European Investment Bank set to support Egypt’s agriculture, healthcare sectors

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is set to support Egypt’s agriculture and health sectors amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat declared.

Minister Al-Mashat said that the future cooperation falls under the Ministry’s Global Partnerships Narrative that focuses on three pillars: ‘People at the Core,’ ‘Projects in Action’ and ‘Purpose as the Driver.’

In a meeting held with the EIB’s Director for Neighboring Countries Flavia Palanza, and the head of the EIB’s Representation for the Near East Alfredo Abad, Al-Mashat discussed the future cooperation framework between the bank and the government of Egypt in priority sectors to achieve sustainable development goals, particularly in transport, agriculture and health, according to a statement.

In support of the transport sector, Al-Mashat noted that the meeting outlined the next steps to put into action the funding that has recently been approved worth €1.1 billion, financing three projects for the National Authority for Tunnels, namely the development and expansion of the Raml tram in Alexandria, the Abu Qir railway line in Alexandria, and the second line of the Cairo Metro, according to the statement.

This financing is expected to support the transition from private cars to more efficient means of transportation through improving and upgrading the urban transportation infrastructure, thereby ensuring the achievement of sustainable cities, according to Al-Mashat.

The minister added that the three projects align with several targets of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).

For her part, the EIB’s Palanza stressed that the EIB is ready to continue providing financial and technical support for Egypt’s development plans, with a focus on sustainable infrastructure and social inclusion.

During the first half of 2020, Egypt inked several agreements with the EIB, including an agreement worth €122.7 million for the water and transportation sectors, and €100 million was provided for Banque du Caire to support small and medium enterprises.

Currently, the cooperation portfolio between Egypt and the EIB amounts to around €4.8 billion, with a diversified portfolio that targets several sectors, including transport, water and sanitation, energy and small and medium enterprises.

The EIB’s Board of Directors also recently approved the allocation of €670 million to support countries in the southern Mediterranean region to combat the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strategic relations between Egypt and the EIB date back to 1979, which resulted in the implementation of a great number of developmental projects that serve societal needs, contributing to the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals, according to the statement.

This is in addition to agreements that support the private sector and small and medium enterprises, which amount to €9.7 billion, according to the statement.

Source: Al-Ahram Weekly