Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr awaits the World Bank’s ratification for providing Egypt with a loan worth $1bn before the end of the current year.
Earlier this month, the World Bank agreed to raise Egypt’s portfolio from $5.5bn to $6bn, increasing the bank’s commitment to support a number of projects in the country, Nasr told Daily News Egypt.
$3bn out of the $6bn are currently under negotiation for supporting the state budget.
The rest is set to be used as “investment loans based on national projects”. Those include social housing, industrial zones, rural sanitation projects, and the 1.5m acres national project, whereby the latter is considered to be a priority for the Egyptian government at the current time.
In a meeting with World Bank officials Monday evening, Nasr indicated that the ministry aims to fund national projects, with the 1.5m acres project being one of the most important ones the government is keen on implementing as soon as possible.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam Moghazi, Minister of Local Development Ahmed Zaki Badr, as well as the governors of Minya and Qena.
During the meeting, Madbouly said the aim of the project is to create an integrated community that provides service activities and villages to attract residents and alleviate poverty, and not just land reclamation.
Further, Moghazi noted that tests have been made on the land of the project to ensure the availability of ground water, where he said underground tanks were available, some of which reach up to 200 metres per hour.
The project aims to reclaim 1.5m acres in Egypt’s Western Desert, covering land lots in the Minya and Qena governorates. The project will also include agricultural urban communities as well as agricultural industrialisation zones.
The total amount of the $6bn loan is expected to be pumped over a three-year period from 2015 to 2017.
Nasr indicated that the amount is expected to have an interest rate of 1.68%, a five year grace period, and will be paid over 35 years.