France to provide €137 million for development in Egypt
The French officials and Ashraf al-Araby during the signature of the agreement - Photo courtesy of

CAIRO: France has signed financing agreements worth 137 million euros with Egypt to develop low-income neighborhoods and small and micro enterprises, the French embassy said in a statement Tuesday.

According to the statement, France will contribute 80 million euros for small and micro enterprises in all governorates, and the European Union will contribute another 15 million euros for the urban regeneration of four informal settlements in Greater Cairo, namely in Ezbet Khairalla, Al-Zawya Al-Hamra, Ard El-Lewa and Meit-Okba, where 1.2 million people live.

The agreement was signed by Jean-Marc Gravellini, director of operations at the French Development Agency (AFD), French ambassador Nicolas Galey, and Minister of International Cooperation and Planning Ashraf al-Araby, according to the statement. The Egyptian Social Fund for Development (SFD) will execute the project.

Gravellini signed another funding agreement with the Egyptian Central Bank and the Ministry of Housing to improve the water system and sanitation services in the Upper Egyptian cities of Qena, Sohag, Asyut and Minya, according to the statement. That project is expected to have 15.3 million beneficiaries.

The statement added that Gravellini discussed the prospects of future cooperation with Minister of Transport Ibrahim el-Demeiry. The AFD already finances transportation projects in Egypt, including the second and third phase of Line 3 of the Cairo metro, which will nearly connect all of Cairo in a comprehensive network of metro lines.

A Tuesday statement by the Egyptian Cabinet said Araby signed another two loan agreements with Abdul Latif Al-Hamad, director of the Arab Fund. A $200 million agreement will fund an electric power grid in Asyut and another $162 million agreement will create an electricity linkage project between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The electricity linkage project is one phase of electrical interconnection between Egypt and Gulf states, which benefits from the time difference between peak periods of electricity consumption in the two countries, according to the Cabinet’s statement.

Also on Tuesday, the general manager of the SFD, Hanaa El Hilaly, signed a $50 million loan agreement with the Arab Fund to provide loans for small and micro enterprises, the statement said.

Egypt’s Cabinet allotted 3 billion EGP for the 2014 budget of the SFD to finance small enterprises and projects with a wide array of job opportunities, according to a Cabinet statement last December.

Egyptian citizens who meet certain criteria may apply for loans from the SFD for their projects, the statement said.

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