The Delegation of the European Union to Egypt and the Ministry of Transportation organised a panel discussion on financing sustainable transportation infrastructure. The discussion took place on the sidelines of TransMEA, a transport and logistics conference and exhibition in Egypt. The European financial institutions working in Egypt, in particular the European Investment Bank (EIB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) participated in the panel, as they have been active in supporting the transport sector in Egypt through concessional loans and in projects funded with grants from the European Union.

Chaired by the Ministry of Transportation, the panellists discussed the best approaches to financing and supporting costly transport infrastructure projects that are needed to drive economic productivity, reduce CO2 emissions and limit social exclusion. The panel explored innovative ways for financing and funding such vital infrastructure globally and in Egypt with the support of the European Union, the EIB, the EBRD and the AFD.

The European Union’s Team Europe initiative was also highlighted by the panel as it represents Europe’s collective efforts to support international partners in different sectors in line with the European Green Deal, which is intended to achieve climate neutrality in the European Union by 2050.

Tobias Krause, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Egypt, said: “There is a new opportunity to reframe the role that transport has with respect to society, the environment and health by focusing on the positive role that green transport can play in achieving better health, a cleaner environment, greater social cohesion, better quality of life and economic growth. This lies at the heart of Europe’s Green Deal which is intended to decarbonise the European Union by 2050. We will accompany partners in their transition towards more sustainable development pathways.”

Lieutenant-General Kamel El Wazir, Egyptian Minister of Transportation, and Mr Krause witnessed the signing ceremony of the rehabilitation of Alexandria’s Raml Tram (Blue Tram), another project funded by the European Union, the AFD and the EIB, setting another milestone for Team Europe’s work in Egypt. The agreement was signed by signed by H.E. Marc Baréty, France’s Ambassador to Egypt, and Dr Fabio Grazi, the Director of the French Development Agency, to which the European Union has delegated the management of its grant. The signing was also witnessed by Alfredo Abad, Head of the EIB’s Regional Representation for the Near East.

Dr Grazi stated that the Alexandria Raml Tram operation is particularly relevant, as it allows the AFD to extend its transport operations to the second largest city in the country. The project is fully consistent with the AFD’s sectoral strategy for an inclusive, green, efficient and safe transport system.

Mr Abad said: “The EIB welcomes the signature of this grant agreement between the Ministry of Transport and our Team Europe partners. It will enhance the financial sustainability of the Alexandria Raml Tram project. By financing this project, the EIB is expanding its strategy to provide clean transport solutions across the main urban areas of Egypt.”

The project aims to extend the route of the 150-year-old tramline and renovate stations and cars. It is also expected to double capacity from 100 000 daily passengers to 230 000.

The corresponding budget amounts to €246 million with €8 million in grants from the European Union, €100 million from the AFD and €138 million from the EIB in concessional loans.