The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, is providing EUR 50 million in the form of a long-term loan for the extension of the southern end of Line 2 of the Cairo Metro from Giza to El Monib. 

The extension is being implemented by the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), a department of the Ministry of Transport responsible for investment in tunnels and the Cairo Metro. The operator will be the Cairo Metro Organisation (CMO), which operates the whole network. 

The Cairo Metro is supported by the EIB and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, as it assists urban renewal and the protection of the environment in Africa's largest city, where population is forecast to grow from of some 13.5 million at present to about 17 million by 2010. The project will make a further contribution to improvement of the quality of life in Cairo, by alleviating traffic congestion and providing a cleaner and quicker alternative to cars and buses. 

The project includes a 2.6 km long extension to the existing Line 2 of the Cairo Metro, two new stations (Sakiak Mekky and El Monib), as well as an additional 1km of track for shunting and parking trains. It is to serve a densely populated area and will link with the city's ring road and suburban rail system. Upon its completion by end 2004, the extension will serve a resident population of 180 000 inhabitants.

Cairo Metro has currently two lines in operation, of 63 km total length, commissioned in 1987 and 1996 respectively. A third line is expected to be constructed soon. The Metro is currently used by 700 million passengers per year.

Since 1978, the EIB has lent some EUR 2 billion for investment in Egypt, with an emphasis on infrastructures, environmental projects and the support of industrial development through direct loans as well as global loans to the Egyptian banking sector for SME investment.

The EIB established in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, finances capital investment projects, which further European Union policy objectives. It also helps implement the EU's co-operation policies towards third countries. In the Mediterranean region the EIB operates under the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, which complements the EU Member States' own bilateral co-operation policies. Under the second financing mandate of the Euro-Med Partnership covering the period 2000-2006, the EIB is to provide EUR 6 425 million for projects in the 12 Mediterranean countries, which have signed co-operation or association agreements with the EU. The EIB is giving a particular focus to supporting efforts to develop a more open economy and to assist companies in preparing for market liberalisation, with a view to the progressive establishment of a free-trade area with the EU.