EU provides €3 billion in funds for Egypt’s water resource sector since 2007: Commissioner

Doaa A.Moneim , Sunday 24 Oct 2021

The European Union (EU) has provided Egypt with more than €550 million in grants in response to water challenges, leveraging funds of nearly €3 billion in the water resources sector, said the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Várhelyi.

Oliver V rhelyi
the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver V rhelyi.

Várhelyi made his statements during his speech at the Cairo Water Week event that kicked off on Sunday in Egypt.

He added that the EU’s existing programmes, funded together with European financing institutions, extend to over 16 Egyptian Governorates, provide nearly 20,000 permanent jobs and 600,000 short term job opportunities, mainly in rural areas. 

“They will help to improve the quality of life for nearly 18.5 million people in Egypt by 2024, almost 20 percent of the population of the country,” Várhelyi explained.

Várhelyi said that Cairo Water Week is one of the biggest water-related gatherings not only in Egypt, but in the Mediterranean as well as in Africa.

 “It is my pleasure that from its very conception and now for the fourth year in a row, the European Union is a strategic partner to the Egyptian authorities in organising this prestigious event. Our contribution to the Cairo Water Week stems from our firm commitment to Egypt’s sustainable development and in particular its water sector,” he noted.

He added that water is a sector in which the EU has been active for well over a decade.

“We have provided support to help improve the quality of life for Egyptian people, by expanding water and wastewater coverage and enhancing the quality of water resources. We have been working jointly with the Egyptian institutions throughout the water cycle. Our partnership covers the strategic, practical and financial perspectives,” said Várhelyi

In this regard, Várhelyi  noted that the EU has been assisting with the planning of water management through support to the preparation of the National Water Resources Strategy for Egypt from 2017 through 2050 as well as the National Rural Sanitation Programme. 

In practical terms, the EU has carried out several projects helping the Egyptian population on the ground, including the rehabilitation of the Kitchener Drain in the Delta region, helping to reduce pollution flowing into the Mediterranean. The EU has also helped with multiple phases of the National Drainage Programme and Waste Water Treatment Programmes in Kafr El Sheikh, Alexandria and Lake Qarunm according to Várhelyi.

He also added that the EU has recently proposed a new agenda for the Mediterranean, which is based on transforming challenges into opportunities, in the mutual interest of the EU and its southern neighbours, and in particular of Egypt. 

This agenda includes a dedicated economic and investment plan to stimulate a long-term socio-economic development and recovery in the southern neighbourhood.

 “From the EU budget, we aim to allocate up to €7 billion for the roll-out of this investment plan during the coming seven years. This is expected to mobilise up to €30 billion in private and public investment in the region during the next decade. For Egypt, the EU contribution could represent up to €1 billion between now and 2027, mobilising nearly €9 billion of additional investments in the country,” Várhelyi  illustrated.

He also stressed that water is among the top priorities in this plan.

In this regard, Várhelyi announced that the EU, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are to prepare a large intervention on “Integrated Water and Food Security,” which is an investment that will support Egypt’s efforts to combat climate change, protect the environment and ensure sustainable food systems.

 “Our objective is to develop secure and resilient water management and a sustainable circular society," he noted.

The EU is looking forward to working with Egyptian partners to support this initiative, said Várhelyi said.

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