The head of economic cooperation at the Italian Foreign Ministry announced, during his meeting with the Egyptian Ambassador to Italy Amr Helmy, that his country will invest $20m in the development of the Egyptian countryside.
The investment, which passed within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), will be used to develop the Egyptian irrigation system along the Nile Delta area.
The Italian official stated that the cooperation programme with Egypt is one of the biggest and most vital programmes to Italy, referring to the remarkable progress that has been made regarding the “debt swap” agreement.
Earlier in April, Italian Ambassador to Egypt Maurizio Massari stated that the debt swap programme is worth $300m during a meeting with members of the Egyptian-European Council.
The second tranche in the project includes projects to improve Siwa’s environment, support decision-making for water resources on the basis of ecological balance, the Wadi Al-Rayan and Elba Mountain reserves, the integrated management of solid waste in Minya along with several other projects.
The Italian official added that the progress made in the second tranche of the agreement, a $100m investment, paved the road to start the third tranche.
Helmy stated that Egypt is preparing for the Egyptian-Italian Business Council. The council will aim to attract new Italian investments to Egypt and expand the business activities to include food industries, electricity, textiles, banking activities as well as increasing the volume of vegetable and fruit exports to European Union markets.
Italy is Egypt’s first European trade partner. He added that the bilateral trade volume in 2012 stood at $5.2bn, which is equivalent to 6% of Egypt’s trade worldwide.