Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has signed an agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to receive a loan worth €186m to the Fayoum Water and Wastewater Company for the development and expansion of its wastewater services.
According to a press statement issued on Sunday by the EBRD, the loan aims at improving the living conditions of the approximately “three million inhabitants of Egypt’s Fayoum governorate, of whom around one million will have access to sanitation services for the first time.”
“The EBRD financing will be complemented by a loan of €172 million provided by the European Investment Bank, while the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) is extending an investment grant of €30 million and over €7 million for technical assistance,” says the statement.
The bank explained that funding will support the construction of eight new wastewater treatment plants, the expansion of nine units, and the rehabilitation of ten plants, as well as the installation of 3,433 kilometres of pipes and 139 pumping stations. In addition, 350 sewage removal trucks will be procured to serve remote rural communities.
Additionally, the investment will also increase the company’s treatment capacity by almost 300,000 cubic metres per day and provide sanitation services to almost 90% of the rural population in the Fayoum governorate from a current level of slightly more than 30%.
The statement read, “The expansion of the wastewater treatment facilities will also substantially reduce the level of pollution caused by untreated domestic wastewater and the contamination of surface and ground water, which affects many waters including Lake Qarun, the third-largest lake in Egypt.”
Reducing the level of pollution in Lake Qarun will help restore tourism and boost agricultural and fishing activities. This is expected to create over 30,000 permanent jobs in one of the poorest governorates in Egypt, the statement read.
Sahar Nasr said, “We are moving quickly to respond to the urgent priorities of citizens in all governorates. We are confident that the EBRD is a key partner and will provide all the necessary support for the immediate implementation of the project.”
Moreover, Janet Heckman, EBRD managing director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region and head of the EBRD in Egypt, said, “It is a vital investment for the country and will not only develop the wastewater infrastructure, but also improve the environment and contribute to employment in a remote rural area substantially.”
“The European Union has a long and lasting commitment to work with Egypt in supporting this vital sector. Our aim is to improve the quality of life of nearly 10 million inhabitants, which is part of our ongoing support to the water sector. The EU has allocated €425 million in grants, leveraging €2 billion in blended finance through European financial institutions to support the water sector in Egypt,” said ambassador Ivan Surkoš, head of the EU delegation to Egypt.
The EBRD believes that successful economies should be competitive, well-governed, green, inclusive, resilient, and integrated.
It is important to mention that Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD and has been receiving funding since 2012. To date, the bank has invested €2.3bn in 43 projects in the country.