Egypt and Belgium inked on Thursday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to restore the Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis with a total of EGP 16 million as part of the Belgian loan exchange programme.
According to the MoU, the fund will be used to implement a plan to manage, renovate, and maintain the palace.
Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said that Egypt is eager to enhance the strategic, venture, and development ties with Belgium.
“We are currently considering expanding the loan exchange programme with Belgium, Italy, and Germany as this allows for investing the loans in priority venture and development projects in Egypt,” Nasr said.
Nasr also said that the efforts by Édouard Empain – the Belgian engineer who built the palace in the early 20th century – in establishing modern Heliopolis as a new city to absorb Egyptians is similar to the efforts the country is currently undertaking with its New Administrative Capital.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anani said that the ministry has finished more than 80 percent of the restoration work on the palace at a cost of EGP 104 million, and that the palace will be opened before the end of 2019.
“The palace will be used to show the history of Heliopolis and Misr El-Gedida in cooperation with the Belgian embassy in Cairo and civil society in Egypt,” El-Anani said.
Belgian Ambassador in Cairo Sibille de Cartier said that Egypt and Belgium have had strong ties since the inception of modern Heliopolis.