By Nibal Zgheib
The EBRD is improving the living conditions of approximately three million inhabitants of Egypt’s Fayoum governorate – of whom around one million will have access to sanitation services for the first time – with a loan of up to €186 million to the Fayoum Water and Wastewater Company for the development and expansion of its wastewater services.
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.
The funding will support the construction of 8 new wastewater treatment plants, the expansion of 9 units and the rehabilitation of 10 plants as well as the installation of 3,433 km of pipes and 139 pumping stations. In addition, 350 sewage removal trucks will be procured to serve remote rural communities.
The investment will increase the company’s treatment capacity by almost 300,000 m3 per day and provide sanitation services to almost 90 per cent of the rural population in the Fayoum governorate from a current level of slightly more than 30 per cent.
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 boostagricultural and fishing activities. This is expected to create over 30,000 permanent jobs in one of the poorest governorates in Egypt.
Technical assistance funded by the EU NIF includes support for the project procurement and implementation as well as for corporatisation, financial and operational improvements and stakeholder-engagement activities.
The EBRD will also provide technical assistance to support women’s access to economic opportunities and to assess economic inclusion outcomes.
"We are moving quickly to respond to the urgent priorities of citizens in all governorates. We are confident that EBRD is a key partner and provide all the necessary support for the immediate implementation of the project," said Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation.
Janet Heckman, EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region and Head of the EBRD in Egypt, said: “We are proud to sign a project that combines the strategic priorities of the EBRD with those of Egypt. 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.”
“Water is life. 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.
Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD and has been receiving funding since 2012. To date the Bank has invested €2.3 billion in 43 projects in the country. The EBRD’s areas of investment include the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services, as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater services and support for transport services. The EBRD has also provided technical assistance support to more than 500 small and medium-sized local enterprises.