PM Qandil looks to World Bank for help overhauling Egypt's rail system

Ahram Online, Sunday 10 Feb 2013

Government of PM Hisham Qandil hopes to tap into World Bank largesse with view to upgrading Egypt's deteriorating railway infrastructure

World Bank
Egypt's PM Qandil in a meeting with World Bank's executive director Mirza Hassan in Cairo Saturday (Photo:Cabinet's media office)

Egypt will ask the World Bank for a series of financial aid packages aimed at improving the national railway system, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced on his official Facebook page on Saturday.

On the same day, Qandil met with World Bank Executive Director Merza Hassan to discuss a proposed development plan aimed at upgrading railway safety, along with possible technical and financial endorsement of the project by the World Bank.

"The World Bank is keen on helping Egypt face current challenges and develop its infrastructure," Hassan said during his meeting with Qandil. "Egypt's security is integral to the region."

Egypt is currently negotiating a $4.8 billion loan deal from the IMF aimed at boosting its ailing economy and taming a widening budget deficit that hit a record high of LE91.5 billion in February.

Egypt's railway system is notorious for its poor safety conditions. Last year alone, Egypt suffered four deadly train crashes, and in January of this year a major rail disaster in Giza left 19 dead and more than 100 injured.

The Giza train crash led the government to announce a series of steps aimed at upgrading Egypt's crumbling railway infrastructure.

Last week, Egypt's minister of planning announced that LE835 million would be allocated for "the urgent maintenance and development" of the national railway system.

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