The Egyptian Parliament has approved two international agreements, worth $743.3m, covering housing projects and sanitation, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
The agreements were signed by the ministry in partnership with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD). They will go towards financing housing projects and the establishment of a wastewater system in Egypt’s Bahr Al-Baqar region.
The minister added that the agreements come as part of the Ministry of International Cooperation’s cooperation with international partners in three core areas, namely: People at the Core; Projects in Action; and Purpose as the Driver.
To put ‘people at the core’, the ministry has been implementing projects across multiple sectors by signing the first agreement with the IBRD, a member of the World Bank Group, last July. The agreement was undertaken with $500m in additional financing for the comprehensive programme to finance the housing project.
This aims to primarily improve the lives of low-income Egyptians so they can access their right to adequate housing. This helps achieve the first of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is also related to poverty eradication. The agreement also covers the SDG 11, related to establishing sustainable cities and communities.
Minister Al-Mashat explained that the agreement aims to strengthen the Social Housing Fund’s capacity, and to support real estate financing. This will take place through strengthening coordination between the concerned authorities, establishing an improved information management system, and creating a structure for sound financial management and government. At the same time it is set to enhance evaluation, monitor and credit capacity, as well as provide support to lower-income families.
She praised the existing cooperation with the World Bank Group in various sectors to support the country’s development efforts. The portfolio of ongoing projects with the IBRD includes about 16 projects worth $4.889bn. It covers a range of sectors including social housing, health, education, local development, social protection, sanitation, petroleum, transportation and the environment.
In the same context, Parliament has approved the KD 75m ($243.2m) agreement, signed last June, with the AFESD, which aims to finance the construction of Bahr Al-Baqar drainage water system in the Sinai Peninsula.
The project puts environmental sustainability at the heart of development through providing clean water and ensuring the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems in a sustainable manner against pollution. It also helps build sustainable cities and communities through providing an additional 100,000 job opportunities, to help sustain families and improve the services provided to the population.
The estimated cost of the project to establish the Bahr Al-Baqar Bank system is about $1bn. The Ministry of International Cooperation has signed three previous agreements, one of which was with the AFESD and worth KD70m ($238m), and two agreements worth KD75m ($255m) with the Kuwait Fund for Development.