The EIB organized event which is a part of the Cairo Water Week event on Tuesday 26 October, 2021. Al-Ahram
Abad spoke to Ahram Online on Tuesday on the sidelines of an event organised by the EIB as a part of the Cairo Water Week event, which kicked off on Sunday.
Abad said that Egypt’s government has a clear agenda on the development of projects in the water sector, especially in water management, sanitation and desalination in order to meet the needs of its growing population.
Water resource management is a critical objective of the UN’s global sustainable development goals (SDGs) because it has a direct impact on all human activities, Abad said.
“Clearly, Egypt’s government puts achieving the SDGs as a top priority, and Cairo Water Week is a reflection of that. The event is really an opportunity to raise awareness about the country’s efforts in this sector. The government has ambitious plans to continue its efforts in this regard and we support Egypt in all these efforts,” Abad said.
Under Team Europe activities, Abad said that Egypt will benefit from two initiatives.
“One of the two initiatives concentrates on integrated water resource management, and this is a key sector where we have financed more than 13 projects with funds amounting to 1 billion euros," Abad said, adding that "there are other six projects that are underway, particularly in wastewater management.”
The other initiative touches on digital transformation and connectivity, including supporting clean transportation in Cairo and Alexandria, Abad said.
The EIB’s current total portfolio in Egypt amounts to 7.5 billion euros in various sectors, including energy, transport, water, and the private sector.
During the event, the EU’s Ambassador to Egypt Christian Berger said that Egypt is serious in addressing water challenges and asserted the EU’s support for Egypt’s efforts in this regard.
Berger also referred to a flagship initiative that is currently under discussions with the Egyptian government to support the development process in the country.
Director of Lending Operations in the EU Neighbouring Countries at the EIB Flavia Palanza asserted the EIB’s commitment to supporting strategic investments in Egypt in line with the EU New Agenda for the Mediterranean and the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan, in coordination with national and European Partners.
Palanza also hailed Egypt’s first green bond issuance in 2020 followed by the second issuance in 2021, adding that this is an excellent example of spreading best practices and mobilising private funding, targeting in particular water consumption and coastal protection.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Sayed Ismail highlighted Egypt’s efforts in water resource management.
Ismail noted that Egypt has made significant progress in providing access to both safe drinking water and sanitation services. The current coverage of safely managed drinking water sources in Egypt is about 98.7 percent (100 percent for urban areas and 97.4 percent for rural areas), while the coverage of safely managed sanitation services is at 66.7 percent (96 percent for urban areas, and 40 percent for rural areas).
On desalination, Ismail said that the government is currently implementing the first phase of a desalination plan launched in 2017 with the aim of producing 1.3 million cubic meters of desalinated water per day.
“We have already completed 81 desalination plants with a total capacity of about 914,000 cubic meters per day, and there are 11 desalination plants with a total capacity of 465,000 cubic meters per day that are under construction. This is a total production capacity of 1.38 million cubic meters of desalinated seawater per day,” he explained.