Egypt and the World Bank launched on Sunday the $500 million Upper Egypt Local Development Programme, the bank announced.
In an e-mailed statement, the World Bank said that “the $500 million World Bank loan will help create jobs in Upper Egypt by enhancing the business climate and improving infrastructure and the delivery of services.”
“We are pleased to witness the launch of the new programme and support the government’s broader efforts in developing the lagging regions of Egypt. This programme will help create jobs, improve service delivery and realise the potential of economic sectors in both Sohag and Qena,” Asad Alam, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti said in the statement.
The programme will focus on the governorates of Qena and Sohag, which are among the poorest in the country.
The goal of the programme is to empower sub-national governments in these areas to deliver better infrastructure and services for economic development, job creation and social wellbeing.
Private sector coordination and investment, as well as local governance, will be improved, and a participatory approach that engages citizens at all levels will be followed, according to the statement.
The programme aims to "enhance the competitiveness of economic sectors with unrealised potentials, support industrial zone management, apply a performance-based grant system and increase the budget of both governorates," Egypts international cooperation ministry said.
Upper Egypt, which includes ten governorates, is home to about 38 percent of Egypt’s population and 67 percent of its poor, the bank said.
This programme comes within the framework of the World Bank's Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for 2015–19, which provides about $8 billion to support vital sectors of Egypt's economy, the statement read.
A high-level mission from the World Bank Group met on Sunday with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to discuss improving the business environment in the country.
The World Bank finances several projects in Egypt, including projects related to energy, transport, water and wastewater, agriculture and irrigation, population and health, and social safety nets; as well as supporting employment-intensive projects and financing small- and medium-sized enterprises.
In late December, Egypt signed with the director of the World Bank in Cairo the second $1 billion tranche of a $3 billion loan package to support Egypt’s economic reform programme.
Egypt received the first tranche of the loan in September.
The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes 26 projects for a total commitment of $5.92 billion, according to its data.