EBRD, EU and EIB provide innovative financing to depollute Kitchener drain in Egypt

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • EBRD, EIB and EU present Kitchener Drain Depollution programme at Cairo Water Week
  • Scheme will support the development and sustainability of Egypt’s infrastructure
  • Ministries and donors discuss the progress of the programme that will benefit over 6 million people

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union (EU) took part in Cairo Water Week discuss the progress of their joint support for the development and implementation of the Kitchener Drain Depollution programme in Egypt.

This integrated initiative offers a new approach to depollution in the country by tackling several sources of pollution at once to achieve maximum impact. It is also the first programme of its kind to be implemented in Egypt and could be replicated in other areas and countries.

Depolluting and rehabilitating the drain will not only improve the health and environmental conditions of the 6 million people living in the drain catchment area, but also strengthen agriculture by improving the irrigation water quality in the three governorates of Kafr El Sheikh, Gharbeya and Dakahleya in the Delta region.

The event was attended by Nahed Eskandar, Project Implementation Unit Director, Ministry of Local Development, Walid Hakiki, Project Implementation Unit Director, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mounir Hosny, Head of Holding Company for Water and Wastewater project management unit for Kitchener. Khalid Hamza, EBRD Director, Head of Egypt; David Allan, EBRD Associate Director, Sustainable infrastructure, Walid Salim, EIB Senior Water Sector engineer; and Marco Migliorelli, Head of Green Transition, EU Delegation.

At the event, the EBRD, EIB and EU discussed progress made and the next steps to be taken in managing the project’s three components, which include improving municipal solid waste management, rehabilitating the drain and expanding the wastewater network.

They also discussed the programme’s health and environmental benefits, such as the depollution of the Damietta branch of the Nile through the full diversion of the Omar Bek drain, and improving the quality of irrigation water in the Kitchener drainage system. The project is also expected to prevent solid waste being dumped and polluting the drain.

The EBRD and EIB are providing loans of €148 million and €213.9 million, respectively, to finance the investment programme. In addition, the EU committed €45 million in grants for capital expenditure and technical assistance.

The EBRD’s Head of Egypt, Khalid Hamza, said: “We are very proud of our collaboration with the EU and EIB as well as our local ministries, and to be able to share our experience in managing the depollution of the Kitchener drain during Cairo Water Week. This unique project will help enhance the quality of water and wastewater services of the Kitchener drain and is expected to improve the health and environmental conditions for people living in 182 villages.”

Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, said: “The European Union has been active in the water sector for over a decade, working with Egypt on improving the quality of life through expanding water and wastewater coverage, enhancing quality water resources and promoting cooperation between European and Egyptian institutions. Under the Team Europe Initiative for Water, the Kitchener drain project is a great example of the best use of EU grants in a first-of-its-kind holistic approach to achieve depollution by applying viable solutions to different sources of pollution in an integrated way.”

EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti said, “The European Investment Bank supports high impact water investment across Egypt and around the world to enhance access to safe drinking water, adapt to a changing climate and improve wastewater treatment. We are pleased to join Egyptian and international partners to support this visionary initiative to tackle pollution of the Kitchener Drain that will improve irrigation for 193,000 hectares and benefit communities in the Nile Delta.”

Since 2012 the EBRD has invested €9.8 billion in 152 projects in Egypt, with almost 55 per cent of its portfolio in sustainable infrastructure. 

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