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The African Development Bank and the Government of Egypt, on Saturday, October 10 in Lima, Peru, signed the loan agreement for USD 50 million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a USD 2 billion Special Fund provided by China and managed by the Bank to co-finance Bank operations. This agreement complements earlier signed agreements of a USD 90-million loan from the Bank’s loan window and USD 1.8-million grant from the Middle Income Countries (MIC) Technical Assistance Fund, all earmarked for the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Development Project.
Signing for the African Development Bank, President Akinwumi Adesina noted that the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport Development Project is the first among the series of projects being financed by the African Development Bank using the AGTF resources. “This loan marks the beginning of new efforts by the Bank to support the development of transport infrastructure in Egypt. The Bank stands ready to continue to support the Government of Egypt in its efforts to reform and significantly increase infrastructure investment,” he said. The President also extended a special welcome to Yi Gang, Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, for his presence at the ceremony and acknowledging the key role he played in helping put together the AGTF.
Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, expressed Egypt’s appreciation for the Bank’s support at this critical time of transition and reaffirmed the Government’s “commitment to ensure effective implementation of this important project, which will boost the country’s tourism sector and enhance its competitiveness.”
In his remarks, Yi Gang also noted that the Sharm El-Sheikh project is the first approved under the AGTF and expressed confidence that “the Fund will continue to invest in excellent projects such as this project. In the end, the bottom line is for African countries growing together.”
The Sharm El-Sheikh Airport expansion project, whose total cost is estimated at USD 671 million, entails the development of a new terminal building, construction of a new runway and new control tower with associated airfield works, installation of electrical and navigational equipment. It also provides support for the establishment of an Airports Centre of Excellence. When completed, the project will increase the passenger-handling capacity from 10 million to 18 million passengers per annum and develop national expertise in airport planning and management.
The project will remove a bottleneck in the movement of travelers, including tourists into and out of Sharm El-Sheikh City. It will support economic growth, generate additional direct and indirect job opportunities and boost Egypt’s competitiveness as a tourism and investment destination.
The African Development Bank currently has ongoing commitments of USD 1.96 billion in Egypt covering 35 operations.