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A shiny new city is to arise from Jordan's desert over the next three decades, potentially rivaling the kingdom's capital of Amman, a rapidly growing and increasingly unwieldy metropolis of 4 million people. Announcing plans for what it portrays as a high-tech utopia, Jordan joined other Middle Eastern countries betting on multimillion-dollar mega projects as an investment magnet and quick economic fix.Some suspect the new city is largely meant to benefit Jordan's powerful and their business cronies.Today, Amman is home to more than 40 percent of Jordan's population of 9.5 million.By 2050, more than two-thirds of the region's anticipated 646 million people will live in cities, compared to 56 percent of 357 million people in 2010, according to U.N. projections.President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is determined to forge ahead. He plans to rule from the new city by 2019, leaving behind unruly Cairo, the Arab world's largest city.Critics also predict it will sap any development in Amman and Jordan's other cities, chaotic and decidedly not high-tech and gleaming.
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