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WBG Approves $440 Million Loan to Support Sustainable Transportation & Safe Mobility

The Ministry of International Cooperation in collaboration with the World Bank secured a development financing agreement worth $440 million allocated for the Ministry of Transportation to the development

of the Egyptian National Railways (ENR) within the “Railway Improvement and Safety for Egypt” (RISE) project.

The Ministry of International Cooperation looks at transport through a human-centered lens to achieve value-centric results and reduce poverty, inequality and inefficiency. An average of 1.5 million passengers use the Egyptians railways on a daily basis, and enhancing the transportation’s overall state and safety will instantly affect the livelihoods of both the Egyptian riders and workers.

“Today more than ever, there is a great need to develop sustainable infrastructure. Redefining smarter transportation solutions improves safety, enhances mobility, safeguards the environment and strengthens job creation and economic growth,” said Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat. “This project supports the momentum for reform and the demand for urban mobility and reliable public transport, integral to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.” Considered as a continuation of Egypt’s National Railways Restructuring Project (ENRRP), RISE aims to enhance the safety of the ENR’s passengers and workers through introducing an upgraded Safety Management System, which will also improve punctuality to reach about 90% of trains running on time. “Improving the service for millions of passengers per day is a priority, particularly because citizens depend on the ENR to access jobs and other opportunities,” Egypt’s Minister of Transportation, H.E. Lieutenant General Kamel El Wazir said. El-Wazir elaborated that modernizing and reforming the railway system in Egypt is necessary in boosting the economy as increased freight transportation is a much-needed objective that will lead to an increase in the country’s economic competitiveness. Based on ENR’s statistics, the Egyptian railways carry an average of 6 million tons of goods annually, making its development in terms of technological advancement and maintenance an integral pillar for Egypt’s economic growth. Building on the ENRRP framework, the RISE project is expected to add signaling upgrades for the Cairo - Beni Suef segment, which leads to signal upgrading along the Alexandria - Cairo – Nag Hammadi 763 km line. Modernizing the signals for Cairo, Giza and Beni Suef segments of the ENR network is at the core of the RISE project in order to increase the safety measures on the lines. The project is co-financed by the ENR and the World Bank, with a total cost of $681.1 million. The total current cooperation portfolio between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the World Bank amounts to $5.38 billion across several sectors: housing, sanitation, social solidarity, transportation, health, education, local development, petroleum, small enterprises and the environment. “This operation builds on the World Bank’s policy dialogue with Egypt in the transport sector, including institutional and governance arrangements, and safety and regulatory aspects,” said World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, Marina Wes. Wes added that the World Bank is keen on continuing to support the transportation sector, most importantly because it provides low-income citizens with critical services and job opportunities. The diverse and inclusive portfolio of development financing within the transportation sector is the result of multiple working sessions echoing the vision of the Multi-stakeholder platform that was convened in July 2020 under the title “Financing Priorities for a Sustainable Transport Sector”, bringing together the Minister of Transportation, members of the development partners including IFIs, DFIs, and Foreign Courts. The platform outlines that clean and inclusive transportation is a priority in Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable Development Vision, for its direct impact on the community through the inter-connectivity of people and goods. Within the sustainable development framework of the transportation sector, the Ministries of International Cooperation and Transportation witnessed the signing between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and The General Authority for Land and Dry Ports supporting the construction of a new dry port in 10th of Ramadan City, last February. The EBRD is providing €1 million to support the construction of the port and its logistics center which will increase trade competitiveness in Egypt, leading to faster economic growth and the creation of multiple job opportunities. The project is a public-private partnership that aims to improve the overall efficiency of transport infrastructure by decreasing congestion at seaports and systemizing the customs procedures. The transportation sector in Egypt contributes to 4.6% of the GDP and 6.2% of job opportunities. The Ministry of International Cooperation ensures a broader understanding of safe mobility which is necessary as it helps put citizens’ livelihood at the core of all the Ministry's projects. In its 2020 annual report “International Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Writing the Future in a Changing Global Dynamic”, the transportation sector received a total development financing worth $1.8 billion aiming to achieve both the UN SDGs and Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable Development Vision.