EBRD promotes greener urban transport in Egypt

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • EBRD to extend €250 million loan to finance first high-capacity metro line in Alexandria
  • Upgrade and electrification of an existing rail line between downtown Alexandria and the north-eastern town of Abou Qir
  • Support for greener and sustainable public transport part of EBRD Green Cities

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the development of greener public transport in Egypt by financing the upgrade of an existing rail line between downtown Alexandria and the north-eastern town of Abou Qir.

Alexandria is a fast-growing industrial city, home to 5 million inhabitants and Egypt’s largest seaport, handling 75 per cent of the country’s imports and exports. Consequently, it has significant need for green investment, including energy-efficient modes of transport.

The upgrade will improve the quality of public transport for Alexandria’s burgeoning population and improve the city’s air and noise levels. The electrification of the line will result in a modal shift from more polluting, road-based methods of transport to a sustainable, electric transport network. It will thus contribute to significant reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs) and air pollutants.  

The Alexandria metro project aligns with the Bank’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach and reflects the efforts of the Egyptian government to shift to greener transport and transition to a green economy. It is also consistent with the EBRD’s country strategy for Egypt, which prioritises the acceleration of the country’s green economy transition, in close cooperation with the Egyptian government and in line with its recently launched, ambitious reform programme.

Under the EBRD Green Cities programme, the Bank will extend a €250 million loan to co-finance the upgrade of the infrastructure and electrify an existing rail line, making it the first high-capacity metro line in Alexandria. The improvements will cover the requisite rail systems, including signalling, telecommunications and centralised controls, as well as the rolling stock for the new line.

The investment will support Egypt’s transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy, decrease CO2 emissions and reduce congestion. The upgraded line will also improve public services, significantly increasing capacity and the level of service needed to cater for future demand.

The EBRD’s funds are part of a €1.76 billion package co-financed by the European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), a state-owned executive agency under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation, will implement the renovation work using the corridor of an existing railway line currently operated by Egyptian National Railways (ENR).

The new metro line will be managed by a private operator to ensure a high standard of service.

The funds for Alexandria’s metro line are the first for the city under the EBRD Green Cities framework, which supports the development and financing of green urban infrastructure projects and policy actions, including less polluting, sustainable and electric transport networks, which contribute to a significant reduction in GHG emissions. At the heart of EBRD Green Cities is the Green City Action Plan, to be launched in Alexandria with grant funding from the government of Austria to help identify and prioritise the city’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The Netherlands, through the High Impact Partnership on Climate Action (also supported by Austria, Finland, Switzerland, the TaiwanICDF and the United Kingdom), will fund technical cooperation assignments to ensure efficient project implementation and monitoring. The EBRD SEMED Multi Donor Account (backed by Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Taipei China and the United Kingdom) supported the technical due diligence review.

Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. Since the start of the Bank’s operations there in 2012, the EBRD has invested close to €8.6 billion in 144 projects across the country.

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