Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashatsigned, on Monday, an €8.5m development financing agreement with Austrian Ambassador to Cairo Georg Stillfried, for the development of the Egyptian National Railways (ENR).
The financing aims to improve the railways safety, increase efficiency of operation, expand the number of trains, decrease annual maintenance costs, and revamp the work environment.
Al-Mashat emphasised her Ministry’s keenness to strengtheneconomic relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners, and provide the necessary development financing alongside technical support across various sectors. The Ministryalso aims to support the development agenda of each sector, which goes hand in hand with fulfilling Egypt’s 2030 Vision; consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Minister also referred to Egypt’s distinguished joint relations with Austria that go back to the 1970s. Over the years, Austria took part in several joint committees and in signing of agreements that aim to strengthen economic relations between the two countries. Al-Mashat elaborated that the agreement is an interest-free development financing that reflects on the national efforts exerted to support flourishing the transportation sector and enhance its sustainability.
Al-Mashat further elaborated that the transportation sector accounts for over 20% of the Ministry’s ongoing development cooperation portfolio at a value of $5.13bn. These funds are utilized for the implementation of many projects, including the development of metro lines, the construction of national road projects, and the modernization of the railway network. In 2020, the Ministry secured development financing for the transportation sector that amounted to $1.7bn.
The Minister pointed out the continuous coordination between the Ministries of International Cooperation and Transportation in strengthening international partnerships with multilateral and bilateral development partners, all with the aim of supporting the transport sector to implement national priority projects, paving the way for a sustainable transportation network.
Austrian Ambassador to Egypt Georg Stillfried said, “We are pleased to enhance cooperation with the Government of Egypt by signing a development financing agreement that will develop and modernize the country’s railway infrastructure via the exchange of expertise, technology and knowledge.”
In 1975, Egypt and Austria signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement leading to seven joint committee sessions that were held to encourage and stimulate cooperation across various development fields such as electricity, agriculture, housing, and transportation. In 1996, a new agreement was also signed after Austria’s entry to the European Union (EU), and in that framework, two sessions of the Egyptian-Austrian joint committee were held.