World Bank Opens Door to $1.5b in Loans to Egypt
The World Bank has approved a three-year program for Egypt, potentially providing the Arab African country with up to $1.5 billion in loans.
"The board approved a country assistance strategy for Egypt on Tuesday that could be backed by up to $1.5 billion if the authorities want," Mohammed Kamel Amr, the alternative executive director for Egypt and the Middle East at the World Bank, told Reuters.
He said the program, which would cover 2002-2004, contains a basic lending scenario of $500 million, adding that the maximum lending available to Egypt could be as high as $1.5 billion.
Amr said that even though the project was not scheduled to begin until next year, lending could begin sooner. He said that was so because it was a loosely defined program and some of the projects would take a while to put together.
Amr also said the specific projects within the program had not yet been defined.
"The Egyptian authorities are interested mainly when dealing with the bank in areas of social dimension like education and health," he said.
He said there had already been consultations between the Washington-based lender and Egyptian authorities on project ideas.
Last June, the World Bank's board of directors approved a loan to Egypt amounting to $50 million, for the Second National Drainage Project.
The project aimed to increase the agriculture productivity of about 800,000 feddans (340,000 hectares) of irrigated land by improving drainage conditions by channeling excess irrigation water via subsurface drains into existing open drains, and avoiding yield and production losses resulting from waterlogging and soil salinity problems – Albawaba.com
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