Egypt’s Minister of Transportation has announced that the Cairo-Cape Town Highway will commence trial operations at the start of 2015.
Also known as the Trans-African Highway, the road network, being developed with the collaboration of the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank, will be 10,228 kilometers in length, connecting Egypt and South Africa, along with countries in between, such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, Egypt has built new ports and new infrastructure costing nearly $US 11 million to ensure that the country benefits fully from the new African corridor.
In statements to local media, the Minister of Transportation hailed the Highway’s potential for boosting the development of Egypt and other African nations, adding that the Highway will allow African countries easier access to European markets through Egyptian sea ports, which he described as a ‘gate to Europe,’ thus stimulating new trade and economic opportunities.
In addition to this, the Ministry of Transportation stated that Cairo’s connection to Cape Town would allow Egypt to take advantage of South African sea ports, facilitating and increasing trade with Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC countries).
A route between Cairo and Cape Town was first proposed by the British Empire in the 19th Century, when an effort to build the ‘Cape to Cairo Railway’ failed to occur.
The implementation of this transcontinental road network would not be the first time someone has travelled from Cape Town to Cairo by road. In 1924, an expedition led by Major Court Treatt, using two Crossley cars and aimed at mapping a trans-African route, saw the first successful road trip from the South African city to Cairo.