Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries have confirmed a $30million loan for Egypt aimed at food security and poverty alleviation.
The international development funding arm of OPEC, the Fund for International Development (OFID), approved 12 loans and grants to 29 developing countries, worth $201 million, for the purpose of improving socio-economic conditions.
OFID’s $30 million loan to Egypt will be used to support ongoing efforts to revive Egypt’s archaic irrigation and drainage systems.
OFID said the loan was intended to help modernise irrigation infrastructure in order to strengthen food security and reduce poverty levels for nearly 215,000 people living near Cairo.
According to the Central Authority for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), up to 25.2 percent of Egyptians were living under the poverty line during the 2010/2011 fiscal year, compared to 21.6 percent the previous year.
Experts note that the inefficiency of the out-dated irrigation system in Egypt represents the main source of water waste here. According to figures from Egypt’s State Information Service (ESIS), water waste in the agricultural sector has gone up to 59.3 cubic kilometres per year out of a total annual quota of 5.5 million cubic kilometres from the Nile.