By: Hend El-Behary
The French Development Agency (FDA) along with the European Investment Bank have granted Egypt a soft loan of €940 million for the construction and development of phase three of the third Cairo underground line, stated the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MPIC).
Minister Ashraf Al-Araby of the MPIC, in the presence of the executive manager of the FDA, Dov Zerah, and the acting head of the Cooperation Section of the European Commission in Cairo, Armelle Lidou, signed the contract for the loan.
Yesterday’s meetings was attended by key figures such as Minister of Transportation Mohamed Rashad, Head of the National Authority Tunnels Atta Al-Sherbiny, and the Middle East regional head for the European Investments Bank(EIB), Tom Andersen.
The FDA is financing the underground line with €300 million to be settled over 20 years. The loan carries a grace period of seven years, with 0.8 per cent interest in addition to the euribor rate. Meanwhile, the EIB provided the project with €600 million to be settled over 25 years.
“Additionally, there is a non-refundable grant directed to the construction of phase four of the third line,” added Al-Sherbiny.
The EIB has been providing Egypt with significant financial support since 1977 in various projects that include infrastructure, energy, and irrigation.
The third line of the Metro presently operates from Ataba to Abbassya, with construction underway for the remaining phase of the line, extending to the northeast to Heliopolis and eventually Cairo International Airport. The third phase will cover 18 kilometres from Attaba to Kitkat. It will include four underground stations, Nasser, Masprio, Zamalek and, Kitkat.
The project aims to meet the heavy demand on the third line as well as to lighten the load on other means of transportation.
Al-Araby and Zerah also discussed future mutual cooperation and prospective projects that could be included in the work plan of the FDA from 2012 to 2014.
“The FDA is exerting a significant role for development, as it is considered the financial arm of French government” said Al-Araby.