MPs approve a raft of new grants

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 24 Jan 2023

The House of Representatives devoted its session on Monday to discussing and approving foreign agreements.

MPs approve a raft of new grants


On Monday, the House of Representatives approved a $271 million loan agreement with the African Development Fund (AFD) to support food security and economic resilience.

“The agreement will support Egypt’s agricultural sector and help it absorb shocks from global economic crises,” said MP Ahmed Al-Banna. He added that Egypt had been badly impacted by the disruption of global food supply chains resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The soft loan will reinforce the country’s resilience by helping double the production of strategic crops like wheat, rice, and corn and by encouraging private investments and will not be a burden on the treasury, said Al-Banna.

Leftist opposition MPs opposed the loan. MP Abdel-Moneim Imam, deputy chairman of the Budget Committee and head of the Justice Party, called on the government to stop borrowing and urged Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli to come to the House to deliver a statement on how the government intends to cut debts and attract investments.

The House also approved a $13 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support family planning, birth control and reproductive health services across the country.

MP Abla Al-Alfi, deputy chairman of the House’s Health Committee, said the USAID grant will support state efforts to control runaway population growth by improving family planning and birth control programmes and publishing up-to-date information and statistics about the population and healthcare in Egypt.

MPs also voted in favour of a USAID grant that aims to improve the reading skills of primary school students and open more technical schools. MP Hossam Al-Husseini, a member of the Education Committee, said the $5.7 million grant will be also used to organise training courses for new teachers to improve their foreign language communication skills and improve maths teaching in primary schools.

A two million-euro grant to support the teaching of French in primary schools was also approved. According to MP Mervat Alexan, it will allow the teaching of French in public schools to expand and help students join French universities and find jobs in French companies.

The House passed a three million-euro French grant to develop and rehabilitate informal communities in four districts in Cairo and Giza. The grant, provided by the French Development Agency, will be used to upgrade wastewater and sanitary drainage systems, pave roads and improve healthcare services.

MPs also voted on Monday in favour of a draft law that allows the petroleum minister to contract the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) to explore for oil offshore in North Sinai.

“The draft law will help the Egyptian state’s goal of doubling the production of oil and natural gas to meet local demand, boost exports and save foreign exchange,” said Energy Committee head Hossam Awadallah.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 January, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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