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Thursday, 27 May 2021

More railway funding from IBRD + moving towards modern irrigation

Fresh funding for our railways from IBRD: The Madbouly Cabinet signed off yesterday on a USD 362.9 mn facility from the World Bank’s lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to develop and upgrade the country’s rail network, according to a Cabinet statement. The funding will be earmarked for increasing railway safety and improving the quality of services on the Alexandria-Cairo-Naga Hammadi line by upgrading signaling systems and developing human resources, as part of a USD 640 mn planned upgrade of the line. Egypt had signed the loan agreement with the IBRD last month, according to the statement. The loan will contribute to an EGP 141 bn planned overhaul of the national rail network through 2022.

The package comes after a spate of deadly railway accidents earlier this year: Hundreds were injured and tens killed in a succession of rail accidents in March and April, including a derailment in Qalyubia and a collision in Sohag.

ALSO FROM THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS- Cabinet agreed ot a set of measures as part of the government’s shift towards modern irrigation systems, as well as setting up a specialized committee to oversee the project. The statement did not provide further detail on what these measures entail. The government had announced a USD 50 bn water saving plan in 2019 focusing on promoting modern irrigation methods and the cultivation of non-water intensive crops. In the coming year, the government plans to expand irrigation networks, make better use of rainwater, and install utilities in unserved areas in its bid to reduce water waste, Water Resources Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ghanem told us last year.

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