AfDB board approves €145 million loan for Egypt rail system upgrade scheme

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) board approved on Tuesday a €145 million ($171.7 million) loan to finance reliability and performance upgrades to Egypt rail system.

The funding will be used to enhance operational safety and to increase network capacity on national rail lines under the Egypt National Railways Modernisation Project (ENRMP), the AfDB said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“Safe, accessible, convenient, and green transport systems will be crucial to achieving sustainable development. The improvement and expansion of Egypt’s rail system through the ENRMP allows for active mobility and enables the urban and rural development through an inter-modal linked system.” Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said.

“Technology and innovation, and a robust commitment to public transport will all be vital components of building back better.”

“Rail transport is central to Egypt’s economy and competitiveness. Rail passenger and freight traffic are expected to increase to 15 percent and 10 percent respectively by 2029 as a result of the Bank’s loan and other investments in the project.” AfDB statement read.

The planned upgrades are expected to benefit low-income Egyptians, around 40 percent of the population, who rely on trains as an affordable mode of transport.

Increasing train freight is projected to have a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions, the African bank added.

Egyptian government has committed significant investment to upgrade the country’s railway infrastructure through rail renewals, modernisation of signaling and the purchase of new rolling stock.

Under the ENRMP a state-of-the-art, cost effective train protection system is set to be installed on 950 km of train line along the busy routes connecting Alexandria in the north to Negh Hammadi in the south, and Port Said in the east.

“The newly approved project will enhance the multimodal transportation environment in Egypt, and the efficient movement of people, services and goods,” Malinne Blomberg, AfDB’s deputy director general for the North Africa region.

“This operation is fully aligned with the Bank’s strategy for interventions in Egypt, contributing to sustained and inclusive economic growth, and more specifically, developing infrastructure that supports expansion of the private sector and job creation,” Blomberg added.