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Egypt to build city on artificial island to protect Alexandria

The plans for the first city on an artificial island in the Mediterranean Sea represent a bid to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change on the Delta.
Artificial island

CAIRO — During a meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Nov. 15, senior Egyptian officials discussed the establishment of the first-of-its-kind city called “New Abu Qir” on an artificial island off the coast of Alexandria in the Mediterranean.

The meeting came on the sidelines of the UN climate summit COP27 that Egypt hosted in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh from Nov. 6 to Nov. 18. 

Preparations on the new city coincide with reports that the Nile Delta region is sinking amid rising sea levels due to climate change. According to the reports, the city of Alexandria is also threatened with disappearance by drowning or erosion.

The New Abu Qir city will be the first Egyptian city entirely built on an artificial island, extending over ​1,400 acres in the sea, and include a series of high-rise towers. Plans also call for the largest commercial port on the Mediterranean.

Experts and observers praised the plans, especially in the wake of the COP27. Amin Abdel Latif, an expert in environmental and climate change affairs at the National Research Center, told Al-Monitor that Egypt’s work on New Abu Qir is part of its efforts to protect Alexandria from drowning, erosion and soil salinity. A UN report, he added, warned of the devastating effects of climate change on coastal cities such as Alexandria. 

Yemen al-Hamaki, a professor of economics and commerce at Ain Shams University, considers New Abu Qir to be an extension of the new administrative capital [east of Cairo], which reflects Egypt’s efforts to create new urban communities, to attract foreign investments and create new job opportunities.

Hamaki told Al-Monitor, “The new city in Alexandria will rely on renewable energies to preserve the environment from harmful emissions, and this goes in line with the outcomes of the COP27.”

He added that the establishment of a new city comes within the framework of the state’s moves to confront population growth through new economic and investment opportunities that improve the standard of living, create job opportunities and attract foreign investments.

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