Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Gelsomina Vigliotti visited Cairo from Sunday to Tuesday to discuss with Egyptian officials areas of cooperation, follow up on ongoing projects, and discuss projects in the pipeline.
Vigliotti started her mission by participating in the inauguration of Adly Mansour Central Station on Sunday, the latest part of Line 3 of the Cairo Metro, for which the EIB provided €600m in financing.
Vigliotti told Daily News Egypt that Cairo Metro is a big infrastructure project, which is relevant to economic development as well as for social inclusion; therefore, we are very glad to finance this project as well as many other infrastructure projects in Egypt.”
Vigliotti added: “The EIB is a big financier of water and wastewater management projects in Egypt. We look forward to cooperating with the Egyptian side to continue investing in this sector and considering the support for desalination projects as the bank has a great experience in the water sector, as well as, we are interested in supporting Egypt in the renewable energy sector.”
She further noted that the EIB has invested a lot in the SMEs sector through the support of financial intermediaries working at the local level and the bank has important relationships with Egyptian banks. Since the pandemic, the bank has invested €1.6bn of support to financing SMEs through the Egyptian banks.
The EIB VP met with Egyptian banking leaders and visited SMEs that were funded by the EIB’s finance programme to Banque Misr. The SME was able to develop its business through the provided support. The SME financing programme supports SMEs and promotes the growth of the Egyptian economy. Over and above, the bank has an ambitious plan to expand investing in this sector to strengthen the private sector in the country.
The EIB and Banque Misr formally agreed to strengthen cooperation to further strengthen support for SME lending and increase financing for companies in sectors most impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Two new technical assistance programmes were launched in Cairo. The first technical assistance programme will further strengthen credit risk management and adoption of SME financing best practice to enable Banque Misr to increase financing for smaller companies. The second initiative will enable Banque Misr to better identify bankable sustainable private sector investment projects and develop new financial products targeted for SMEs. This will enhance support for sectors most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and is part of the EU Trade and Competitiveness Programme.
Egypt is the bank’s largest country of operations outside the EU. Accordingly, in 2021 alone, the EIB provided Egypt with more than €1bn for urban transport, expanded Telecom Egypt’s 4G broadband network, and business financing through a new credit line with Banque Misr.
Furthermore, the EIP VP Vigliotti has met with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly who praises the distinguished partnership with the Bank and its commitment to financing priority projects and enhancing cooperation with the private sector.
Madbouly said that the ongoing cooperation portfolio between Egypt and EIB amounts to nearly €3.5bn in sectors of water, sanitation, transportation, civil aviation, SMEs, energy and the environment.
Madbouly highlighted the Egyptian government’s keenness to enhance the participation of the private sector in its development plans, as important measures are being taken to enhance the participation of the private sector in the national economy by increasing its contribution to the economy to 65% over the next three years.
With regard to climate change issues, the Prime Minister affirmed that Egypt will adopt, during its presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference 2022 (UNFCCC COP 27) a comprehensive and neutral approach, in order to ensure that conference yields positive results in favor of supporting international climate action.
“We must move from pledges and promises to actual implementation of commitments, in terms of emissions cuts and financing,” he disclosed.
For her part, Vigliotti stated, “Egypt is the leading country of operation for the European Investment Bank outside Europe and this is my first official visit to the country since being nominated Vice President. Today’s exchange builds upon working meetings with Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Soukry and International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat at the EIB’s Luxembourg headquarters in recent weeks. The EIB has a unique experience supporting climate action here in Egypt and around the world and is working closely with Egyptian partners ahead of COP 27.”
On Tuesday, the EIB VP met Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir to discuss further cooperation in the transport sector, in which the latter confirmed that Egyptian political leadership directed the maximisation of the green, sustainable, environmentally friendly mass transportation system.
Al-Wazir said, “We implement a comprehensive plan for the development and modernization of all suburban lines in conjunction with the development and modernisation of three main lines of the railway network.
Vigliotti elaborated: “During my visit to Egypt, I saw huge projects being implemented in all fields, including transport sector, which embodies great renaissance that Egypt is witnessing during the era of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi”
The two sides discussed the latest developments related to the financing of a number of projects within the framework agreement for infrastructure worth €1,128bn, such as the rehabilitation of Raml tram in Alexandria with a value of €138m, Abu Qir/Alexandria railway electrification project with a value of €750m, besides, the second line rehabilitation project with a value of €240m. In addition to, cooperation in a number of railway projects such as modernising signaling and communication systems for the Tanta / Mansoura / Damietta line, the renewal of railway engineering works from Tanta / Mansoura. Moreover, the bank financed a number of other metro projects, such as contributing to financing of the third phase of Line 3, with a value of €600m, and contributed to financing the development of the Cairo Metro Line 1, with a value of €305m.
Vigliotti also met Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy after her visit to the site of a power transformer station of October 6, with a voltage of 500/220 kV, with a delegation from the European Union. The EIB is the largest financier part of the project, and the European Union, the KfW and the French Development Agency are also co-financing, within the framework of the Egyptian Power Transmission project.
Shaker stated: “Egypt is looking forward to the completion of the green energy corridor project for the benefit of all African countries, and after the completion of these projects, Egypt will be a pivotal center for electrical interconnection between Europe and Arab and African countries.”
Vigliotti praised the great expertise that the Egyptian electricity and renewable energy sector possesses in all fields.