Egyptian construction company, Orascom Construction, has teamed up with Canada’s Bombardier and Cairo-headquartered Arab Contractors to build Egypt’s first ever Monorail. The $1.5 billion project will ease the persisting transportation challenge in Africa’s second largest city, Cairo.

Cairo, a city with 20 million residents, is plagued traffic congestion and inadequate transport infrastructure. As seen in most major cities across Africa including Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, a lack of multiple transportation systems often forces most commuters to purchase cars. This ensures most roads are riddled with traffic jams. Cairo, also like Lagos, is keen to diversify its commuting channels, and the monorail is a critical first step.

Egypt’s ministry of housing revealed that the project will commence in January 2016 and be completed by mid-2018. The automated driverless monorail will travel up to 80 kilometers per hour, conveying 48,000 passengers per time. It will also connect the Cairo metro system with neighboring cities in its west including 6th of October City, Sheikh Zayed, and Giza. Egypt’s minister for housing, Mostafa Madbouly, said the project will be carried out with funding from a loan and will be paid over a period of 14 years by the New Urban Communities Authority.

Led by Billionaire entrepreneur Nassef Sawiris, Orascom Construction is one of the leading companies in Egypt and originally a part of the Orascom conglomerate established by business mogul Onsi Sawiris, the father of the former. Nassef is the youngest and wealthiest of Onsi’s three sons; he was valued at $6.9 billion in Ventures Africa’s Richest People in Africa 2014.

Orascom Construction recently announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the Egyptian Government to develop coal-fired plants in Egypt worth approximately $3 billion. They will hold a combined capacity of 3,000MW. It is also renowned for constructing the world longest double swing rail and road bridge over the Suez Cana.

By Tobi Eyinade

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