Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat, in the presence of the US Ambassador and USAID agency officials, has inaugurated new expansions of the wastewater treatment plant in Al-Hubail region in Luxor, which increases the plant’s capacity by about 36,000 cubic metres per day.
The inauguration was part of a two-day visit by the minister to Luxor to follow up on several development projects in the agricultural sector, which aim to contribute to developing Luxor into an agricultural powerhouse.
The minister said that the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant in Luxor complements the Egyptian Facility Management Agreement signed between the Egyptian government, represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation, and the United States Agency for International Development. The agreement aims to develop the drinking water and sanitation sector with about $450 million.
“This project in particular is going to increase the wastewater services available to people in Luxor to reach over 300,000 people, including 50,000 people in rural areas and villages who never had this service before, so it’s going to materially transform their lives to give them a boost in quality of life through the quality of water they have,” US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen said.
Al-Mashat noted that the projects are part of the ministry’s efforts to apply the principles of economic diplomacy, which include regularly organising multi-stakeholder platforms to ensure that all projects between development partners are streamlined and effectively coordinated to accelerate the pace of development for the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She added that water and sanitation projects are among the most prominent projects that help achieve Egypt’s National Development Strategy 2030, which is consistent with the 17 UN SDGs.
The US has allocated $4.5 billion for developing Upper Egypt, including $3.5 billion to bring drinking water and provide wastewater systems to more than 25 million people, and more than $1 billion to improve the productivity and marketability of agriculture across the country, Cohen revealed.
Accompanied by the governor of Luxor, WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Egypt, as well as a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Minister Al-Mashat followed up on a number of development programmes in partnership with USAID that target farmers, women and youth in Luxor. The projects aim to support them with climate-resilient water and food security and provide job opportunities for the youth.
The visit covered three projects, including the USAID-funded Advanced Marketing and Agribusiness Logistics (AMAL) Horticultural Pack House, which helps triple the incomes and employment opportunities for local farmers and connects them with local and regional markets, as well as increase their productivity by applying smart farming technologies.
The project also targets women and children by helping improve their nutritional by increasing local food production and strengthening agricultural value chains in several governorates, including Beni Sweif, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, and Aswan, as well as Cairo.
The second project was USAID’s ‘Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative,’ which aims to help small-scale Egyptian farmers comply with global agricultural practices and fair-trade standards by improving agriculture facilities, helping farmers become more self-reliant.
The third project is the El-Mahrousa Village Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness (FAS) project, which aims to improve income and food security for at least 14,000 small-scale Upper Egyptian farmers across seven focal governorates: Assiut, Aswan, Beni-Suef, Luxor, Minya, Qena, and Sohag.
More than 8,000 farmers in seven governorates and more than 12,000 women and their families have received technical training and assistance under the project on nutrition and food safety.
It has also been facilitating the negotiations of contracts with more than 1,200 farmers who will achieve approximately $5.1 million from sales proceeds.
For over 40 years, USAID’s program in Egypt has totalled over $30 billion since 1978 to promote the development of Egypt and create a healthy and educated population, with USAID funded-projects worth $814.6 million, while WFP finance projects worth $586 million, according to the USAID.