Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat with Austrian Ambassador to Egypt Georg Stillfried during their meeting on Monday 9 ,August, 2021. Photo courtesy of Egyptian cabinet Facebook page
Egypt and Austria inked an €8.5 million development financing agreement for the Egyptian National Railways (ENR) to purchase machinery and equipment, including four maintenance machines, to develop Egypt’s vital mode of transport, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said on Monday.
The signing was witnessed by Austrian Ambassador to Egypt Georg Stillfried.
The agreement is meant to improve railways safety, reduce the number of accidents and maintenance cost, and increase operation efficiency and the number of operational trains.
The Ministry of International Cooperation is keen to boost economic relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners and provide the necessary financing and technical support for various sectors, Al-Mashat said.
The ministry wants to support the development agenda of each sector, which aligns with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and is consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, she added.
“Over the years, Austria took part in several joint committees, signing agreements that aim to strengthen economic relations between the two countries," Al-Mashat said, pointing to Egypt’s distinguished joint relations with Austria that go back to the 1970s.
"The latest agreement is an interest-free accord that reflects the national efforts to support the revival of the transportation sector and enhance its sustainability,” she explained.
Al-Mashat further elaborated that the transportation sector accounts for over 20 percent of the ministry’s ongoing development cooperation portfolio at the value of $5.13 billion.
“These funds are used for the implementation of many projects, including the development of metro lines, the construction of national road projects, and the modernisation of the railway network. In 2020, the ministry secured development financing for the transportation sector that amounted to $1.7 billion,” Al-Mashat illustrated.
“We are pleased to enhance cooperation with the government of Egypt by signing a development financing agreement that will develop and modernise the country’s railway infrastructure via the exchange of expertise, technology, and knowledge,” said Ambassador Stillfried.
In 1975, Egypt and Austria signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement leading to seven joint committee sessions that were held to stimulate cooperation across various development fields, such as electricity, agriculture, housing, and transportation.
In 1996, a new agreement was signed after Austria joined the European Union, following which two sessions of the Egyptian-Austrian committee were held.