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EBRD upgrades public transport in Egypt

By Nibal Zgheib

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EBRD upgrades public transport in Egypt

The funds will help to alleviate traffic congestion in Cairo and increase capacity of Metro Line 2.

Millions of commuters in Cairo will benefit from a €100 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) for the procurement of 13 new trains. These will be operated on Line 2 of the Cairo Metro under a supply and maintenance contract and will improve the daily journeys of commuters.

Traffic congestion in Cairo has been increasing at a rapid pace, leaving people immobile, particularly during peak hours. There is a clear and urgent need to increase the number of higher capacity and low-emission public transport vehicles since even a modest shift by commuters to Metro and bus travel will have a significant impact on congestion and pollution levels. Used by over 2.4 million passengers per day, the Metro is one of the key modes of public transport in the city.

The EBRD funds will thus help to alleviate traffic congestion in Cairo, increasing the capacity of Metro Line 2 by approximately 23 per cent. Furthermore, as part of the project, an on-site training programme for unemployed young people will be organised to enhance their skills.

Hildegard Gacek, EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, said: “We are very proud to contribute to the development of a priority sector in Egypt. The development of the Metro network has a large impact on people’s lives and their businesses and consequently on the country’s economy. In addition, the investment will provide much-needed on-the-job training opportunities.”

Funded by the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the SEMED Multi-Donor Account and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, technical cooperation activities will accompany the various phases of the project.

The loan is being provided under the EBRD’s new Integrated Approach for the Cairo Urban Transport Sector. This approach aims to improve public transport services in Cairo and the surrounding areas through investment and reform. The EBRD will promote greater sustainability and efficiency of Metro services while ensuring the procurement of an environmentally friendly fleet. In addition to investments in the Metro, the Bank will also work with the Egyptian authorities to increase private sector participation in urban transport.

To date, the EBRD has invested more than €1.4 billion in Egypt in 30 projects (including regional ones) since it started working in the country at the end of 2012. The Bank’s investments include the natural resources sector, the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater and contributions to the upgrade of transport services.

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