CAIRO: Egypt was granted a $500 million loan from the World Bank to supply 1.5 million homes with natural gas in 11 governorates, the World Bank announced in a Thursday statement.
Among the 11 governorates are Sohag, Qena and Aswan, three Upper Egyptian governorates with a poverty level higher than the national average.
“The project will provide financial support to finance the connection charges in disadvantaged areas so that poor households can also connect to the gas grid,” said project leader Husam Mohamed Beides in the statement.
The project aims to replace liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which Egypt imports and subsidizes, with grid-connected natural gas. Over 75 percent of Egyptian families depend on LPG cylinders for their households.
“Conversion to piped natural gas will help give households access to a safer, more reliable and cheaper supply of gas compared to buying LPG cylinders,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank country director for Egypt, in the statement.
Some 8.2 million households, constituting a 40 percent increase, are expected to have access to natural gas after the conclusion of the project, according to the World Bank statement.
The World Bank has a portfolio of 25 projects in Egypt, with a total commitment of $4.9 billion and 43 trust fund grants for $190.2 million. The World Bank mainly finances projects linked to energy, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture, irrigation, education and health.
At the beginning of June, former President Adly Mansour approved a syndicated loan between Egypt and the World Bank valued at $300 million to finance micro and small enterprises.