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Monday, 5 October 2020

EIB approves EUR 750 mn loan for Egypt’s SMEs, World Bank mulls railway funding

DEBT WATCH- The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a EUR 750 mn facility for Banque Misr to on-lend to SMEs impacted by the covid-19 pandemic to finance working capital, according to the bank’s website. The facility has been in the pipeline since mid-August. The EIB signed off in July on a combined EUR 1.9 bn in financing for Egypt, which included EUR 800 mn for “covid-19 related business investment” and another EUR 1.1 bn for public transport infrastructure. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development similarly also recently extended at least USD 100 mn in credit facilities for SME on-lending to each of Banque Misr, CIB, the National Bank of Egypt, QNB, and the National Bank of Kuwait.

In other funding news, the World Bank could provide as much as USD 250 mn toward a railway upgrade project that would cost upward of USD 680 mn, the bank said in the project’s info document (pdf). The government will cover another USD 240 mn of the project from its own resources, leaving a financing gap of USD 190 mn, according to the bank. We took note of the planned project — which involves new signaling and tracks along the Alexandria-Cairo-Nagaa Hammadi line, other safety and reform measures, and provisions to encourage private sector participation — late last month. Besides physical upgrades, the railway improvement project will involve precautions to make rail travel safer for women, and employ more women in the railway. “The project will [also] bring lessons on Smart Mobility and Big Data and machine learning from smart mobility projects such as the Wuhan Integrated Transport Development Project,” the bank said.

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