From nothing to over ten thousand people in just four years – what an accomplishment. The Royal President Sidebe Mallam reflected back at the beginnings of Kafra, when ground was broken on the Kafra Powerplant and the Kafra Seaport. It had come a long way since then – granted, most of the growth was unplanned and chaotic, with shanty towns covering all corners of the capital city, but there was also beauty. The Independence Hall, which also served as the seat of the Desera Council and the Royal Residence, was the first permanent building constructed inside of Kafra, surrounded by green grass, a rare sight in the hostile desert. The Bahr Mosque, although small compared to other such buildings around the world, was the heart of the town, along with the Kafra Church of Peace. Around them were the residences of the tribal leaders and the small but growing middle class of Kafra. The streets that their homes sat on were lined with trees, and their gardens lush with greenery.
Few knew, but Royal President Mallam had become obsessed with European architecture after visiting London and Paris the previous year. He wanted Deseran architecture to mimic those 18th and 19th century buildings he saw, and imagined a day that Kafra would be as steeped in history as those two capitals. The Independence Hall itself was designed after a similar building that stood in Philadelphia in the United States, and there were quite a few buildings in Kafra that were being constructed in that American/European 19th century style. Still, most of the town was made of houses one would generally find the poorer areas of a North African/Middle Eastern town, which made sense because of Desera’s large Arabic heritage and influence. The Royal President quite disliked the look of the town, but in order to grow the country, he knew he had to first establish a capital city worth something, and for that he needed population.
In terms of civic infrastructure, the capital city of Kafra had the necessities – the Desera Council had just completed the Kafra Public Hospital and the Kafra Preparatory School, at the cost of E10 million and E5 million, respectively. While the only fee a family had to pay for public education was the E100 enrollment charge per child, healthcare was not free. Instead, the Desera Council devised the National Healthcare Insurance (NHI) company, which was a wholly own government subsidy. Anyone covered with the NHI would receive free healthcare at the Kafra Public Hospital, and the fees were made very affordable on purpose so that the general population could receive the healthcare they needed.
Commercial activity had also become relevant in Kafra, with people from all over the country coming down to central Kafra to do business, both with fellow Deserans and foreigners. A lot of Kafrawis (Kafrawi is the name given to residents of the capital city) where supporting themselves and families through fishing, and the Kafra Fish Market had become an extremely busy place, especially during the morning. Overall, there was no question it was the commercial hub of Desera, and there was even a few companies who had constructed warehousing down the western end of Masjid Street, mostly to store and wholesale food stuff products.
The population of Kafra at the end of Year Four was officially listed at 10,888, again doubling in size in just one year’s time. The Royal President knew steps had to be taken to facilitate planned urban growth, and the road network in Kafra had to be upgraded in order for such growth to happen. The Desera Council had some excess money in the coffers, and it was time to spend them. Almost E30 million were being put into building 22 branches of the Bank of Desera around the country. A further E10 was going to be invested in further developing the road network in and around Kafra. The biggest project to be undertaken in the coming year, however, was the contruction of the Kafra Palace Hotel, a government owned hotel that was going to cost about E80 million upon completion. With Kafra growing so fast, and the oil industry also poised for growth in the next few years, the council expected to see more high-end visitors to Desera, and needed a place to put them. The private sector was still very young and weak, making such developments impossible to fund, so it was up to the council to make it.
The Kafra Palace Hotel project.
A sandstorm encompasses Kafra near as the night starts to fade.