Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat- Press photo
The Ministry of International Cooperation announced the details of the development financing agreements signed with France this week inlight of the new financing package between Egypt and France for 2021/2026. The meetings come as part of the visit of France’s Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire; and Rémy Rioux, the Chief Executive Officer of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), alongside their accompanying delegation, to Egypt.
The Ministry elaborated that the new financing package amounts to €1.76 billion encompassing €776 million from the French Treasury and €990 million from the AFD. This falls under the framework of strengthening cooperation and bilateral economic relations between Egypt and France, and is in accordance with the roadmap agreed on during the Egyptian President H.E. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s last visit to France in December to meet the French President Emmanuel Macron.
Following the aforementioned presidential visit, negotiations had begun on the new financing packaging in coordination with the Ministry of International Cooperation and the concerned entities in Egypt to determine financing needs and priority projects. From their side, France had sent two missions in February and in June to complete the discussions regarding the development program before the final signature this week.
Details of the Funded Projects
During the French delegation’s visit, development financing agreements that were signed cover various sectors, particularly transportation which amounts to €1.37 billion.
The Government of Egypt signed a project to supply 55 trains for Cairo Metro Line 1 with a development financing of €776 million that will go to the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) provided by the French Treasury. The agreement is in support of Egypt’s plans to develop the transportation sector, enhance sustainable infrastructure, and improve the services for the people.
With regards to the development financing from the AFD, a number of other projects will receive support, namely: the rehabilitation of the El Mansoura – Damietta railway line with a value of €95 million; the rehabilitation of the Abou Qir metro with a value of €250 million; the Aswan, Toshka, and Wadi Halfa Railway Construction project; and the Al- Rubiky - 10th of Ramadan - Belbeis Railway Line with a value of €250 million.
agreement worth €50 million was as well signed to launch a regional control center in Alexandria for the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy.
Within the framework of the state’s agenda to preserve water resources, enhance sustainability, and develop the infrastructure sector, a development financing agreement worth €52 million to implement a sewage treatment plant in Helwan, €68 million to implement a sewage treatment plant in East Alexandria, €50 million to implement the third phase of the Gabal Al Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant, and €68 million to implement a wholesale market in Alexandria from which the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade will benefit, were signed.
The Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat said that the newly signed agreements reflect the strong relations between Egypt and France in supporting national development plans in many fields, including transportation, as France has contributed to the execution of Cairo Metro Line 1.
Al-Mashat explained that the development financing provided by the aforementioned agreements is considered soft financing, characterized by long grace and reimbursement periods of up to 25 years, providing the state with the necessary time to implement projects that directly benefit the people, and then pay back under easier conditions.
The Minister pointed out that the package signed was worth €1.7 billion. There were two agreements signed; the first to implement the Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS) worth €150 million, and the second to implement a French University project in Egypt worth €12 million.
Al-Mashat shared that the Ministry of International Cooperation seeks to develop and strengthen economic cooperation relations between Egypt and its multilateral and bilateral development partners through the principles of Economic Diplomacy.
Development Cooperation Portfolio Between Egypt and France Amounts to €7.5 billion
The relations between the two countries reflect long standing political and economic cooperation, where France has regularly supported Egypt across several development projects. Ever since 1974, Egypt has secured development funds worth €7.5 billion through 42 protocols that support economic growth in the country.
France has supported the implementation of many crucial projects such as the construction of the three metro lines, the renovations of the Kasr Al Ainy hospital, the establishment of an information system in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the construction of power stations, the expansion and development of telephone stations across governorates, the expansion of drinking water and sewage treatment plants, and the development of an air monitoring system.
The AFD has contributed to the financing of a number of important projects, most notably the Cairo Metro Lines, financing Small and Mediu-sized Enterprises (SMEs) benefiting the Social Fund for Development (SFD), delivering natural gas to homes, supporting small enterprises in the agriculture sector, and improving drinking water and sewage services. The current portfolio between Egypt and the AFD amounts to €1 billion, and manages grants coming in from the European Union amounting to €90 million.