WITH a commanding view of the modern buildings sprouting up in the central business district (CBD) of Egypt’s new administrative capital, guests from China and Egypt on Thursday held a topping-out ceremony for the 385-metre-high Iconic Tower, which will be the tallest building in Africa upon completion.
‘This is the most important building in modern Egypt, which marks the latest achievement of our country,’ Egyptian Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Essam el-Gazzar said at the ceremony.
The Iconic Tower, whose construction started on May 2, 2018, is a composite high-rise building integrating office, hotel, business, sightseeing and other functions. It covers a total area of 65,000 square metres, with two floors underground and 78 floors above ground.
Being built some 50 km east of the Egyptian capital Cairo, the Iconic Tower is the most striking skyscraper of the CBD project being built by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). With a total area of around 505,000 square meters, the CBD project includes 20 new high-rise buildings and some municipal projects.
Egyptian and Chinese guests, including workers, engineers, owners and officials, joyfully took selfies with the landmark building during the ceremony.
‘Since the construction of the tower’s core tube started in April 2019, workers and engineers have been working around the clock to finish the project,’ Hossam Berry, structural manager of the DAR Supervision Company in Egypt, expressed deep gratitude to the CSCEC.
The tower’s core tube ‘has been constructed at the fastest speed of one floor every four days, and finally climbed to the top today,’ Wei Jianxun, general manager of the Iconic Tower project, told Xinhua.
In late February, the Iconic Tower’s base, built with about 18,500 cubic meters of concrete and 5,000 tons of reinforced iron bars, was completed with a 38-hour non-stop operation, which was hailed by Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly as ‘a miracle by all means.’
‘We have joined hands with Egypt to maintain the work momentum amid Covid-19,’ said Chang Weicai, general manager of CSCEC Egypt, explaining that the construction of the project has been continuing without any disruption despite the raging Covid-19 pandemic since early last year.
‘Our employees will take the capping as a new start, and continue to build the most beautiful urban skyline in the Middle East under strict precautionary measures,’ Chang said.
The Iconic Tower is emblematic of the friendship between Egypt and China, as it has provided opportunities to Chinese and Egyptian engineers for exchanging their experiences on modern construction methods, he said.
Egypt’s new administrative capital is designed to relocate major governmental institutions from the increasingly congested and overpopulated capital of Cairo, which is home to about one-fifth of the country’s 100 million population.
The Egyptian government also expects the new capital, whose inauguration is expected to be held at the end of this year, to create around 2 million job opportunities.
In early June, Madbouly paid his second visit to the construction site of the Iconic Tower, which he said would be a new Egyptian landmark on a par with the pyramids in the future.
El-Gazzar said that the construction of Egypt’s new capital ‘has ushered in a new era of Egypt-China cooperation,’ which provides an important reference for our country to stabilize employment, restore the economy, and balance national construction.