Egypt and EU sign Euro 600 mln in deals for social, environmental and infrastructure projects

Ahram Online , Monday 30 Oct 2017

European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (Reuters)
EU commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn and minister Sahar Nasr of Investment and International cooperation after signing the agreement (Photo: courtesy of the ministry of Investment and International Cooperation)

Egypt signed three agreements and a memorandum of understanding with the European Union on Sunday, providing for Euro 600 million in funding for social, environmental and infrastructure projects, the investment ministry said in a statement.

The documents were signed by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and EU commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.

Egypt's Minister of Transportation Hesham Arafat also attended the meeting, along with the governors of Alexandria and Fayoum.

The three agreements involve sanitation projects, support for refugees in Egypt, and developing the Alexandria tram system. The memorandum of understanding concerns the framework for unified support to Egypt, setting out the EU's priorities for bilateral aid to Egypt in the period from 2017 to 2020.

The first agreement concerns a programme to enhance the response to migration challenges in Egypt. Worth Euro 60 million, the programme aims to improve Egypt's migration management, to solve the causes of irregular migration, and to support those communities that host migrants and refugees.

The second agreement includes a Euro 38 million grant to improve sanitation systems, especially in rural areas, while increasing investments in areas that are deprived of proper sanitation systems, such as Fayoum. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide a further Euro 360 million for sanitation projects.

The final agreement aims at upgrading the Alexandria tram system, with an EU grant of Euro 8 million, and around Euro 237 million from the EIB and the French Development Agency (AFD). The aim is to expand the tram system, providing it with a capacity fo 200,000 passengers a day.

The memorandum of understanding concerns projects in renewable energy, environment, social development and social protection, governance reforms, supporting Egypt's economic programme, and helping underprivileged citizens to enter the labour market. The overall value of the projects is between Euro 432 million and Euro 528 million, the ministry statement said.

According to comments from Johannes Hahn published on the European Commission website, the EU is Egypt's main trading partner and provider of investment, with EU member states and European financial institutions engaged in activities worth around Euro 11 billion in the form of grants, loans and debt swaps.

The EU's current projects in Egypt are worth more than Euro 1.3 billion in funding, the ministry said.

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