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Egypt has signed a US$50mn loan agreement with African Development Bank (AfDB) for the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport development project
The money will come from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a US$2bn Special Fund provided by China and managed by AfDB. This agreement complements an earlier loan of US$90mn from AfDB and a US$1.8mn grant from the Middle Income Countries (MIC) Technical Assistance Fund.
AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina, said during the signing ceremony in Lima, Peru that the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport development project is the first among the series of projects being financed by the 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 total cost of the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport expansion project is estimated at US$671mn. It includes the development of a new terminal building, construction of a new runway and new control tower with associated airfield works, and 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 airport’s passenger-handling capacity from the current 10mn to 18mn passengers per year and develop national expertise in airport planning and management.
Egypt’s minister of international cooperation, Sahar Nasr, expressed the country’s appreciation for the bank’s support. He also reaffirmed the Egyptian government’s “commitment to ensure effective implementation of this important project, which will boost the country’s tourism sector and enhance its competitiveness.”
The project will not just help tourists travelling to and from Sharm El-Sheikh, but will also support economic growth, generate additional direct and indirect job opportunities in the region, and boost Egypt’s competitiveness as a tourism and investment destination.