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