The African Development Bank Extends its Support to the Wastewater Sector in Egypt

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Cairo, 10 November 2009 – The African Development Bank signed today a loan agreement at the Ministry of International Cooperation, with  Minister Fayza Aboul Naga, Minister of International Cooperation. The Regional Director, Mr. Jacob Kolster signed on behalf of the Bank, and the Bank’s Resident Representative in Egypt, Mr K. C. Khushiram, was also present.

This long- term foreign currency loan, of an amount of Euro 53.3 million, approved by the Bank’s Board in Tunis last month, will contribute to the financing of the Gabal El-Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant (GAWWTP) Project in Cairo, Egypt. The Bank’s financing represents 23% of the total cost of the project.

"We take pride in our collaboration with the Government of Egypt on financing this strategic project. The primary objective is to strengthen the efforts made by the Egyptian Government towards wider and improved coverage of sanitation services in the country, thereby contributing to better living and health conditions for the population and ultimately a cleaner environment." stated Mr. Jacob Kolster, Regional Director, African Development Bank.

The project will provide an additional wastewater treatment capacity of at least 500,000 cubic meters per day to the existing capacity of Gabal El-Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant (GAWWTP). The wastewater will undergo full treatment, including preliminary, primary and secondary treatments. Provisions are also made to chlorinate the effluent before final disposal.

The treatment process of the project is highly advanced. It allows the methane gas generated during sludge digestion to be captured and used for electricity generation to meet part of the plant's energy requirements. This will help to reduce operational costs and conserve the environment. The contractor building the new facilities will also be responsible for operation and maintenance for two years and to provide extensive on-the-job training to Government staff during this period.

The catchment area of GAWWTP covers the greater part of the Eastern Nile Bank of Greater Cairo, home to approximately 8 million people. When completed, the additional wastewater treatment capacity will serve an additional 2.5 million people in East Cairo. Other beneficiaries of the project include an estimated 785,800 people living in the towns and villages downstream, and along the drainage system into Lake Manzala, who will also benefit from an improved environment and a reduction of diseases associated with the disposal of untreated wastewater.

"This project is fully aligned with the Government’s strategic investment objectives and also highlights the Bank’s emphasis on infrastructure development, in the priority area of water and sanitation" concluded Mr. K C Khushiram, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank in Egypt.

The Egyptian government has been paying close attention to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially those related to the provision of increased access to water and wastewater services to the population of Egypt. Accordingly, the water and wastewater sector scores high on the priority list of the country's sixth National Development Plan (2007 – 2012). In realisation of these objectives, Government has significantly increased investment in the water and wastewater sector in the past few years. The GAWWTP project is an example of Government intensified efforts towards achieving the MDG goals.