Egypt plans to spend an initial LE 60 billion ($10.5 billion) to upgrade the country’s irrigation network, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing the agriculture minister.
Countries along the Nile will need more water as their populations grow, a development which could affect Egypt’s share of the river’s flow, Al-Mal quoted the minister, Amin Abaza, as saying.
The plan will take 10 to 15 years and involve 5 million feddans (4.8 million acres) of traditional farming areas, the report said. It will be financed by the government and banks at a reduced interest rate of 6 percent.
The government is also working to reclaim an additional 3 million feddans of desert land by 2017, Abaza added.
Officials at the ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya signed a new agreement in May to alter historic sharing arrangements for the Nile’s waters, a deal Egypt has said it opposes.